George Manahan Steps Down as Portland Opera's Music Director

The conductor leaves his post after having directed nine seasons, including over 20 productions

(Photo courtesy: Manhattan School of Music)


Manahan’s tenure with the Portland Opera included their Winter 2020 digital concert, titled “An Evening with Portland Opera,” which he conducted remotely from his home in New York.

In 2006, Manahan made his debut at the Portland Opera conducting Verdi’s “Macbeth” and was a regular guest artist before he was named the company’s Music Director in 2012. 

Manahan will remain a close advisor to the company as the search begins for Portland Opera’s next Music Director.

For over a decade, Manahan was Director of Orchestral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and was also Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra. For 14 seasons, he directed the New York City Opera, and the Richmond Symphony for 12 seasons.

Honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers for his advocacy for modern composers and music, Manahan’s performing engagements include orchestras and opera companies in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, Sydney, Bologna — and festivals such as Norway’s Bergan Festival and Puerto Rico’s Casals Festival. 

“The years I’ve spent with Portland Opera have been some of the most gratifying of my life,” said Manahan in the press release. “Working with this amazing chorus and wonderful orchestra has been a constant joy, as well as collaborating with the superb administration and board.”

“We are so grateful to be shaped and inspired by Maestro Manahan’s deep love of opera, and Portland Opera,” added Sue Dixon, Portland Opera’s general director.

In celebration of Manahan’s leadership, a concert will be held in May 2022 at Portland’s Keller Auditorium, with tickets to be released this November.