Skip to main content


December, 20, 2019
01:30 PM - 02:30 PM


Skyline Ballroom W375E




Matthew George

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Grand Symphonic Winds, or GSW, was founded in late 1987 and was established as a civic-based, non-professional wind ensemble that would perform college and professional level music of all eras and styles. The group’s goals were two-fold: to entertain its audiences and broaden their musical horizons, and also to provide a stimulating and enjoyable musical outlet for adults who were skilled musicians but had chosen different career paths. Dr. Matthew George is now in his 25th year as Artistic Director and Conductor of GSW. The organization is run by a board of directors comprised of both GSW musicians and external members. GSW is based in the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN, an area rich in culture and very supportive of the arts. The ensemble rehearses weekly and performs four different sets of full concert repertoire for a minimum of four public concerts between September and May and typically performs 6 - 8 public concerts annually. GSW has performed at venues throughout Minnesota and the Midwest and has appeared at several music conferences including performances for the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association (MMEA), the north central division of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and the Midwest Clinic. GSW has performed internationally in several major venues and festivals including being the first foreign ensemble to perform at the National Center for the Performing Arts (“The Egg”) in Beijing, China, as well as for the Shanghai International Music Festival held in the Oriental Arts Center. GSW also performed as the invited guest band for the Certamen Internacional de Bandes in Valencia, Spain, held in the Palau de la Música. The group was also featured as part of the International Arts Festival held in Ouro Preto, Brazil. World renown guest soloists who have appeared with the group includes Eugene Rousseau, international saxophone artist; Manuel Laureano, principal trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra; Normal Bolter, former principal trombone of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops; the Spectrum Brass Quintet; Adele Lorraine, former principal piccolo of the Minnesota Orchestra; Linda Merrick, international clarinet soloist and principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, Harmon Vanhoorne, principal cornet of the Royal Wind Band of the Belgien Guides, among others. In addition, GSW has been fortunate to collaborate with internationally-recognized conductors and composers over the last several years, including Ralph Hultgren (Midwest Clinic International Award recipient), Guy Woolfenden, Dario Sotelo (president of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles), Rafael Sanz-Espert, Nigel Clarke, Martin Ellerby, Roger Cichy, Luis Serrano Alarcon, and James Stephenson.

Grand Symphonic Winds

Conductor's Bio

Matthew J. George is the John Ireland Distinguished Professor of Music, Director of Bands and Orchestra, and previously, held the Chair of the Department of Music for twenty years at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. This year marks the 25th year as Artistic Director and Conductor of Grand Symphonic Winds. Dr. George is active as a conductor and clinician/lecturer taking him across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, across continental Europe, Ireland and the UK, Morocco, India, Australia, Japan, China, and Thailand. Appearing as a guest conductor throughout the world, he regularly works with professional orchestras and bands and festival groups of all ages. Some such groups include the Brazilian Wind Orchestra, The São Paulo State Symphonic Band, Orquesta Ouro Preto (Brazil), Orquesta Sinfónica de Guanajuato (Mexico), the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, Queensland Conservatorium Wind Symphony (Australia), Birmingham Symphonic Winds (UK), the Banda de Madrid, the Banda de Bilbao Musika (Spain), the National Symphony Orchestra of Paraguay, and the Band of the People’s Liberation Army (China). George has served as the Artistic Director for several international music festivals including the Sydney Opera House, the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. Other international appointments include serving as chair and conductor for the Music Education Center at Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China as well as being the founder and past Music Director of the Banda Sinfonica at the Escuela Nacional de Musica in Mexico City, Mexico. Dr. George regularly leads his ensembles to performances at major music conferences including The Midwest Clinic. Active as a clinician and lecturer, Dr. George regularly appears at music conferences throughout the world and has sat on adjudication panels for such events as the National Concert Band Festival of Great Britain, the Chinese National Band Festival, the Shanghai International Music Festival, the St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, Ireland and the Certamen de Valencia in Spain. Dedicated to the creation of new works, his credits of commissioned works by prolific national and international composers number over ninety. Many of these works can be heard on the innova record label, distributed by Naxos, on seven compact discs A participating member in several professional scholarly organizations, he serves as secretary for the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles and has recently served as the chair of the New Music Committee for the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and the CBDNA Young Band Competition. He is also a past president of the north central division of CBDNA.

Additional Directors