George, Andrew M.
LARSEN/MADISON/LUBBOCK, Texas - Andrew M. George died on Feb. 21, 2021, of complications related to diabetes while visiting in Lubbock, Texas. He was born in Madison, Wis., on Dec. 27, 1967. During the 53 years of his life journey, Andrew was a performer, a teacher, a conductor, an innovator, and always, a learner. From a young age, his personal goals were to conduct and to teach.
Andrew graduated from Madison West High School where inspiring teachers influenced him to transform his musical tastes from KISS to the classical music of the masters and declare his stated personal goal to be an orchestral conductor. While in high school he was a member of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and State High School Honors groups of the Wisconsin School Music Association. He particularly cherished his years as a percussionist with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras and the friendships he developed with teachers, coaches, conductors, other students and their families. Summers found him attending camps such as the UW-Madison Summer Music Clinic, the International Music Camp at the International Peace Garden and Arts World.
Following high school, Andrew went on to complete an undergraduate degree in music education at the University of Michigan, a graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of Michigan. Prior to his Doctoral Studies, he taught orchestra and strings in the Madison (Wisconsin) Public Schools for seven years. Performing as part of Spoleto Festival – USA in Charleston, S.C., and Spoleto Festival – Italy became a part of several summers during that time.
His teaching and orchestral conducting at the collegiate level took him to Ohio University, the University of Michigan, and Texas Tech University. His conducting teachers over the years include Kenneth Kiesler, David Becker, James Smith, Marvin Rabin, Martin Katz, Donald Schleicher, Louis Bergonzi, and H. Robert Reynolds. His early music teachers in Madison were Rhoda Rabin and Pat Freed (piano) and Vicki Peterson Jenks (percussion).
While at Texas Tech he developed interest and traveled to Honduras, where he worked with the National Symphony Orchestra of Honduras and its conductor, Jorge Gustavo Mejia. A collaboration grew from this contact and led to performance of Mejia's music by the University Symphony Orchestra in Lubbock. It also resulted in an invitation to bring Texas Tech University's production of Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte" to Honduras – a first ever experience for the wonderful people of that country.
In addition to his faculty positions at three different universities, Andrew was active as a guest conductor, including with the Columbus Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Middle-level State Honors Orchestra, Hong Kong Lui Ming Choi Youth Orchestra, the MENC All-Northwest Honors Orchestra, and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. An active clinician and teacher, he taught conducting at the Conductor's Guild Workshop, American String Workshop, and the "Conductors Retreat at Medoma."
Andrew George was a gifted pianist, percussionist, conductor and teacher.
His friends and family remember him as a person with an inquisitive mind who always wanted to have the latest technology and found unique ways to combine and apply it to enhance teaching, learning and performance. According to friends, "A musical score was his constant companion, as was his permanent '5 o'clock shadow,' a cup of coffee and a friendly greeting."
Andrew is survived by his parents, Lona (Anderson) George of Larsen and Michael George of Madison; his sisters, Dawn Severson (Charles) Schmid and Jennifer George; nieces, Sondra Severson (Alonzo) Robinson, Olivia and Brooke George; and great-nephew, Michael Robinson. He is also survived by several cousins plus a huge family of friends, former students and professional colleagues.
The family requests that memorials in memory of Andrew be sent to Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras to initiate a commissioned work plus scholarships for the WYSO Percussion Ensemble. Checks can be sent to PO Box 258039, Madison, WI 53725-8039 or online at www.wysomusic.org/donate.
A virtual celebration of life will be scheduled later this spring. If you wish to be notified, send a message to [email protected]