George Pehlivanian captured international attention in 1991 when he became the first American to win the Grand Prize at the prestigious Besancon Conducting Competition at age 27. Since that time, he has consolidated his reputation as one of today´s most compelling young conductors, appearing with major orchestras throughout Europe, North America, Russia, Australia and Asia.
George Pehlivanian has conducted many leading European orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the German Radio Orchestras of Saarbrücken, Hanover and Frankfurt, RAI Torino, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Nationale du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg. In North America, he has conducted the Baltimore, Toronto, Houston, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Montreal symphony orchestras. Elsewhere, he has worked with the Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Kirov Opera Orchestra, the Toho Gakuen Orchestra in Tokyo, Sydney Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Chamber Orchestra.
George Pehlivanian has a permanent relationship with the Orchestra of RAI Torino and the Spanish National Orchestra, both of which he conducts for several weeks every season. In the season 2000/2001, he makes his debut with Maggio Musicale in Firenze, BBC Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Iceland Symphony, Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, Flemish Radio and Flemish Opera orchestras in Antwerp, and the orchestras of Verdi Milano, ORT, Genova and Udine in Italy. In this same season, he follows reinvitations to the Baltimore and Perth symphony orchestras, the orchestras of Seville and Valencia, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège.
George Pehlivanian has held Principal Guest Conductor positions with the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague (1996-1999) as well as the Vienna Chamber Orchestra (1996-2000).
As an operatic conductor, George Pehlivanian made his debut at the Long Beach Opera in Los Angeles and has since worked at the Kirov Opera and at the Opera houses of Bordeaux and St. Etienne.
George Pehlivanian has just finished recording Liszt´s complete works for piano and orchestra with Louis Lortie and the Residentie Orchestra for Chandos Records, for whom he also made the world première recording of music by Zhukov. He has made recordings for Aria with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Studio SM with the Spanish National Orchestra (works by Rodrigo) and BMG.
George Pehlivanian was born into a musical family and started piano lessons at the age of three and the violin at the age of six. He first began his career as a violinist, and then went on to study conducting with Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel and Ferdinand Leitner and spent two summers in Siena, Italy at the Accademie Chiggiana where he was awarded the Diploma di Merito.