Photo © Chris Lee

Singaporean-born Indian conductor, George Mathew, founder and Artistic Director of MUSIC FOR LIFE INTERNATIONAL and UBUNTU-SHRUTI Orchestra, has emerged as one of the leading forces in the classical music world bringing symphonic music to focus on global humanitarian issues and crises at the beginning of the 21st Century. In recent seasons, he has made appearances in the US, India, Panama, Morocco, and South Africa as conductor and ambassador for transformative action through music.

Shostakovich for the Children of Syria is Mr. Mathew’s fifth global humanitarian concert at Carnegie Hall since 2006, when he made his Carnegie Hall debut as Artistic Director and Conductor of BEETHOVEN’S NINTH FOR SOUTH ASIA. He also appeared at Carnegie, leading the REQUIEM FOR DARFUR in 2007 and MAHLER FOR THE CHILDREN OF AIDS in 2009.  Mr. Mathew returned to Carnegie Hall in January 2011, as Artistic Director and Conductor of BEETHOVEN FOR THE INDUS VALLEY.  

The concerts have brought together global leaders from the musical, philanthropic, business, academic, governmental and diplomatic communities and distinguished musicians from major international orchestras and other ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and other orchestras as well as artists from the Emerson, Mendelssohn, American, Guarneri String Quartets, the Metropolitan Opera and many others.  

George Mathew and these humanitarian concerts have been profiled by the global media, including BBC WORLD TV and Radio, CNN International, ZEE TV, Public Radio International, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, New York magazine, the US State Department, Radio France, Voice of America, NY1 television, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Morning Edition, the Indian Express, The Hindu, the Pakistan Daily Times, DNA India, Musical America and Symphony magazine.

In March 2010, George Mathew spoke at the United Nations Development Program’s ‘Capacity IS Development’ Global Event in Marrakech, Morocco, presenting the orchestral paradigm as a new leadership model for developing institutions and capacity in the twenty-first century.  In December 2010, he was a featured speaker at the first INK conference ( held in association with TED, in Lavasa, India. In October 2011 Mr. Mathew delivered the 2011 S.T. Lee Annual Lecture on Social Justice and Public Policy at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In March 2012, he was a featured speaker at TEDx KCG in Chennai, India. He has also lectured on social impact through music at institutions such as Acumen Fund, IBM India, IDIOM Design, UNDP Panama and at Amherst College, Manhattan School of Music, Tufts University and Southern Connecticut State University. He appears as narrator and commentator in “Following The Ninth” an exciting new documentary film on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

He made his Central American debut in June 2010 at the Music Festival of Panama in Panama City and was re-engaged for the 2013 Festival. In May 2011, he made his African debut with the Johannesburg Philharmonic. Mr. Mathew made his conducting debut at the United Nations in October 2007. He made his Brooklyn Philharmonic conducting debut in June 2007 at the South Street Seaport, New York and served as assistant conductor with the Brooklyn Philharmonic for two seasons.  

From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Mathew served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. This historic concert, held annually in the largest Cathedral in North America, was founded in 1985 by Leonard Bernstein. His first Concert for Peace there, held on December 31, 2010, was titled “MASS IN TIME OF A DRONE WAR” and featured Josef Haydn’s Mass in Time of War as well as Jewish, Christian and Muslim music. These concerts marked the first public appearances of the new orchestra UBUNTU-SHRUTI. Their second New Year’s Eve Concert on December 31, 2011 featured Michael Tippett’s “A CHILD OF OUR TIME” with the Dessoff Choirs and UBUNTU-SHRUTI.

George Mathew graduated in 2003 from Manhattan School of Music with the Postgraduate Diploma after studies under Zdenek Macal and George Manahan. His mentors have included Sir Colin Davis, Sergiu Comissiona, Wilson Singh, Gunther Schuller, Michael Gilbert, and Kenneth Kiesler. His conducting studies include masterclasses with Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Kurt Masur, Zdenek Macal, David Zinman, Sergiu Comissiona, and George Manahan. He is also a magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College and an alumnus of Duke University and the University of Minnesota.

Mathew lives in Chelsea, New York with his wife, Bowie Snodgrass, and son, Akbar Jacob Mathew.  He divides his time between New York and India.