George's final responsibility was preparing the chorus to perform Verdi's Requiem under the baton of James Conlon. Performances began June 15 and continue on June 17 and 24.
In an interview with the Chronicle, George acknowledged that he sometimes wished that he could lead the chorus in concert, instead of turning it over to a string of music directors and guest conductors. "The massive choral works — the Mahlers, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Verdi's Requiem — were a wonderful challenge and delight to conquer with the chorus," he said. "The only downside in 23 years is that I didn't conduct the orchestra and chorus as much as I would have liked."
George has had an active career as a guest conductor elsewhere, leading the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, and Sydney Symphony, among other groups. In the future, he told the Chronicle, he hopes to live in Italy and expand his conducting career in Europe.
He has also taught conducting and led master classes. Among his many recording credits are Grammy-winning discs of Orff's Carmina Burana, Brahms's German Requiem and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the SFSO.