The Seattle-area music community mourns the loss of longtime classical-music conductor, teacher and radio host George Shangrow, who was killed Sunday in a car collision while in route to lecture at the Methow Valley Chamber Orchestra Festival.
Shangrow was founder and music director of Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers, which he founded more than 40 years ago. Over his lengthy career in Seattle, he built a reputation for diverse and innovative musical programs. In 2008, when asked by a local music blogger why he didn’t just program baroque or classical music for the Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers concerts, Shangrow replied, “Because I don’t just eat Thai food.”
Shangrow also hosted the nightly radio program “Live, by George” on KING FM, which featured live classical performances by local musicians, and served as a guest conductor for the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Tacoma Opera, Oregon Symphony, and many others.
In a piece posted yesterday on Crosscut, fellow KING FM host Peter Newman wrote the following about Shangrow’s contribution to the Seattle music scene: “If you wonder why Seattle has such a rich classical music scene, why we enjoy chamber music, choral concerts, opera, ballet, symphonic music — all out of proportion to the size of our community — then you have George in large part to thank for this heritage.”
A collection of community tributes to Shangrow can be found on the Orchestra Seattle website.