Say yes to every music making opportunity you can while at university, even if it’s something a little out of your comfort zone

Conductor of orchestra
George Morton
Freelance conductor and orchestrator
BMus Music, MMus Composition and Performance
Our degrees and activities attract students who are interested in an eclectic mix of music, with many going onto varied careers. George studied the undergraduate BMus music course and went onto study MMus Composition and Performance. He now works as a freelance conductor and orchestrator.

What career opportunities have you had following your course?

Since graduating I’ve built a career as a freelance conductor and arranger/orchestrator. I am Musical Director of the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra and Sheffield Youth Orchestra and have worked as a guest conductor with many ensembles across the country, including Covent Garden Sinfonia, British Symphony Orchestra (tour of China), the Picture House Orchestra and Hallam Sinfonia.

Alongside conducting, I also work as an arranger with my orchestrations published by Universal Edition, Schott Music and 360 Music. I’ve been fortunate enough to have arrangements performed by the likes of Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam, John Storgårds and Bob Chilcott, and ensembles such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC singers. 

In 2020 I was awarded Best Arranger in the Making Music Awards and in 2021 I received a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from the Arts Council/National Lottery to continue my research into publishing my own arrangements and orchestrations.  I’ve also worked as a copyist for various music publishing houses and teach conducting privately and in workshops at the University of Nottingham.

What advice would you give to current students who are interested in pursuing a career in your field?

Say yes to every music making opportunity you can while at university, even if it’s something a little out of your comfort zone.

As well as playing in the Wind and Symphony Orchestra, I was lucky enough to play in Big Band, small jazz ensembles, improvisation groups, new music ensembles and other groups that staff or my peers put together. The more playing I did the more I learned about music and I’m so thankful I managed to fill so much of my time making music with other people. 

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