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Bruce Hangen

Director, Orchestral Activities

Bruce Hangen is director of orchestral activities at the Boston Conservatory. In this position, he serves as the Conservatory’s principal orchestral conductor as well as director of both the orchestra and conducting programs. He conducts all four of the The Boston Conservatory Orchestra's annual concerts, in addition to opera and string orchestra productions, and he teaches conducting at the M.M. degree level to a select handful of international conducting majors.

The 2011–2012 season marks Hangen’s 14th season as the music director of the Orchestra of Indian Hill, having been appointed in 1997. Associated with Indian Hill Music of Littleton, Massachusetts, this is the only professional orchestra serving central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire and complements Indian Hill’s parallel purpose of providing the finest in music education through its community music school. Comprised of greater Boston-area professional musicians, the Orchestra of Indian Hill performs a series of symphony and other concerts featuring renowned soloists. 

Recently, Hangen completed his tenure as the Principal Pops Guest Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra (BPO). This position was created in May 2002 especially for Hangen, reflecting the strong musical relationship built between him and the BPO over two decades of  regular guest conducting. He also has had the title of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO’s) Germeshausen Family Youth Concerts Conductor’s Chair. Other past positions include the artistic and general director of the Portland Opera Repertory Theatre (P.O.R.T.) of Portland, Maine in the summer. Having founded the company in July 1995, Hangen was the chief visionary force behind this opera company and its activity. P.O.R.T. presented an annual July festival of main-stage and other performances consisting of singing, directing and producing talent from the world’s greatest opera stages. Hangen served as conductor for P.O.R.T.’s performances.

For 12 years (1984–1996), Hangen was music director of the Omaha (Nebraska) Symphony. Hangen’s development of that orchestra included the expansion of its subscription classical, pops and chamber orchestra series. He initiated full-orchestra touring activity, major collaborations with other area institutions, and the instigation of an entirely new array of educational programs. Under his direction, the Omaha Symphony achieved recognition for its significantly expanded program offerings, including the nationally acclaimed West Meets West, a celebration of the Native American, conceived and conducted by Hangen. His influence extended far beyond the Midwest, too, in establishing a sister-orchestra relationship between the Omaha Symphony and Shizuoka, Japan.

During the two seasons of 1998 and 2000, Hangen was acting resident conductor of both the Utah and Kansas City Symphony Orchestras. Both positions included a wide variety of concert programs, ranging from subscription concerts to family, youth, pops, tour and outdoor summer series concerts. 

Before taking the Omaha Symphony music directorship, Hangen served for 10 seasons (1976–1986) as music director and conductor of the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra; six years (1973–1979) as associate conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra; four years (1975–1979) as music director of the Arapahoe Chamber Orchestra in Denver; and six summer seasons (1966–1972) as assistant conductor of the Colorado Philharmonic (now the National Repertory Orchestra). During the 1972–1973 season alone, Hangen held three positions as assistant conductor of the Syracuse Symphony, conducting assistant of the Buffalo Philharmonic and faculty conductor at the Eastman School of Music.

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with a major in conducting, Hangen was also a conducting fellow at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood for two summers, where his conducting teachers included Gunther Schuller, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Bruno Maderna and Joseph Silverstein. During his student days at the Eastman School, Hangen formed the Baroque Chamber Orchestra and co-founded Zeitgeist in Musik, a contemporary chamber ensemble.

Hangen maintains an active schedule of guest conducting. Recent appearances have included concerts with the Detroit and Dallas symphony orchestras, the Edmonton Symphony and the Florida Philharmonic, as well as the orchestras of St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Naples (Florida) and Houston. In earlier seasons, Hangen also conducted the orchestras of New York, Minnesota, Syracuse, Houston, Birmingham, New Orleans, San Antonio, New Jersey, Santa Barbara, New Mexico, Hartford and New Haven. His repeat engagements with the BPO and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestras alone totaled more than 200 performances since 1979. Hangen also has guest-conducted orchestras in Japan, Canada, Taiwan and New Zealand as well as opera companies in Chicago, Fargo and Tacoma.

Hangen remains strongly committed to education. At the collegiate level, Hangen has conducted the orchestras of The Boston Conservatory, the New England Conservatory (NEC), the Hartt School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, the Yale School of Music, the Shepherd School of Music as well as ensembles at the California Institute of the Arts. His successes have also included appearances as conductor of high school All-State Festival orchestras in New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia, Nebraska, Minnesota and Massachusetts. 

Hangen is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of New England and in Omaha he received the ICAN Foundation’s Browning Award for Career Excellence and Vision.

Hangen was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and was raised in Great Falls, Montana.

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