Kathleen is one of the most in-demand conductors in North America and waves the baton for the Gay Mens Chorus in San Francisco.
"down under / ON TOP" is a series of interviews designed to shine a spotlight on Australians making their mark on the world.
Three decades of directing orchestras, choirs, operas, ballet, and musicals in the USA, England, and Australia have made Australian-born Dr. Kathleen McGuire one of the most versatile conductors of her generation. Specializing in working with large forces, she has a reputation for "charming" performers and audiences alike with her good humored manner at the podium.
In September, 2011, she was appointed as Minister of Music and Arts at the Congregational Church of San Mateo, CA, directing the Chancel Choir and overseeing all arts components at the church.
In 2005, McGuire began her tenure as principal conductor of the Oakland-based Community Women's Orchestra. She has led the Orchestra at five performances at Davies Symphony Hall and its first out-of-state tour, commissioned and premiered works by established, historic, and emerging women composers, and spearheaded the Orchestra's 25th anniversary celebrations in 2010.
In addition to her work with the Orchestra, in the fall of 2010, McGuire embarked on a new project in San Francisco as the founder and artistic director of Singers Of The Street (S.O.S.), a choir including people who are homeless and disadvantaged, with a mission to sing for justice, healing, and joy.
For more than a decade (2000-2010), McGuire served as artistic director and conductor of the 200-voice San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC). She brought new purpose to the Chorus in its efforts to reach out to and support communities; under her leadership, SFGMC raised close to $500,000 for Northern California charities. Her memorable performances, season after season, are preserved in more than a dozen award-winning CDs and DVDs. Nationally and internationally, McGuire directed SFGMC and other choruses at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall (2001), and at choral festivals in Sydney (2002), Montreal (2004), Chicago (2006), Miami (2008), and Auckland (2010).
Prior to arriving in San Francisco, McGuire conducted for twenty years in Colorado, the United Kingdom, and Australia, leading professional, school, and community orchestras, choirs, operas and musicals. She completed studies in conducting, composition, and music education, and graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2000). Her renowned arrangements, orchestrations, and compositions are widely performed throughout the United States and abroad, and she appears frequently at conferences and festivals as a guest conductor and presenter. Her many accolades include San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declaring April 22, 2010 as Kathleen McGuire Day. She received a 2010 Special Citation from The American Prize in Conducting for Excellence in Music Education, and she was a KQED 2010 Local Hero. On December 31, 2010, she was named the first-ever Conductor Laureate of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. In January 2012, ABC-TV presented her with a "Profile of Excellence" Award. Her complete bio is found in Who's Who In The World and other notable publications.