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.
Smallest continent and sixth largest country (in area) on Earth, lying between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Area: 2,969,978 sq mi (7,692,208 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 21,829,000. Capital: Canberra. Most Australians are descendants of Europeans. The largest nonwhite minority is the Australian Aborigine population. The Asian portion of the population has grown as a result of relaxed immigration policy. Language: English (official). Religions: Christianity (mostly Protestant; also Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, other Christians), Buddhism, Islam. Currency: Australian dollar. Australia has three major physiographic regions. More than half of its land area is on the Western Australian plateau, which includes the outcrops of Arnhem Land and the Kimberleys in the northwest and the Macdonnell Ranges in the east. A second region, the Interior Lowlands, lies east of the plateau. The Eastern Uplands, which include the Great Dividing Range, are a series of high ridges, plateaus, and basins. The country's highest point is Mount Kosciuszko in the Australian Alps, and the lowest is Lake Eyre. Major rivers include the Murray-Darling system, the Flinders and Swan rivers, and Cooper Creek. There are many islands and reefs along the coast, including the Great Barrier Reef, Melville Island, Kangaroo Island, and Tasmania. Australia is rich in mineral resources, including coal, petroleum, and uranium. A vast diamond deposit was found in Western Australia in 1979. The country's economy is basically free enterprise; its largest components include finance, manufacturing, and trade. Formally a constitutional monarchy, its head of state is the British monarch, represented by the governor-general. In reality it is a parliamentary state with two legislative houses; its head of government is the prime minister. Australia has long been inhabited by Aborigines, who began arriving at least 50,000 years ago. Estimates of the population at the time of European settlement in 1788 range from 300,000 to 1,000,000. Widespread European knowledge of Australia began with 17th-century explorations. The Dutch landed in 1616 and the British in 1688, but the first large-scale expedition was that of James Cook in 1770, which established Britain's claim to Australia. The first British settlement, at Port Jackson (1788), consisted mainly of convicts and seamen; convicts were to make up a large proportion of the incoming settlers. By 1859 the colonial nuclei of all Australia's states had been formed, but with devastating effects on the indigenous peoples, whose populations declined sharply with the introduction of European diseases. Britain granted its colonies limited self-government in the mid-19th century, and an act federating the colonies into a commonwealth went into effect in 1901. Australia fought alongside the British in World War I, notably at Gallipoli, and again in World War II, preventing Australia's occupation by the Japanese. It joined the U.S. in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Since the 1960s the government has sought to deal more fairly with the Aborigines, and a loosening of immigration restrictions has led to a more heterogeneous population. Constitutional links allowing British interference in government were formally abolished in 1968, and Australia has assumed a major role in Asian and Pacific affairs. During the 1990s there were several debates about giving up its British ties and becoming a republic.