About George

George’s artistic career is an exciting and unpredictable journey — always on the fast track and often down a sidetrack as he performs and composes music that crosses genres, disciplines and, increasingly, continents.

George’s artistic curiosity and always-expanding boundaries constantly lead him down intriguing new professional and personal paths. Theyall intersect in the art he is creating now, drawing together his musical knowledge with the cultural exploration and diversity of experiences that have marked his life and music. His most recent projects focus on multimedia storytelling, multidisciplinary work with international artists and, always, collaboration with an eye on the bigger picture:

  • Composing a soundtrack for award-winning independent Russian filmmaker Nika Belianina.
  • Working with world-renowned musicians in Berlin to write a tango that blends jazz and classical formats.
  • Collaborating with musicians in Mexico City to write a song cycle for the poetry of feminist Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni, his first work in Spanish.
  • Planning his next epic bike adventure, this one in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, George continues to work on “Empire Builder,” his first full-length musical … produce an audio behind-the-scenes look at the art and history behind “Empire Builder”… and develop his “Tales from a Bicycle Seat” podcast recorded on his annual cross-country bicycle odysseys.


George’s versatility on the piano and keyboard lands him all in all kinds of talented company. He arranges music for orchestras and mans the piano for the nationally touring Midtown Men, starring the original leads of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys, putting him on stage with renowned orchestras like the Boston Pops. He interviews and accompanies fellow musicians in front of a live audience in his intimate “Stripped Down” series. He performs in rock band Collective Unconscious’s wildly popular tribute shows for The Band’s “The Last Waltz,” and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.”

A look in the rear-view mirror shows George’s performance highlights like sharing the stage with Eric Clapton, Dan Akyroyd and Bruno Mars, and arranging music for rock architects like the Chiffons and Buddy Holly’s Crickets. Many of those connections came through his tours with 1960s pop icon Bobby Vee, George’s close friend and mentor. Vee’s sons Jeff and Tommy called on George to arrange music for “Teen Idol,” the highly acclaimed 2018 play that tells the story of Vee’s extraordinary life.

George launched his career as a solo pianist, made his mark in jazz and detoured down many other avenues along the way. He has arranged music and been in the pit for countless musicals, played with groups ranging from a Native American country band to his own jazz ensemble and released more than 20 recordings on his own label.  His introductions to different styles, instruments and collective histories add texture to his music while contributing to his unique voice as a musician.

“I think, more than anything, it’s just being able to play any musical style that’s set in front of me. In terms of playing, it’s having the musical ear and repeating it back. It’s becoming a more stylized musician.”


George is famous among music circles for writing a steady stream of music for himself and other artists, including jazz, progressive and rock. But in recent years his composing has progressed to new venues that allow him to integrate his music with characters, emotions and action.

He has teamed up with writer Anne Bertram for his biggest project to date, “Empire Builder,” a modern opera that explores the railroad’s role in the concept of manifest destiny through the eyes of Chinese immigrants and displaced Native American tribes. George brings “Empire Builder” down many musical paths, from rock, pop and R&B to gospel and blues, even folk and country.

Some compositions require full immersion. His admiration for the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, for example, inspired a trip to Prague, where he walked the streets Rilke walked and visited the places Rilke did. That interaction with Rilke’s world helped him write “Autumn Song” a song cycle based on the poetry of Tennessee Williams and Rainer Maria Rilke, which made its premiere in Cape Cod September 2012 at the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, and the following year in Berlin.

He collaborated with lyricist Jim Payne to write “Stations of the Heart,” a song cycle based in the style of the Great American Songbook, created for vocalist Ann Michels and being developed for an eventual off-Broadway run.

“I take a theme and develop a number of songs over that subject matter,” George explains. “The Rilke poems deal with life, spirituality and hardships he went through. ‘Stations of the Heart’ is about the different stages of love, from first love to breakup.”

His arranging skills are also in demand, and he has put them to work arranging music for a diversity of high-profile projects including the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ stellar production of “Swing!” the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2011 “’80s Rewind!” show (sweet dreams are made of this) and, in summer 2010, four songs for the renowned Glacier Symphony’s concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Glacier National Park.

George’s composing talent has been called upon to produce scores for projects including the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company’s Ivy Award-winning “Woman Before a Glass,” creating original scores for two Saint Paul City Ballet performances and writing music for “My Dear Lewis,” a figure theater/puppetry show that made its New York City premiere in 2011 and has shown in Seattle, Amsterdam and Taiwan.

George never misses an opportunity to put some humor into his work. He composed original jazz slapstick for Kenny Ahern, a former Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey clown. Kenny has taken his own physical comedy show from Moscow to Hong Kong, and audiences across the globe have loved the musical accompaniment George wrote for the show.

Regardless of what George is writing or arranging – a movie or theater score or music for his own recording – he adapts to the demands of the project while subtly infusing each with his own artistic voice. “I look at it as developing the relationship between the music, the movement, the meaning and the words and showing off that compositional style.”


George has had his own recording label since 1986 and has been producer on an extensive list of live shows. Production is a big part of his profession.

George regularly produces music for artists he performs with and has also produced his own 15 solo piano CDs and six George Maurer Group and Trio CDs released on his label, Pine Curtain Productions, plus CDs for a variety of other artists.

“That’s one thing I love is to be in the studio and put an album together or arrange the overall view of what an artist wants to say on a project. And after you’ve done it for years, you know what to do. You know what feels right,” he says.

His 2009 CD “Songs From the Wayward Journey” features George as not only composer and performer but also as producer. The CD features more than 40 musicians, 12 different vocalists and 10 different song styles — and half of it is live.

He also helped produce the George Maurer Group’s 2011 live CD “Twisted” recorded at Minneapolis’s Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. The same night the group was recording “Twisted,” George also helped Pioneer Public Television produce a live TV special on the George Maurer Group.

“After 25 years in the record business, it doesn’t get more exciting than this,” he said.

The crowds keep coming for the George Maurer Group’s annual holiday show at St. Cloud’s Paramount Theatre, which George has been producing since 1998. It’s a different show every year, featuring everything from a seven-piece jazz band to a 21-piece big band and special guests such as Bobby Vee, Mary Jane Alm and the St. John’s Boys’ Choir.

He’s versatile enough to span the musical chasm between orchestra and country, smart enough to respect each project’s artistic integrity while lending his compositional voice, and experienced enough to pull it all off.

For George, it’s all about the details. “I love to go in and detail the nuances of a movie score or a stage production. I like to watch for every little movement of a dancer, every little inflection of a voice, every color and texture of a movie or the lighting of a theatrical stage. Good musical production is about grabbing the right texture, using the instrumentation that enhances the story.”