George Oakley is a Georgian-born American composer who "represents a return to a great tradition" (Jay Nordlinger, music critic). His unique musical style, deeply narrative and symbolic, derives from the rich folklore of Georgia, the long tradition of Western classical music, and his personal philosophical reflections. Oakley's compositions stand out for their poetic tone and virtuosity. About his Cello Sonata, New York Concert Review said, "this work deserves to take its place in the smallish repertoire of cello sonatas." American Record Guide writes about Oakley's CD album "Wanderer" released by NAXOS, "...This is a wonderful set of works by a composer whose every work opens up a wide, kaleidoscopic new world of melodic possibility." Gramophone wrote about Oakley's music "...ardent and propulsive music that sounds like the product of an original and fertile mind." Oakley's music has been performed at major stages including Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall.
Born in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, George Oakley studied piano at the V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatory. In 2003, after winning the top prize at the Flier International Piano Competition, he moved to the United States to continue his education at DePaul University in the studio of Eteri Andjaparidze. A featured alumnus of the Steinhardt School at New York University, Oakley studied film scoring with Ira Newborn and classical composition with Justin Dello Joio. After NYU, Oakley was mentored by the prominent composer Richard Danielpour, who has said that "George Oakley is a composer of extraordinary gifts whose music speaks to the heart as well as the mind."
Mr. Oakley's piano compositions, Nostalgia and Toccata, were premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2009. The Piano Fantasia was premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2008. His string quartet Caucasus, dedicated to the August war in Georgia, was premiered at Steinway Hall in 2008 as part of a concert "Benefit for Georgia".
Mr. Oakley served as a co-producer, composer and music editor for the Georgian-American documentary film Misha vs. Moscow. The film was an official selection of the 10th Tbilisi International Film Festival, and was screened on the Documentary Channel in 2010 in USA. That same year, Mr. Oakley was commissioned to write a cycle of songs for soprano and piano based on Shakespeare's Sonnets. The songs were premiered in 2012 at the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall along with its large orchestral piece, Concerto for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus.
In 2014, his Cello Sonata and Remembrance were premiered at Merkin Concert Hall. In 2015, Mr. Oakley's music was presented by the American Irish Historical Society. That same year Mr. Oakley served as a music arranger for A Ballerina's Tale, a documentary film about the career of African-American ballerina Misty Copeland. In 2016, the noted contemporary ensemble HELIX, with maestro Kynan Johns conducting, premiered Oakley's orchestral piece, The Magic Circle, at Le Poisson Rouge. In 2016, the Nikolai Kachanov Singers premiered Oakley's new composition for chorus and harp, Stabat Mater at Carnegie Hall. In 2017, the Salmagundi Art Club commissioned the piano duet Space Carnival in honor of the 100 year celebration. In 2018, Oakley's new composition for piano, Sunset, was premiered at Steinway Hall. Tat same year Oakley's debut CD album, "Wanderer" was released by NAXOS under the American Classics imprint. New York's main Classical Music Radio Station WQXR and New Sounds have been broadcasting Oakley's Toccata weekly since 2018.