Bruce Hangen

Headshot Bruce Hangen

General Info


Director of Orchestral Activities

Personal Website


Bruce Hangen is director of orchestral activities at the Conservatory. He conducts all four of 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.

Since 1997, Hangen has been the music director of the Orchestra of Indian Hill. Comprised of Greater Boston 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, a position created especially for him in 2002. He also has held the title of the Boston Symphony Orchestra'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. 

For 12 years (1984–1996), Hangen was music director of the Omaha Symphony (Nebraska). Under his direction, the Omaha Symphony achieved recognition for its significantly expanded program offerings, including the nationally acclaimed "West Meets West," a celebration of Native Americans, conceived and conducted by Hangen. His influence has extended far beyond the Midwest: he also established 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.

Hangen served for 10 seasons (1976–1986) as music director and conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine); 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: 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 degree 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 cofounded 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 Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra alone totaled more than 200 performances since 1979. Hangen has also 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, he has conducted the orchestras of Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, the Hartt School, the Eastman School of Music, the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, the Yale School of Music, and the Shepherd School of Music, as well as ensembles at the California Institute of the Arts. His successes have also included appearances as a 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.