American conductor George Wolfgang Cleve was born born in Vienna, Austria on 9 July 1936 but grew up in New York City. He studied in New York, at the High School of Music & Art and Mannes College of Music. He was a long-term student of Pierre Monteux.
He was music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (1969-70) and the San Jose Symphony (1972-92). He founded and directed the San Francisco Bay Area's Midsummer Mozart Festival, and also conducted opera and ballet.
He guest conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Cleve died in Berkeley, California on 27 August 2015, aged seventy-nine.