George Francis Crum was the first conductor of the National Ballet of Canada and an accomplished pianist, vocal coach and musical arranger. Crum’s debut as a conductor was with The Royal Conservatory of Music’s opera division in 1948 in their production of Faust. Crum was the company’s first chorus master, and stayed with the company as coach and assistant conductor for 3 years until 1951. He also taught on the piano faculty at the conservatory, notably instructing composer Hugh Davidson. During this time, Crum also worked with the Opera Nacional de Centro-America in Guatemala (1949-1950). George Crum later worked with many companies in many roles including chorus master of the CBC radio opera throughout the 1950s and as the first conductor of the newly formed National Ballet of Canada at the invitation of founder Celia Franca. With the National Ballet, he conducted many notable performances, including productions Giselle and Orpheus in the Underworld. During his time with the National Ballet, Crum had a myriad of other ventures. At the 1952 Salzburg Festival, he coached opera under Wilhelm Furtwängler. In May 1953, he conducted the CBC Opera Company in Don Giovanni, marking the first North-American full-length opera telecast. He also conducted at the opening of the National Arts Centre in 1969. Crum guest conducted in many international venues including the United States, Japan, and various stages throughout Europe. Crum was named Music Director Emeritus at the National Ballet after his retirement from the company in 1984. Though this was not the end of his involvement with the National Ballet of Canada. He guest conducted on numerous occasions, including some of the gala performances celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary and for the production Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet in 1989, prima ballerina Veronica Tennant’s farewell performance. He also prepared musical arrangements and guest-conducted for other ballet companies including the New York’s Joffrey Ballet and Mexico City’s Ballet Teatro.