October 15, 2022

MSM doctoral student Glenn Alexander II makes Carnegie Hall debut conducting Jon Batiste’s American Symphony

Current MSM doctoral student Glenn Alexander II made his Carnegie Hall debut in September conducting the premiere of Jon Batiste’s American Symphony. He’s back at Carnegie Hall on October 20 as assistant conductor for Maestra Mei-Ann Chen at the American Composers Concert in Zankel Hall.

A versatile young conductor, pianist, producer, and arranger whose musicality crosses many genres, Glenn is attracting attention for his unique and passionate interpretation of the orchestral repertoire.

He is concurrently a Project Inclusion Conducting Freeman Fellow with the Chicago Sinfonietta and is a conducting fellow with the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras. Glenn also serves as a cover conductor at Manhattan School of Music where he is a doctoral student studying with George Manahan (BM ’73, MM ’76).

Glenn speaks with us about his recent Carnegie Hall conducting debut, and about being a doctoral student at MSM.

Glenn Alexander II with Jon Batiste (in blue) at Carnegie Hall in September 2022

Tell us about your recent Carnegie Hall debut; how was that experience?

It was literally the most magical performance I’ve ever been a part of to date. Walking out to a full house is a feeling I’ll never forget. It was an honor to premier such an important piece in one of the greatest halls with one of the most brilliant musical minds that we have. What made it even more special was that my parents were able to come in from Texas to witness it. I can’t wait to be back on that stage!

You will be assistant conductor with Maestra Mei-Ann Chen for the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on October 20th. What can you tell us about that concert, how are you preparing for it?

For this concert, I was able to workshop the pieces with the American Composers Orchestra that will be played in Zankel. They are bringing me back as assistant conductor with Maestra Mei-Ann Chen. It will feature new works by very notable contemporary composers. The best preparation was actually conducting and working with the composers a few weeks ago. I absolutely love premiering new works.

“I love being a part of the MSM lineage. So many greats have been catapulted out of this institution. I hope to one day share a space up there as well.”

Doctoral student at MSM

What can you share with us about being a doctoral student at MSM?

George Manahan is my teacher, and I’ll be expected to finish in 2026. Being a full-time student on top of working professionally is a full-time job, but it’s one that is worthwhile. It’s great to apply tools that you’re actively learning into the real world. You realize there’s actually a method to all of the madness.

What do you think sets MSM apart from other music conservatories? Why did you choose MSM?

One of the greatest attributes of MSM is its pipeline and accessibility to the music industry. George Manahan is the main reason I chose MSM. He’s a rock star and just has a wealth of knowledge that’s priceless. I love being a part of the MSM lineage. So many greats have been catapulted out of this institution. I hope to one day share a space up there as well.

How has it been juggling your studies with your active professional career?

Time management has been very key. I always make sure my assignments are in before any travel. I’d highly recommend getting a planner. It’s been a tremendous help.

What are your plans for the coming year?

I have much conducting, piano playing, and traveling coming up. I’m just looking forward to going as high and far as I can!

Glenn conducts the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro at his MSM student recital

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