Community collaborations hit the right note for School of Music interim director As a young boy…
Georgia (Jun 17, 2014) — Community collaborations hit the right note for School of Music interim directorLink To Website
As a young boy growing up in New York, Michael Alexander was exposed to classical music, and the experience inspired him to pursue a career in music.
“My grandmother listened to classical music, and I gradually got more and more interested in it,” said the interim director of the School of Music at Kennesaw State University. “The first time I heard Leonard Bernstein talk and saw him conduct, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I was amazed with the depth of understanding he had with the music and how he was able to share it with other people.”
By the summer of 2003, Alexander had completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in orchestral conducting.
His easygoing and collaborative style has served him well as the creator of the orchestra program at KSU and as the music director of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra.
In addition, Alexander has guest conducted around the United States, including performances with the Central Wisconsin and Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestras. His overseas credits include Russia’s Maikop Symphony Orchestra and the Novgorod String Orchestra, Romania’s Bacau and Ploiesti Philharmonics, and Italy’s Catania Music Festival.
Under his direction the KSU Symphony Orchestra completed a three-concert tour of Beijing and Xian, China, in 2011.
While international outreach is important, Alexander is also devoted to his home state and community.
“We do a massive amount of outreach in the School of Music to about 20,000 patrons a year who hear our concerts and the number of groups who partner with us — and the thousands upon thousands of students who come through our doors to learn from our faculty,” he said. “We are active and connected to our community. In many ways, we are a gateway for the public to the great things happening at KSU.”
Young people are an important audience for the School of Music. Each year, the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, one of the largest youth orchestras in the Southeast, rehearses at Kennesaw State’s facilities under the direction of many of KSU’s music faculty.
“We are very much following the spirit of our Dean Patty Poulter, who is incredibly collaborative and welcoming and understands how the arts can integrate and work with the community,” Alexander said. “We do tons of things to make sure we are connected to what goes on around us.”
Alexander points with pride to the efforts of the school’s faculty and staff to forge collaborative partnerships. These include pacts with local jazz clubs such as Churchill Grounds and The Velvet Note, which provide great venues for KSU’s jazz students and faculty to share their art directly in the community, and The Atlanta Opera and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
“As a result, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will give three concerts here next year, and some of their guest artists, including (ASO Music Director) Robert Spano, will give classes on our campus,” Alexander said. “In addition, the Atlanta Opera will perform here in September.”
-- By Robert S. Godlewski
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.