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Schenectady Symphony names new artistic director

Schenectady Symphony names new artistic director

Cortese promises innovative concerts, collaborations with other arts organizations
Schenectady Symphony names new artistic director
Glen Cortese
Photographer: photo provided

Glen Cortese has been appointed the new artistic director of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, it was announced Friday.

Cortese’s appointment comes after an extensive search that included several interviews and three “auditions” throughout last year’s concert season. He succeeds longtime music director Charles Schneider, who retired in October.

“I am honored to have been selected as the new artistic director and conductor of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra,” Cortese said.

“I look forward to serving the arts community through new and innovative concerts, collaborations with other arts organizations and educational activities.

“The wonderful musicians of the SSO, the beautiful concert hall at Proctors and the dedicated board and staff make the SSO a treasure in Schenectady and the surrounding area. I look forward to preserving its great traditions and beginning new ones.”

Cortese made his Schenectady debut on March 24 as a guest conductor with the SSO.

He is also an award-winning composer, having won the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a two-time winner of the Joseph E. Bearns Prize.

He will continue to be the artistic director of the Western New York Chamber Orchestra.

Cortese was named music director emeritus of the Oregon Mozart Players after serving as artistic director for nine seasons.

He has appeared with the New Jersey Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Belarus State Philharmonic, Sofia Philharmonic, the National Romanian Radio Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Orchestra and the Mexico City Philharmonic. His opera credits include the New York City Opera, the Florida Grand Opera, Wolftrap Opera, the Cleveland Lyric Opera and the Eugene Opera.

His credits in the world of dance include performances with the Connecticut Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, the Elisa Monte Dance Company and he appeared regularly for five years as music director for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Joyce Theatre and on national tours.

A champion of new music, Cortese has conducted over 150 premieres, working in collaboration with composers such as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, George Crumb, Richard Danielpour, Peter Maxwell Davies, Lukas Foss, Hans Werner Henze and Ralph Shapey.

His work in education is extensive, including leading the orchestra at the Manhattan School of Music for 12 seasons, where he was the eight-time recipient of the ASCAP New and Adventuresome Programming Award for his work there.

He has created community outreach programs, educational concerts and children’s videos on classical music. 

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