December 2, 2021

Glenn Quader: For My Next Act …

UMW Interim Conductor Glenn Quader

UMW Philharmonic Interim Conductor Glenn Quader

Glenn Quader’s career kicked off with concerts in his elementary school cafeteria. Decades later, he’s a sought-after conductor and musician, and has appeared on some of the biggest and brightest stages on the planet.

He expected his next act to take place in Dodd Auditorium when he was hired in February 2020 to conduct the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic. Instead, a global pandemic abruptly halted in-person rehearsals and performances for the foreseeable future.

“Managing the UMW Philharmonic under these conditions has certainly been a challenge and not what any of us could have predicted,” said Quader, a Washington, D.C., native who studied at Johns Hopkins University’s prestigious Peabody Institute.

In addition to performing across the globe, Quader has led the Piedmont and Frederick symphony orchestras, the American Studio Orchestra and the American Youth Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Those engagements, combined with extensive experience in the recording studio, prepared him for the enormous task of leading the UMW Philharmonic in the age of COVID.

With the string section performing in person and other musicians appearing virtually, Quader has focused on small scale works for now and recently conducted the Philharmonic’s first hybrid performance. But he’s already been in dialogue with the UMW Choral and Jazz ensembles about future collaborations for audiences eager to experience live music again.

“Once we are able to assemble, our patrons should expect a healthy dose of classical repertoire, as well as other genres like popular music and jazz,” he said. “I want to shift to works that highlight the full force of the UMW Philharmonic.”

 

Q: When did you first get into music?
A: Growing up in a musical household, my first recollection was when I was 4 years old, when my grandfather sat me down at an organ. That began my lifelong fascination with sound.

Q: What was the first instrument you played?
A: I originally started on violin, following in the footsteps of my grandfather. I later switched to saxophone and eventually added bass and cello.

Q: What made you decide to pursue conducting?
A: At age 13 I realized I wanted to lead ensembles. Most of my musical activities outside of playing led me to pursue conducting as a profession. 

Q: What is your favorite piece of music to conduct or perform?
A: That is a tough one, but probably Respighi’s Pines of Rome.

Q: What do you like best about being at UMW?
A: Mary Washington students, whom I’ve found to be highly engaging and respectful.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Simply the music.

Q: Most challenging?
A: Everything else!

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: The equipment rack that houses my main computer/synthesizer systems. I do everything from here, including recording, mastering, producing and administration duties.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I am a bona fide rock musician and have toured much of the world as a professional electric bass player.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: As in life, don’t ever become complacent in music.