Glen Cortese Named New Artistic Director


SCHENECTADY – The Schenectady Symphony is excited to announce the appointment of Glen Cortese as its new Artistic Director. Cortese’s appointment comes after an extensive search that included several interviews and three “auditions” throughout last year’s concert season.

Through a committee comprised of board members and orchestra musicians, the search was methodical and thorough with candidates having many different backgrounds.

Cortese made his Schenectady debut on March 24, 2019, in a concert that received praise from orchestra members and audience alike.

Cortese 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.

In addition to being the Artist Director with Schenectady, he is the artistic director of the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. He 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, Glen has conducted over 150 premieres, working in direct 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 and Cortese promises to bring new compositions to Schenectady.

His work in education is extensive, including leading the orchestra at the Manhattan School of Music for twelve 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. Educational program plans are already being discussed for development in the Capital Region.

He was an assistant conductor to the New York Philharmonic from 1990–92 for Zubin Mehta and in July of 1993, he was invited by Kurt Masur to guest conduct a reading with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall.

“I am honored to have been selected as the new Artistic Director and Conductor of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra,” said Cortese, “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 Proctor’s 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!”

Maestro Cortese will be succeeding longtime music director, Charles Schneider, who retired last October.

For additional information or to schedule an interview contact Symphony Executive Director Steven Yuhasz at or (518) 382-3884 ext. 211.


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