Michael Alexander is the Director of Orchestral Activities at Kennesaw State University and serves as the Music Director of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra. Active as a guest conductor, he has conducted in Europe, Australia and at various places in the United States, including performances with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Maikop Symphony Orchestra and the Novgorod String Orchestra in Russia, the Bacau Philharmonic in Romania and the Catania Music Festival in Italy. In the summer of 2004 and 2009 he served as Music Director for the Madison Savoyards Opera Company. He has also appeared as a guest conductor four times with the Summer Music Clinic Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin and with the 2003-2006 Maud-Powell Music Festival Orchestra in LaSalle, IL. In March 2010 he conducted the 11-12 Georgia All-State Orchestra and in the summer of 2011 was a guest conductor at the Highlands Music Festival.
In the summer of 2003 Dr. Alexander completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in orchestral conducting. Prior to his current appointments, he has served on the faculties at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Ripon College. He has conducted several District Honor Orchestras and under his direction the KSU Orchestra has performed at the 2009 Georgia Music Educators Association Annual In-Service, hosted and performed at the 2010 College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference, and performed a completed a three concert tour of Beijing and Xian, China in January of 2011. Dr. Alexander has also presented workshops and sessions for the Ohio State University String Teacher Workshop and at the Georgia Music Educators Association Annual In-Service.
Grant Harville is Associate Conductor and Creative Director of the Georgia Symphony. He comes to the Atlanta area from Wisconsin, where he was Orchestra Director at Ripon College and a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Some of his recent activity includes guest conducting appearances with the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City and the Oistrach Symphony (Chicago, IL), serving as Music Director of the Madison Savoyards production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, conducting two performances (including the premiere) of David Dies’s opera Hills Like White Elephants, and conducting at the Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Convention. In 2008, he was accorded the Richard C. and Agatha Church Memorial Conducting Award. He has received supplemental training at the Omaha Symphony Conductors Workshop, the DePaul University Conductors Workshop, and the Conductors Institute of South Carolina.
As a tubist, Harville has a number of competition victories to his credit, including the University of Michigan Concerto Competition (performing a concerto of his own composition), First Prize in the Leonard Falcone International Solo Tuba competition, and First Prize in the Potomac International Tuba/Euphonium Festival Quartet Competition as member of the University of Michigan Tuba/Euphonium Quartet. He served as Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium and director of the tuba/euphonium ensemble at Luther College (Decorah, IA) from 2006 to 2010. Also an avid composer, Harville has written works which have been performed by the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, the United States Armed Forces Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, and the First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor Sanctuary Choir, in addition to other soloists and chamber ensembles. His Sonata for tuba and piano was a finalist for the Harvey G. Phillips Award for Excellence in Composition. Harville’s vocal credits include solo tenor performances with the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble, the Birmingham First Chamber Choir, the GSO Chorus and several of the choirs at the University of Michigan. He has additionally served as tenor soloist and section leader at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Atlanta), First Baptist Church (Ann Arbor, MI), Christ Presbyterian Church (Madison, Wisconsin).
Bryan Black has worked professionally as a conductor, educator, church musician and arts advocate in a variety of roles since moving to Atlanta more than a decade ago. He received training as an organist and pianist at the undergraduate level (BM, Samford Univeristy) but followed a passion for choral music and conducting at the graduate level (MM, The Florida State University). While at Florida State he was deeply influenced by Rodney Eichenberger—the internationally known master teacher who revolutionized a generation of conductors and teachers. Bryan also holds the “ZDaF” or “Certificate of German” presented by the Goethe-Institut in Berlin.
As a church musician, Black currently serves the 3,600 member First United Methodist Church of Marietta as Director of Music where he especially enjoys working with the sixty-voice Youth Choir. Previous church appointments have included work with the 1996 “Celebrate Faith and Arts” Olympic event and an invitational choir festival tour to Kristiansand, Norway.
The DeKalb Choral Guild, a seventy-voice community chorus based in Tucker, has been directed by Bryan since 2000. In this time the group has nearly tripled in size, made a tour of Germany and the Czech Republic, appeared three times at the Piccolo Spoleto festival in Charleston, performed for the Georgia ACDA state convention and will shortly release its first professional recording. The Guild has also collaborated twice with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and partnered with the KSU Chorus to sing Johannes Brahms’ monumental Ein Deutsches Requiem in the Dozier Centre for the Performing Arts.
Before conducting the Guild, Black was a member of the ASO Chorus and Chamber Chorus for a number of years including Mr. Shaw’s final performance of Bach’s B-minor Mass held in Carnegie Hall. During this time he also taught on the faculty of Georgia Sate University and was a visiting conductor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
After a successful musical project with the Atlanta Goethe-Institute (Hugo Distler’s Totentanz), Bryan was awarded a “cultural ambassadorship” in 2004 which allowed him to attend an intensive course presented in Weimar, Germany.
For his contributions to the city’s cultural life he was named a “Lexus Leader in the Arts” by Atlanta Public Broadcasting in 2003.