orchestral conductor, specializing in American orchestral music, audience engagement, and an advocate of adventurous repertoire
1998 - Present
Professional conducting engagements all over the country; music director and conductor of multiple orchestras; director of university orchestra programs; published author and engaged speaker as advocate for American orchestral music
Grant Gilman is an orchestral conductor known for his expertise in American orchestral music from the 19th-21st centuries. Currently, Grant is Conductor and Artistic Director of the Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the East Cobb Chamber Orchestra, and Conductor at the Atlanta Music Project. Previously, he held the positions of Associate Music Director of the Round Rock Symphony, Music Director with the Harbor Opera Company, Resident Conductor with the Astoria Symphony, Assistant Conductor with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and Guest Conductor with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. With a lifelong commitment to developing young talent, he has been Director of Orchestral Studies at the College of William and Mary and Christopher Newport University, Music Director with the University of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Director for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio Summer String Camp.
Recently, Grant launched a podcast titled American Muse () centered around the orchestral music of composers from the 19th and 20th centuries. The podcast is complimented by his blog American Orchestral Music, and his forthcoming book Secrets of American Orchestral Music due to be released in 2021.
Grant has conducted orchestral and opera performances in Cincinnati; Newport News & Norfolk, VA; Round Rock & San Antonio, TX; New York; Baltimore; Toms River & Newark, NJ; and Greensboro, NC. Most notably, he led a Nutcracker performance with the Moscow Ballet in Baltimore’s famed Lyric Opera House.
Grant earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore. His undergraduate studies in violin performance were with Pamela Frank, Martin Beaver, and Misha Rosenker, and his graduate studies in orchestral conducting were with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. He also earned his Doctorate of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), while studying with Mark Gibson.
Grant lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife Kim—2nd horn in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra—and their two daughters, Violet (7) and Autumn (6).
Why I Believe in American Music
American music is relatable to all people. There are themes of victory & defeat, protest & anti-establishment, war & patriotism.
Further, because of the relative youth of American history, the music itself is also young, comparative to its European/Asian counterparts. And time being the powerful force and filter that it is, does not allow all music to be quickly accepted into the common knowledge of the world. This is not any fault of the piece, the composer, or the audience. However, it does result in works being slow to realization for their quality, some being lost, and others forgotten altogether.
My Mission to Help American Orchestras
Ignite passion for American Orchestral Music
My vision is to ignite passion for orchestral music, especially American orchestral music that may have been forgotten over time. By creatively mixing in American works with notable standard repertoire, audiences can be introduced to fresh music without being overloaded. Over time, their familiarity with these composers will further enrich their concert experience. Additionally, I hope to show the connection between America’s diverse history and the music being composed at any particular moment in that history.
With these ideals in mind, my mission is to deepen the audiences’ enrichment and experience through diverse and fresh American music, appropriately paired with the standard repertoire. Further, I seek to widen the orchestral audience base by showing a willingness to promote locally and program adventurously.
Uncovering The Hidden Magic in American Orchestral Music
My American Orchestral Music Blog focuses on American composers from the 19th and 20th centuries that have nearly been lost. I discuss their background, lesser known pieces, and aspects of their history that make them uniquely American.
The American Muse Podcast is deeper dive into a specific work by one of the nearly forgotten American composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. I use the audible format to play excerpts and tease you into becoming a fan of these masterful orchestral composers.