Glenn Block is the Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting at Illinois State University. From 1983-2007, he led the Kansas City Youth Symphony program to being one of the largest and most recognized youth symphony programs in the country. Prior to coming to Illinois in the fall of 1990, Dr. Block served for 15 years as Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri - Kansas City and Music Director of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. From 1972 - 1974, he was Music Director of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and from 1968 - 1974; he served as Principal Double Bass of the San Diego Symphony and Opera Orchestras.
Born in Brooklyn, Dr. Block was educated at the Eastman School of Music. He also received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego. A frequent guest conductor, he has appeared in 42 states with all-state and professional orchestras. Foreign guest-conducting have included residencies at the Fountainebleau Conservertoire in France, and in Spain, Canada, Colombia, Estonia, Russia, Italy and South America in 2013 and 2014. (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.) In 2015, he will be conducting at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Beginning January of 2016, Dr. Block will be on sabbatical from Illinois State University, living and conducting full-time in Asuncion, Paraguay, with concerts throughout South America.
Dr. Block led the Youth Symphony of Kansas City on five international tours to Spain (1992), Canada (1996) Italy (2000, 2002), Prague/Budapest/Vienna (2004) and three national tours to Chicago, St. Louis and New York’s Carnegie Hall. The Youth Symphony of Kansas City was invited by MENC to be the broadcast orchestra for the 1995 World’s Largest Concert and to perform at the 1996 MENC annual convention. Dr. Block and the Youth Symphony of Kansas City appeared as Festival Orchestra at the Western Slopes Music Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado. Dr. Block has served on the faculty of the National Music Camp at Interlochen as Resident Conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and at the Interlochen Arts Academy as Visiting Conductor. In addition, he has served as Music Director of the Summer Festival Orchestra at the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colorado.
Dr. Block has been widely recognized as a teacher of conducting, performing master classes throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South America. An active researcher, he has been the recipient of numerous Illinois State University, University of Missouri and National Endowment of the Humanities grants that have resulted in critical editions of the orchestral music of Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives and George Gershwin and study in France and Italy. In 1985, he was appointed Research Consultant to the Orchestra Library Information Service of the American Symphony Orchestra League, where responsibilities included the organization of critical sources and errata information for the orchestral repertoire housed in a national data base in Washington, D.C. He has served as a member of the national Board of Directors of the Conductors Guild of America, representing over 1,000 professional conductors, and the Board of Directors of the American Symphony Orchestra League.