Violinist who debuted at eleven years of age with the L.A. Philharmonic, soloing on the Violin Concerto of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, no less. Soon the young man was on tour, performing with orchestras throughout the U.S.
He attended and graduated from Julliard, and reprised Tchaikovsky’s concerto in 1967 with Andre Kostelanetz conducting the New York Philharmonic . The L.A. Philharmonic became his home base, however, and soon he graduated to associate concertmaster and eventually concertmaster of that illustrious group.
He also embarked on a side career as a session musician, playing on records such as Ron Carter’s Pick ’em/Super Strings, Neil Diamond’s Beautiful Noise, Carole King’s Fantasy, and the Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams collaboration, That’s What Friends Are For. In 1976, he appeared on Stanley Turrentine’s Everybody Come on Out and Lalo Schifrin’s score of The Enforcer. Other releases on which he appeared at the turn of the decade were Earth, Wind & Fire’s LP Faces and the soundtrack of Altered States.
He would leave all that behind, however, to become the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic in 1980, and he has performed with them ever since, including at their White House debut in 1982, in their 1986 tour of the U.S. with Leonard Bernstein, and their concert with Kathleen Battle in 1987. He was also featured on Live from Lincoln Center in 1990 in a performance of Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy, this time with Zubin Mehta at the helm.
In 1992, he served as Concert Master and Conductor on Madonna’s Erotica. He also performed Lee Holdridge’s Violin Concerto No. 2 on a CD in 1993 with the composer conducting. In July 1993, he participated, along with Philharmonic clarinet player Stanley Drucker, in the New London Summer Music Festival, performing music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart along with the Connecticut Orchestra. He appeared on another movie soundtrack, Interview with the Vampire, in 1994, as well as Carole King’s Natural Woman: The Ode Collection (1968-1976). In April 1996, he was the featured soloist in the Philharmonic’s performance of works by Ernest Chausson, Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He got caught in the rain in January 1998, but braved the elements to perform the Violin Concerto in D of Ludwig van Beethoven for grateful fans at Monterey County’s Sunset Center. Later that year, the Philharmonic embarked on a tour of Asia, and he performed the Violin Concerto of Samuel Barber at The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, to a throng of 10,000-plus. In 1999, he appeared on a pair of Leonard Bernstein recordings, one of the composer’s own work and the other one consisting of all of Gustav Mahler’s songs and symphonies. In August of the same year, he participated in the Marrowstone Music Festival, held at Port Townsend’s Fort Wooden State Park, as a featured faculty chamber musician.
On 8th February 2002, he performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra, in a program that highlighted the music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Erich Korngold, Miklos Rozsa, and Franz Waxman. Later that summer, the Philharmonic toured Japan, featuring Glenn on Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade”, this time with conductor Kurt Masur in tow. Somehow, he found time in there to perform on the soundtrack of the Ben Affleck-Samuel L. Jackson thriller, Changing Lanes. Carole King’s Fantasy was also re-issued and re-packaged with Music in a double-CD set. Not to minimalize things, but he also appeared on a 2004 recording of John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls. On 26th June 2004, the Philharmonic concocted a summer cocktail called “Shall We Dance”, consisting of famous ballet and dance music by composers ranging from Carl Maria von Weber to Darius Milhaud.
Riccardo Chailly took the reins on 12th February 2005 for the Philharmonic’s performance of Mahler’s 7th. Five months later, they were in the park for a gusty concert and fireworks display, featuring the music of Antonin Dvorak. Mozart figured heavily in the 2005-2006 season, with Glenn featuring on his “Haffner” Serenade and Violin Concerto No. 3. On 23rd April 2006, he participated in Bargemusic, a program held on the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn, New York. Hopefully, the weather was a little better for this Beethoven-Dvorak-Martinu affair. One night later, Glenn was back at Avery Fisher Hall with the Philharmonic and guest conductor John Williams leading the orchestra in a performance of his own music and that of fellow film composer Bernard Herrmann. Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg were both on hand as guest hosts/narrators. In October 2006, he was slated to play with the San Diego Symphony the Violin Concerto No. 1 of Max Bruch. A month later, he was back on the East Coast for the Mostly Music Chamber Music Series in Westfield, New Jersey. The Philharmonic’s 2006-2007 season featured the Double Concerto of Johannes Brahms and culminated with a tour of Europe. Oh, and he also managed to squeeze in guest appearances at the University of Texas and with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. In September 2007, John Williams made a return engagement with the Philharmonic in a program of his own music, along with Jerry Bock’s and Stanley Donen’s. Stanley Donen was the special guest host for the gala event. In 2008, Glenn teamed up with his wife Karen Dreyfus on the intimate From Bow to String.
In addition to his many recordings and numerous live performances, Glenn finds time to pass along his knowledge to a new generation of violinists at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. He also participates in educational events such as Marrowstone Summer Music in Bellingham, Washington, and The String Experience in Fredonia, New York, and sits on the Artistic Advisory Board of Mark O’Connor’s String Camp. In 2013 he left New York to become a full-time faculty member of USC Thornton School of Music.
He and wife Karen also founded The Lyric Piano Quartet, based at Queens College, New York. Karel Husa penned his Violin Concerto for Glenn, on a commission from the New York Philharmonic .
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
S CBS 6164B (UK 45)
Here he is in a solo rehearsal of Bartok in San Francisco….