Dr. Michael Alexander of Baylor School of Music Receives State Award

July 31, 2012
Alexander AwareDr. Michael Alexander wins state music award. Courtesy photo

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WACO, Texas (July 31, 2012) - Dr. Michael Alexander, an associate professor of string music education, has been named the 2012 Orchestra Director of the Year by the Texas Orchestra Directors Association and was honored at its recent convention in San Antonio.

Alexander joined the faculty of Baylor University in 2006 after 22 years of teaching orchestra in the public schools of Houston, Texas. His duties at Baylor include supervising string student teachers, instruction in classroom string pedagogy, directing the Baylor String Project and conducting the Baylor Campus Orchestra.

"When we hired Dr. Alexander, we knew that he would have an immediate positive influence on our string music education program because he brought with him over 20 years of public school teaching experience and already was a recognized leader in our state," said Dr. William V. May, dean of the School of Music.

"Dr. Alexander's impact on the School of Music and Waco has been profound," May said. "His Waco String project has provided stringed instrument instruction to a host of Waco school children who otherwise would not find such instruction affordable, while at the same time giving our Baylor student immensely valuable 'real life' teaching experience. The Baylor Campus Orchestra, under his direction, is larger and more proficient now that at any time in the group's long history. And the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra, under his leadership, is a flourishing part of the artistic culture in Waco."

May said that Alexander has "a positive attitude spills over onto all those around him."

Alexander said he was "very honored and surprised and flattered" to learn he had been selected.

"I didn't even know I'd been nominated, so this came out of left field," he said. "It's typically given to someone as they reach retirement, so it surprised me. But I'm in mid-career. I still have a lot of things I want to do.

"It's very helpful to me to have my student teachers have the opportunity to teach groups before going out into the field," he said."And it serves the community with a lower-cost option to help an underserved population."

He co-authored the Orchestra Expressions string series (Alfred Publishing) and Expressive Techniques for Orchestra (Tempo Press). He researches classroom applications of string pedagogy and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Research in Music Education, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, String Research Journal, Texas Music Education Research, American String Teacher and Southwestern Musician.

Alexander has served as president of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association and vice president of the Texas Music Educators Association. He also served as chairman of the Committee on School Orchestras and Strings for American String Teachers Association (ASTA) with National School Orchestra Association (NSOA). From 1994-2001, he served as conductor for the Houston Youth Symphony-Philharmonia Orchestra and he has served as principal conductor of the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra since 2006.

He was the first recipient of Houston Symphony School Bell Award for Excellence in Teaching and, in 1994 and 2006, named Teacher of the Year for Stratford High School. He has received commendation letters from the City of Houston, Texas Music Educators Association, Spring Branch Independent School District and the Elizabeth A.H. Green Award from ASTA/NSOA. In 2007, he was named Outstanding Alumni of the University of Houston - School of Music and in 2012 was named Orchestra Director of the Year by Texas Orchestra Director's Association.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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