Faculty Spotlight: Conductor Dr. Brenton Alston


Dr. Brenton F. Alston was appointed to the position of Visiting Instructor of Symphonic Conducting for the 2013-14 academic term. Following a national search for the permanent faculty appointment, Dr. Alston was awarded a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Music position at the FIU School of Music. He conducts the FIU Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds, in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate conducting and courses in Wind Repertoire.


Where are you from?

I grew up in Washington, D.C. and College Park, Georgia.


What brought you to FIU?

I have been aware of the FIU School of Music ever since 2001, when I arrived in Miami to pursue my DMA at the University of Miami with Professor Gary Green. I would frequently come to concerts with colleagues and was always intrigued by the performances. Finally, after many years, the universe unfolded as it does and afforded me this amazing opportunity. I am a happy beyond words to be working at the School of Music.


What is your experience so far working with the FIU students and faculty?

I am imbued by the dedication of the students and faculty. Here, an amazingly diverse populous of students come to FIU with an infectious passion for music. It is a pure joy to share, in rehearsals, lecture classes, coaching sessions and private lessons, the dreams and fancies of composers works, and then discover how we will go about realizing them. I have found the faculty to be exceptional colleagues that are eager to support each other in our efforts to prepare future musicians. I am so lucky to have such a valued colleague as Professor Barry Bernhardt whom I get to work with side by side every day. Professor Bernhardt and myself are constantly seeking the most effective ways together, to teach and inspire our students in the wind and percussion areas.


What is your primary goal at FIU?

I have many goals at FIU. First, I will continue to build a strong wind and percussion area by increasing our numbers of students. Secondly, I would love to start a commissioning/recording project for the wind ensemble and chamber winds. Third, I am looking forward to helping the wind ensemble and chamber winds achieve a greater regional, national and international presence. Finally, I must continue to build a strong studio of young conductors, who will graduate and do important work for our profession.


It looks like you have an ambitious plans for next years concert series. What would you like to tell us about the about the concert series you have entitled “Travelogue?”

I have always been inspired by poetry and music. With the recent passing of Dr. Maya Angelou, I sought for a meaningful way to pay tribute to her legacy and bring together poetry and music in performances for our students and community. One day while walking, I remembered a lyric, “ your life becomes a travelogue, of picture-postcard charms,” from Joni Mitchell’s Amelia, and the concert series began to take shape. I chose to focus on the music and poetry from many different regions: France, England, New England, China, Japan and the unknown area of outer space and the inner depths of our own soul. This concert series is filled with inspired music from amazing composers. I honestly cannot wait to begin rehearsals. Our first performance will be at the Herbert and Nicole Performing Arts Center Concert Hall on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 7:30pm.

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