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Biography: Full Version

Don Glanden was born in 1951 in Wilmington, Delaware. He began traditional

classical piano lessons at the age of ten with Sarah Miller; within a year he was
accompanying the elementary school chorus. He was immediately drawn to jazz after
hearing Charles Freeman, the family piano tuner, play blues and standards at the
conclusion of his regular tunings. A friend of trumpeter Clifford Brown, Mr. Freeman
proved to be an inspiring and encouraging influence.
Don’s teen years were spent at Brandywine High School, where he took three
years of classical theory and played in the school’s award-winning jazz band The
Blazers. During this time he also studied jazz composition with film composer Tom
McIntosh and jazz piano with Bernard Peiffer, both at the Wilmington Music School.
Peiffer became a mentor and profound influence on Don’s musical development in the
following years. After attending West Chester University, where he was a piano major
and student director of the lab band The Criterions, he left college for a year to study
piano and composition exclusively with Mr. Peiffer.
In 1973 Don transferred to North Texas State University, where he majored in
composition and formed his own jazz quintet that included bassist Dennis Irwin. Other
classmates included Marc Johnson, John Riley, Steve Houghton, and Lyle Mays. At
NTSU he met Jo Lynn (Jody) Thomas; they married in 1974. He graduated in 1975
earning a Bachelor of Music degree in composition.
In 1980, Don received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Fellowship to
study privately with Sir Roland Hanna. Sessions with Hanna continued over a two-year
period and included piano studies, composition, and extensive analysis. Hanna included
some of Don’s music in his own performances during this time.
Don received a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies in 1997 from Rutgers,
graduating with a 4.0 GPA. There he studied jazz piano with Kenny Barron and classical
composition with Ronald Surak.
Additional classical piano studies have been with Alexander Fiorillo, and training
in the Taubman approach with Robert Durso and Edna Golandsky.
Don has performed extensively in various settings with Donald Byrd, Ernie Watts,
Terell Stafford, Henry Mancini, Larry McKenna, Patti Austin, Randy Brecker, Robin
Eubanks, Chuck Israels, Wilby Fletcher, Charles Fambrough, Tom Darnall, Al Stauffer,
Eddie Gomez, John Swana, Ralph Bowen, Gerald Veasley, Jimmy Bruno, John Goldsby,
John Riley, Marcus Belgrave, Dennis Irwin, Marc Johnson, and Ken Filiano. He has
recorded two compact discs as a leader, Sudden Life (Dream Box Media) and Only
Believe (Cadence Jazz Records), and he has made various appearances on television and
radio, at jazz festivals, clubs, casinos, and various concert venues. He was house pianist
at the Hotel DuPont for 12 years and is currently music coordinator for Sullivan’s
Steakhouse in Wilmington, where he performs and books the nightly jazz acts. His
current working trio includes drummer Fred Biondi and bassist Micah Jones.
Don has served on the faculty at the Wilmington Music School, Combs College of
Music, and Temple University. In 1996 he joined the faculty at The University of the Arts
and was promoted to full professor in 2004. He is currently Head of Graduate Jazz
Studies and Piano Department Chair. He has presented numerous clinics and workshops
at high schools and colleges, including Rowan University, Lincoln University, and The
New England Conservatory.
His activities in the area of music scholarship include paper presentations to the
American Studies Association and the International Association for Jazz Education, along
with the publication of numerous articles in Downbeat, Jazz Improv, and All About Jazz.
He has researched and documented the life of French pianist Bernard Peiffer, and in 2006
he co-produced Formidable, a disc of Peiffer’s solo piano playing. A leading researcher
of the life and career of jazz legend Clifford Brown, Don is the producer/director of
Brownie Speaks: A Video Documentary, and served as director of the Clifford Brown
Symposium (2008) at The University of the Arts.
Don has produced several major events including The Philadelphia Jazz Fair
(2009) and A Workshop on the Taubman Approach (2010). In October 2010 he served as
music director for The Many Faces of Clifford Brown, a concert production involving
over forty-five musicians.
Don and his wife Jody live in Wilmington, Delaware. They have two sons, Chris
and Brad, and two grandchildren, Nicky and Ana Julia.