VanderCook College of Music
Faculty & Staff
Alexander Kaminsky was appointed Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at VanderCook College of Music in 2019 after a highly successful tenure at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Previous to that, Kaminsky led the band programs at Buchholz High School, Lincoln High School, Auburndale High School, and Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School, all of which excelled under his direction. He holds degrees from the University of Florida and Indiana University, is active as an adjudicator, and is in demand as a guest conductor/clinician across the country.
Throughout his 30-year career as a high school band director, Kaminsky’s ensembles consistently earned Superior ratings at all levels of evaluation. In addition to earning straight Superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) State Concert Band Assessment for an unprecedented 21 years (the last 11 years with both his first and second bands), he is the only director in the history of the FBA to have had three concert bands from one school earn straight Superior ratings at State, and he achieved this three times (2009, 2018, and 2019).
Kaminsky’s high school bands performed at the Midwest Clinic (2005, 2009, 2014, and 2018), ABA National Convention (2014), CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference (2004 and 2014), FMEA State Conference (2014), Music for All National Concert Band Festival (2002 and 2012), and the National Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall (2009 and 2018). In 2018, the Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony was named a Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors winner as one of only ten 6A bands in the nation. His marching bands consistently placed in the Florida Marching Band State Championship Finals, winning several FMBC State Championships (including 4 of his last 6 years as a high school band director), as well as being named a finalist band at BOA regional competitions.
Kaminsky has presented his clinic “How Can I Get My Band to Sound Like That” at various conferences and workshops, and his hands-on rehearsal demonstrations for the annual “How To Fix It” series at the FMEA Professional Development Conference received high acclaim with over 900 attendees in 2019. He has been awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence numerous times and has been recognized with several achievement awards for education including Florida’s 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award, FBA Oliver Hobbs Award, FBA Andrew J. Crew Award, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, Nobel Educator of Distinction, Teacher of the Year, and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
Kaminsky is a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician, an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the American School Band Directors’ Association, and also holds memberships in CBDNA, NBA, and Phi Beta Mu. He has served on many state and national committees, currently serving on the ABA Sousa/Ostwald Award Committee and the ABA School Bands Task Force, and is the NBA National Student Chapters Advisor. Kaminsky is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been featured in several publications including The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music, Halftime Magazine, School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference,” Home Magazine’s “12 Exceptional Educators,” and most recently, Inspiring a Love of Music published by GIA Publications.
Professor Kaminsky holds a Performer’s Certificate in Clarinet with degrees in Music Education and Music Performance with a Cognate in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida Magna Cum Laude and Indiana University with Highest Distinction. He is active as an adjudicator and is in demand as a guest conductor/clinician across the country.
- CEWW Wind Ensemble
- VCM Symphonic Band
- MUS 118 Beginning Conducting
- MED 318 Advanced Conducting & Rehearsal Techniques
- ED 402A Methods & Techniques of Teaching I
- MED 218 Marching Band Methods
- GRAD 501 Symphonic Band
- GRAD 533 Band Conducting & Rehearsal Techniques
- GRAD 580 Applied Conducting
RECENT ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS & PUBLICATIONS
- Guest Conductor, All-State & Region Honor Bands throughout the U.S.
- Guest Lecturer, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA
- Keynote Speaker/Clinician, Colorado Bandmasters Association
- Keynote Speaker/Clinician, Utah Bandmasters Association
- Keynote Speaker/Clinician, ASBDA National Convention
- Keynote Speaker, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, TX
- Keynote Speaker, Klein/Spring/Tomball ISD, TX
- Headline Clinician, Kentucky Band Organization Summer Symposium
- Headline Clinician, USD Band Director Instititute
- Headline Clinician, NBA Wind Band Symposium, West Chester Univ.
- FMEA “How to Fix It” series: “How Can I Get My Band to Sound Like That”
- Florida Band Director Workshop Headline Clinician
- Guest Presenter: Innovation in Warm-up & Rehearsal Strategies, MECA Courses
- Guest Presenter: Servant Leadership Association for Music (SLAM)
- Conn-Selmer Music Educator Master Class Clinician
- Hal Leonard Corporation Educational Workshops
- Professional Development Sessions, School Districts & Universities throughout the U.S.
- Kaminsky, A. (2023, April). The Healing Power of Music with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Band: interview by Bernstein, J. The NY Phil Story Podcast: “What does it mean to mourn?
- Kaminsky, A. [Contributing author] (2022). Power Up! Music Educator Blog Series by MakeMusic
- Kaminsky, A. [Contributing author] Battisti, F. (2022). Inspiring a Love for Music
- Kaminsky, A. [Doctoral dissertation participant, University of Illinois] Weiger, E. A. (2021). The days after: Music educators’ responses to school shootings, Parkland chapter.
- Kaminsky, A. (2020, March). The Path to Excellence: interview by Thomson, J. The Instrumentalist, 74(7), 6-10, 47
- Kaminsky, A. (2019, June). Stoneman Douglas High School: interview by Moore, M. Halftime Magazine, 13(3), 18-19
- Kaminsky, A. (2018, October). They Need to be Together and Play!: interview by Holley, S. Teaching Music, 26(2), 44-47
- School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors in America Who Make A Difference”
- Home Magazine’s “12 Exceptional Educators”
New York Philharmonic clarinetist Anthony McGill, trombonist Joseph Alessi, and former band director of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Alex Kaminsky discuss how music helped console a community in the face of violence and loss: The NY Phil Story Podcast: “What does it mean to mourn?”
Watch the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony, conducted by Alex Kaminsky, perform “High Wire” by John Mackey at the 2018 Midwest Clinic: https://youtu.be/gtnYVZFRyII
PRESS RELEASE (DECEMBER 2019)
Alexander Kaminsky does not miss a beat. Prior to joining VanderCook as its new Director of Bands, he enjoyed an illustrious career in high school band directing, most recently at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Bands under his baton have performed at the Midwest Clinic and countless other conferences and conventions, resulting in many accolades for both the bands and the director.
He didn’t slow down once he got to VanderCook. Since joining the College in July of 2019, he has been engulfed in a whirlwind of outreach and recruitment activities. Over 30 different high schools have sought him out for clinics, competitions and workshops. At the end of every event, he provides prospective students a way to connect with VanderCook, and with his total engagements for the upcoming year topping out at almost 80 events, Kaminsky has become one of the most sought after conductors/clinicians in the country.
Like all of us, Kaminsky has high hopes for VanderCook’s future. “It is my firm belief that personally connecting with and building relationships with secondary music education teachers and students locally, statewide and nationally, is key to not only raising awareness about VanderCook College of Music, but to developing a pipeline of students from a broad range of schools as students and their teachers learn about the excellent and unique preparation that future music educators can embark upon by enrolling at VanderCook,” Kaminsky wrote in his vision statement addressed to VanderCook’s Board of Trustees. “My vision is to have a waiting list of outstanding potential music educators desiring to enroll as students at VanderCook College of Music.”
PRESS RELEASE (JULY 2019)
VanderCook College of Music is delighted to announce Alex Kaminsky as the new Director of Bands for their music education program. Kaminsky will also instruct various courses as a faculty member. He joins VanderCook from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he led the Wind Symphony to recent Carnegie Hall and Midwest Clinic appearances as well as winning the State 5A Marching Band Championship for the last two consecutive years. VanderCook is confident that Kaminsky will bring a wealth of expertise and talent to both roles due to his history of musical and educational excellence.
Mr. Kaminsky will be entering VanderCook at a time of developmental renaissance, with the school in the midst of an ambitious capital campaign. His entry is, in fact, a part of that renaissance. “Alex Kaminsky brings the perfect attitude to VanderCook,” says Dr. Roseanne Rosenthal, VanderCook’s President. “He is committed to helping our students become great teachers while becoming great performers. He believes that relationships and experience come first. I’m thrilled that he will share his commitment to music, teaching and humanity with the VanderCook community, and all who believe in music in Illinois and beyond.”
His skill in band directing can be witnessed through his accomplishments. Under his baton, his bands have been invited to distinguished events of both state and national levels, including four Midwest Clinic appearances, the American Bandmasters Association National Convention, CBDNA/NBA Conferences, FMEA State Conference, and the National Concert Band Festival.
Kaminsky himself has been recognized for his directing, having received the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence numerous times and the top rating of Superior from all judges at the State Concert Band Assessment for an unprecedented 21 years. His teaching abilities have been similarly recognized by achievement awards such as the 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award, the National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, and membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, where he serves on the ABA Sousa/Ostwald Committee and the ABA School Bands Task Force.