Glen Wagstaff is a US born composer and guitarist based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He received his musical training at the CPIT MusicArts School. Here he was introduced to the music of Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue and Kenny Wheeler, and he discovered a love for composing and arranging – particularly for a jazz orchestra. In 2011, he received the Jack Urlwin Scholarship for his arranging portfolio. This afforded him the opportunity to travel to the U.S. for several months and immerse himself in the vibrant jazz scene in New York and Toronto. This was a hugely inspirational experience for Glen and following his return to New Zealand, he formed his own 10 piece group in 2012 featuring faculty and fellow graduates of CPIT.
During the past few years, Glen has written new material for a full jazz big band. This effort has culminated in the recent recording of his debut album ‘Firefly’ featuring the Symposium Jazz Orchestra. Glen’s music is a refreshing mix of modern jazz, classical and world music with an emphasis on improvisation. The pieces include a balance of simple evocative melodies as well as intricate orchestration, both dark and expressive.
As a guitarist Glen has been involved with a number of different projects, most recently including Mukhlisa, a world music quartet led by drummer/percussionist Tim Sellars, and an acoustic jazz duo featuring vocalist Ellen Barry