Hello: I’m Alex, and I want to welcome you to my humble website.  I have held positions playing horn with many orchestras around the country, including the Rochester and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras, Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.  I appeared regularly onstage with numerous other groups around the San Francisco Bay Area, across the United States and internationally.  This included frequent performing and touring as an extra with the San Francisco Symphony, participating in various festival orchestras, as well as solo and chamber music engagements.  I also held teaching positions at Centre College in Danville KY, and San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.

I hold a B.M. from Norhwestern University, and an M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying primarily with Gail Williams and Robert Ward. In addition, I studied at several music festivals including the Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchesta, National Orchestral Institute, and Spoleto Festival.

I really enjoy walking around San Francisco with my wife Katie, and generally all aerobic activity outside.  I also love brewing beer and have worked professionally in several breweries.  Other interests include reading (Murakami is my favorite author, since you asked), watching sports, and film noire.

Since being diagnosed with focal dystonia, I have been immersed in the deep abyss of learning software engineering through Gordon Zhu’s incredible Watch & Code curriculum, while enjoying multiple walks each day with many distinguished canine friends around San Francisco.


2 thoughts on “Biography”

  1. Dear Alex, So very sorry to learn of your battle with FD. I, also have experienced symtoms of this dreaded disease that has affected so many brass players. I am Principal Trumpet of the Santiago, Chile Philharmonic Orquestra. A job I have held for the last 32 years. My problems started about 4 years ago, but recently discovered that presciption medication was largely responsible for my embrasure disfunction. From your photo, you seem too young and in too good of health for this to be a problem. But, I was certainly amazed at discovering certain medication could possibly be the culprit. Needless to say, I stopped taking the medicine. I still have certain issues with FD, but seem to be able to control the symptoms with careful warmup and practice. I am aware of the frustration and anxiety that you must feel, and I wish you the very best. Sincerely, Eugene C. King.

    1. Hello Eugene,

      For some unknown reason I did not see your comment until now, many months after you wrote it! I sincerely hope you are doing well and recovering from your struggles. I cannot explain what caused my FD, though initially there was no pain. Simply put, I felt like my lip just stopped vibrating, specifically right in the middle register of the horn. I could play pedal notes, and high notes, but could not buzz a middle C. This happened very suddenly, almost overnight without warning. I can pinpoint the exact rehearsal and date when this first occurred, and since that day it has never gotten better. The eventual diagnoses of tongue/throat dystonia made sense to me… my lip will not buzz because the airway is blocked in this register, and I don’t seem to have any ability to control it.

      This made playing simply impossible. It was a fascinating experience to play in the MRI and see this happening in real time. With Dr. Peter Iltis’s guidance I attempted some various exercises, none of which were successful. It has now been about 8 months since my last performing engagement. Every so often I take out my horn, oil the valves and see if by chance I can magically play again in the middle register with no airway blockage. So far, I have not had any luck.

      I have no idea what the future holds for me musically, but I still imagine sometimes that with time this could go away as quickly and seemingly magically as it appeared. For now I am focused on living life without my horn, and maybe this also will allow me some space to recover from this mysterious mental/physical/neurological condition.

      Wishing you the best in Santiago. I would love to visit someday – I hear it’s a beautiful place.

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