From an early age, Alexander has been known for his unbridled determination, focus and passion. Raised in an artistic family, he grew up self-taught and home-schooled, beginning violin studies at the age of three.
Transitioning to guitar in his teenage years, he came to a turning point where he made a clear decision to dedicate his life to the study of music. His commitment follows in a fierce lineage of musicians on both sides of his family, including a gifted lutenist, a classical pianist, a symphony conductor, a songwriter, and even a Canadian rock star. Alex spent his youth playing in string ensembles and orchestras, launching into in-depth guitar studies in his teen years, and finally leaning more fully to the world of jazz.
During these developmental years, Alexander was rarely seen without a guitar in his hands. However, he work long days as an engineering intern at a major studio in Toronto; and he managed audio and live sound at major events at downtown Toronto clubs on weekends.
“I helped build sound studios for Sound Asylum Studios and for EMI’s TARA studio in Toronto. When I worked as an intern at Site Sound Studios, big-name performers came through, and I maintained the studio for lock-out sessions, which is a common practice. And I worked at major clubs in downtown Toronto, The Courthouse Nightclub and Circa Nightclub. During my time at the nightclubs I worked with such artists as Akon, Feist, Broken Social Scene, and many more.
“It was exciting to see the professional aspects of music at that stage in my life. It was an important part of my education, and it gave me an insight into what professional music is about.
“It was so interesting to see how these big stars came to their performances and their sessions. They came fully prepared. They were fully present. They had the highest expectations of professionalism and musicianship, and I saw the hard work that goes into making a great sound.”
Alex worked his way through a rigorous course of foundation studies in technique, theory, improvisation, and composition with carefully chosen private teachers. His commitment has been relentless, living his belief that the answer to almost everything in life can be found in music.
“Christian Hurst was one of my teachers and a great mentor before I came to Berklee, and he has been a huge influence on me. He was critically important in my development. He guided me to develop a learning style that helps me study and delve into new material. He showed me how to explore the nuances of the music.
“He is kind and patient, but he also expects you to be disciplined and to show up prepared. Our music lessons were also life-lessons, and he taught me that you have to approach life with a capacity for understanding. To be a great musician, you have to be a great human being, and Christian is one of the great ones.”
International studies had seemed only a dream until Alexander was selected in his classes in a summer workshop at Berklee College of Music to be invited to audition for a scholarship. When his name was announced at the closing ceremonies as one of the scholarship winners, Alex may have been the only one who was surprised.
“My summer session at Berklee in 2012 was mind-blowing. I didn’t know if I could live up to the standards. And then suddenly I was not only auditioning to be at the College, I was auditioning to win a scholarship. Skip Haden was the coolest guy, very understanding. He got me to play really well, and I had the best time playing with these amazing professors.
“One of the best things about being at Berklee now is that it gives me a curriculum and a structure that helps me document myself and understand my musical journey. It was the same with Christian before Berklee, and with the sound studios before that, but this is so different.
“Here at Berklee I get to play and study with people at a really high level. And nothing in the world makes me happier than that — studying and making music with great people.”
At Berklee, Alex has found a match to his inimitable hunger for the intricate delights of music. With the gifts of an artist and the heart of a seeker, music has provided both a creative compass and an intellectual endpoint to a young man for whom nothing less than the best will do.