Dr. Alonzo Alexander III, Composer
Was born to the late Alonzo Alexander, Jr., and Mamie Alexander on September 4, 1956 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His musical talent was evidenced at an early age having presented his first piano recital at the age of ten at Second Corinthian Baptist Church where he later directed. His other pursuits, while in school, included The Cincinnati Boys Choir, Walnut Hills High School Quartet, Maifest, and the Cincinnati Arts Consortium. He served as the Music Director at Saint Mark Catholic Church, Father Kinderman, from 1975 until 1980, Cincinnati, Ohio. He departed his life on July 12, 2008.
During his undergraduate study at Cincinnati Conservatory, Alonzo directed the Hanarobi Choir, Loll 42, Equi-Lateral Jazz Group, and appeared on the Tonight Show. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1978, Master of Music degree in 1982, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in 1996 from The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Dr. Alexander began his teaching career at Antioch University in Yellowsprings, Ohio shortly after completing his graduate studies; he came to Atlanta in 1999 to teach as an Assistant Professor of Music at Morris Brown College later accepting a professorship at Spelman College, 2005; was hired in 2006 as Adjunct Professor and Piano Accompanist at Clark Atlanta University.
Alexander was recognized as a brilliant pianist, composer, choral director, and church musician throughout Cincinnati, Greater Atlanta, California and even performed in Russia. As a faculty member at Morris Brown College, he was inducted into Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Beta Chapter and worked closely with the members on numerous performance projects as mentor, arranger, and pianist. He was member, co-arranger, and the accompanist for Amandla Arts Trio with Lori Christian, soprano and Oliver N. Greene, baritone. They performed a diverse repertoire of music from opera to jazz in concerts in New York and Philadelphia; the National Black Arts Festival, Young Audiences of Atlanta and the Caribbean Arts Festival. Dr. Alexander served as the piano accompanist for the quartet Ensemble Jubalaté: Sharon J. Willis, Kimberly Edwards-Hall, Oliver R. Sueing and Oliver N. Greene, 2000 – 2002, the ensemble presented concerts in the Greater Atlanta Area; two concerts at the Auburn Avenue Library for Black Research and the Annual Music Festival in Hamilton, Bermuda. As a faculty member of Morris Brown College, he was one of the featured composers in the Morris Brown College Composer’s Forum featuring Atlanta University Center-wide Composers in 2000.
Alexander was the featured artist in Atlanta Life Financial Group’s Historical Centennial Celebration Arts Program: 100 Minutes of Jazz; his orchestral work Yetunde was premiered by the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and encored by the Atlanta University Center-wide Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Alfred Duckett; his orchestral work Ritual was reviewed in one of the Cincinnati newspapers with the headlines: Pianist Alonzo Alexander Played Brilliantly. Diana Robinson went on to say, “One was reminded of the delicate cycles of gamelan music as the piano dropped reference points into the subtlest tonal blendings between the other instruments. The music was played in a quiet, introspective and utterly satisfying way.” He composed “Africo-American Fragments” for the Morehouse Glee Club, based upon a poem of the same name by Langston Hughes. This composition was recorded on the compact disc entitled ‘A Legacy Continued’ by the Morehouse Glee Club under the direction of Dr. David Morrow.
Dr. Alexander was the Assistant Music Director for Americolor Opera Company from 2001 until his death in 2008 under the direction of Dr. Sharon J. Willis. While in Atlanta, Alonzo served as the Choir Director and Principal Piano Accompanist for Hoosier Memorial United Methodist Church (2002 – 2006).