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School of Music Piano Pedagogy Lab School

2008-2009 Featured Composer:
Dennis Alexander

It is my great pleasure to announce this year’s adopted composer, Dennis Alexander. We will have the opportunity this year to work with Mr. Alexander as each student in the PPLS has the opportunity to learn his compositions and also compose and improvise original compositions of their own. The PPLS teachers will encourage students to write questions to Mr. Alexander, either about his compositions or about their own. In February, at the WSU Festival of Contemporary Art Music, selected students will be invited to perform Mr. Alexander’s compositions and several new works commissioned by the PPLS. Mr. Alexander will offer a master class for those student performers and any other students able to participate, and will also present a clinic for PPLS teachers, WSU composition majors, and community teachers during the FoCAM. We also hope to coordinate with the schools in the Pullman School District to bring Mr. Alexander into some of the classrooms of our PPLS students for interactive sessions with the entire class. This is going to be another exciting year for everyone, and I hope you will join with me in encouraging your students to unleash their creativity in improvisation and composition this year at the piano!

Dennis Alexander
Dennis Alexander


Professor Alexander is a native Kansan, having graduated from the University of Kansas where he was a student of Richard Reber. In 1972, he was invited to join the faculty at the University of Montana and served as piano department chair in addition to his teaching duties in applied piano, class piano and piano pedagogy. In 1987, he made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall with violinist Walter Olivares and continues to be active as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. He has served as a collaborative artist for numerous internationally recognized soloists, instrumentalists, and chamber groups. A former president of the Montana State Music Teachers Association, he is a popular clinician at state music teachers conventions. Professor Alexander recently returned from a tour of Australia and has toured twice to the far East where he performed recitals and workshops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Over the years, numerous organizations and state associations have commissioned him to write compositions. His “Concertante in G Major” was commissioned by the Montana Music Teachers organization for their state convention, and his 2-piano work, “Fanfare Toccata Rondo” was commissioned by Goshen College. Many of his compositions are included in the National Federation of Music Study Clubs Festival required list and his music is being performed by students throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe. One of Mr. Alexander’s most significant contributions to the repertoire is “24 Character Preludes” in all major and minor keys which includes a CD with Dennis Alexander as soloist. He is also a co-author of an exciting and innovative new piano method recently released in June of 2005 entitled “Alfred’s Premier Piano Course”. His latest collections, called “Especially for Adults” is due to be released in March of 2007.


Friday, Feb 6th

Dennis Alexander workshops in the public schools
Dennis Alexander Recital, 6:30 p.m. in Kimbrough Concert Hall

Saturday, Feb 7th

Masterclass with Dennis Alexander, 10:00 a.m.
Dennis Alexander clinic, 2:00 p.m. in Kimbrough 101