Alan was born and bred in Bergen County, New Jersey. He began as a teaching artist for New York City Opera in 1999, and says, “Once you’ve taught high schoolers to appreciate and love opera, the gigs seem less daunting.” His first year at Marquis Studios was 2011, and as a music teaching artist, his particular interests are percussion, instrument-making and songwriting.
Inspiration: The full-time teachers that I get to work with every day. They chose to be in a profession that does not pay very well and has, increasingly, been subject to excessive political and societal demands.
Favorite dessert: An almond tiramisu at my favorite restaurant in North Bergen, NJ that is life-affirming.
Hero: My mother and father, who came to this country with a family and made it work.
Most underrated art material:
Our human will to be social. So many adults will proclaim up and down that they are “not musicians” and “can’t dance” or “couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag,” but a child wants to engage in those things. They want to express themselves to others and have others express themselves with them. Adults have that drummed out of them, but if we can activate that or help it not be extinguished in the first place, then that’s worth all the crayons and drumsticks in the world.
Favorite color: Green, because I love trees and the smell of freshly-cut grass.
Personal best quality: It was modesty until you asked me that.
Advice to your 12-year-old self: Whether you know it or not, your world is filled with teachers. Find them and acknowledge what you learn from them. Most of all, never forget that you will be fulfilling the role for others on your path, so be thoughtful and patient.
Favorite musician: Duke Ellington