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Assistant Professor of Music
Director of Percussion Studies
Justin Alexander currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. A dynamic and versatile percussionist, Justin has performed throughout the United States and the world, with performances in Belgium, Australia, Sweden, Costa Rica, and The Dominican Republic.
As a percussionist who started on the drum set, Justin’s creative work has revolved around this instrument. He has commissioned and performed new works for the instrument in concert and chamber music settings while also centering the drum set in his teaching curriculum. His early affinity for both popular and classical music has enabled him to move between genres and styles effortlessly, as evidenced in his recordings and performances with an eclectic range of musicians and ensembles, from sound artist and Guggenheim Fellow Stephen Vitiello to the GRAMMY-nominated Richmond Symphony.
A dedicated chamber musician, Justin is co-founder of AarK Duo, with flutist Tabatha Easley, and Novus Percutere, with percussionist Luis Rivera. AarK Duo has performed throughout the world, including multiple College Music Society international and national conferences and The National Flute Association national conference. AarK Duo’s debut recording, Hair, Cloth, and Thread, was released in 2016 to favorable reviews. Novus Percutere’s focus on minimalist / process music, particularly the works of UK composer Steve Gisby, resulted in a 2015 self-titled recording and performances throughout the US, including the 2018 International Conference on Music and Minimalism. Justin can also be heard as a guest soloist on the 2019 Novona Records release, The John Psathas Percussion Project, Volume 1, as both an ensemble member and drum set soloist on John Psathas’s Drum Dances, as well as The FSU Percussion Ensemble, Volume 3: Ten Windows, again as the guest drum set performer on Jamie Whitmarsh’s Nails!!!.
An Aspen Music Festival alum, Justin has performed with The Florida Orchestra, The Richmond Symphony, The Arkansas Symphony, and has held the role of Principal Percussionist with the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival since 2015.
Justin’s recent interests have explored the role of non-western percussion traditions in the percussion studio. He is currently studying Carnatic and Hindustani music with Erode Nagaraj and Shawn Mativetsky, respectively. His interest in and commitment to into an integrated approach to non-western traditions in the percussion studio has led to a presentation at the 2018 National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy as well as a co-authored article in Percussive Notes (2020).
As a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Justin has presented at PASIC 2014 and 2018, published articles in Percussive Notes, and currently serves on the PAS World Percussion Committee.
Justin holds the Doctor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from The Florida State University. His primary teachers include Dr. John W. Parks IV, Dr. Blake Tyson, and Prof. Leon Anderson. He is proudly endorsed by Pearl / Adams Musical Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Grover Pro Percussion, and Remo, Inc.
Justin is the founder of RVA Percussion Academy, an online education platform dedicated to raising the level of percussion training in the Central Virginia area, and serves as Percussion Coordinator for the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra.