I don't really like program bios! They seem like a kind of shallow arms race of self importance. Even so, it has been shown that the better an audience thinks you are, the more they will like your performance, regardless of actual merit! My regular bio is here, but below that is what you could call a brief professional memoir.
Alexander Ezerman comes from a family where the cello runs four generations deep, including two former associate principals of the Philadelphia Orchestra. A prize winner in national and international competition, he has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across North America, South America, and Europe. An active advocate and performer of new music, he has been involved in numerous premiers, and has performed all twelve of the “Sacher” pieces for solo cello in a single recital. He has recorded on the New World, Navona, Centaur and Innova Labels. He has previously been on the faculties of the Brevard Music Center, the Killington Music Festival and Texas Tech University. Ezerman holds a BM degree from Oberlin College Conservatory and a Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His primary mentors include Timothy Eddy, Norman Fischer, David Wells and his grandmother Elsa Hilger. He is on the faculty at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, and in the summer at Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington Vermont.
I was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew up near Burlington, Vermont. My Grandmother was a well know cellist, Elsa Hilger, and I started playing at the age of five. I have to admit, I was not a very good student. I was more interested in bugs and taking things apart (not so much putting them together!)
I didn't practice much, or take the cello seriously in any way, until around the age of 14. At that point, I made the amazing discovery that practicing meant getting better, and getting better was actually pretty fun. I was helped by some great and caring teachers (Steven Elisha. Kathy Foster, David Wells and of course my Grandmother) and I drove myself pretty hard (and listened to my teachers very little!). I also loved running (I was a sprinter)
I went to college at the Oberlin Conservatory, where I studied with Norman Fischer, who helped me wrap my head around the idea that a little organization can go a long way, gave me a great grounding in my technical understanding of the cello, and so much more. At Oberlin, I took as many non-music classes as I could, enjoyed a lot of craziness, and generally worked very hard on my playing. I gave a recital nearly every semester (having learned I would only practice hard if I had something to practice for!). It was in college where I rediscovered my curiosity, and began to realize that learning an instrument was more about learning how to use your mind, and less about how to move your fingers!
During this time I won the MTNA Senior Strings National Competition, and was twice a finalist in the ASTA National Competition. I also received a Tanglewood Fellowship twice (There, I got to play under many great conductors, including one of Leonard Bernstein's last performances). Tanglewood was such a busy place, I could only practice in the (very) early morning, and in those sessions in the cool, humid Massachusetts mornings, still half asleep, I began to learn how to slow down and truly listen to myself.
At Tanglewood, I kept hearing about this teacher named Tim Eddy. A number of his students were there, and anyone who had worked with him spoke of his teaching with great respect. I decided I would study with him for graduate school (he taught at Stony Brook University on Long Island at the time). It is some measure of how naive I was at the time, that I didn't even apply to any other programs. It didn't even occur to me that I might not get in! Had I known that Tim often had forty to fifty young cellists audition for one or two spots in his studio, I might have been more nervous! Thankfully, I was accepted.
To be continued...