Justin Alexander 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 recent performances in Australia, Sweden, Costa Rica, and The Dominican Republic. Justin holds a 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.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Justin Alexander: I think I would be in architecture or design. I really love organizing spaces, and I could see myself being happy in that profession! Or, I'd be in comedy writing; my secret dream is to be a writer for SNL.
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
JA: Richmond is such a great city; it just made the New York Times list of places to visit in 2020! There is an amazing food and drink scene here, and it's rich in the arts. VCU is ranked the number one public art university in the U.S., and the city is very supportive of the arts. Numerous art galleries, a full-time symphony, the Richmond Ballet Company, Virginia Opera, and the Virginia Repertory Theater are all minutes from VCU in downtown Richmond.
R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
JA: Most people don't know that I was a competitive gymnast when I was young.
R!S: What is your all-time favorite album and why?
JA: My favorite album is probably Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins. That album really changed my life, and a lot of my ideas about drum set playing, sound, and phrasing come from Jimmy Chamberlin's drumming on that album.
R!S: Where did you grow up and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
JA: I grew up outside of Little Rock, Arkansas in a small town called Cabot. I was fortunate that my nextdoor neighbor had a drum set in his garage. One day I wandered over to his house and started messing around on the drum set, and he showed me some simple beats. Thus began the musical journey I am still on today!