HOWIE ALEXANDER, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in a home filled with jazz, R&B, and funk. Howie began playing piano when he was 15, and 27 years later, with performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Poogie Bell, Ciaro, and the likes of Stanley Turrentine on his resume, the Duquesne University graduate performs as sideman or headliner at venues from Pittsburgh to Monaco. He has been a piano instructor at the Afro-American Music Institute since 1994, and now serves as Artistic Director.
Alexander cites a trio of mentors: Dr. James T. Johnson Jr. , founder of Afro-American Music Institute in Pittsburgh; jazz guitarist Jimmy Ponder, with whom Alexander had his first professional gig at the age of 17; and Dr. Nelson Harrison, former jazz trombonist with the Count Basie Orchestra. His repertoire is vast, from jazz and gospel, to funk and blues. He recently composed a silent film suite, a lost art, to accompany the Oscar Micheaux 1920 film, WITHIN OUR GATES, at the Black Bottom Film Festival. Howard Alexander is the 2024 B.U.I.L.D. Artist-in-Residence at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center/Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival.