Bassist Alexis Valk is a versatile performer equally at home playing jazz, classical music, or broadway shows. He has studied with classical bassists such as soloist Gary Karr, Chicago Symphony bassist Warren Benfield and also with Homer Mensch, who taught at Yale and Juilliard. He has also studied with noted jazz bassists Ron Carter and Richard Davis. Bassist Valk is a graduate of The New England Conservatory and Ball State University, where he obtained his master's and doctorate degrees. His versatility was also a hallmark of his college teaching career, where as a classical performer he competed in an international bass competition in 1978 and took jazz combos under his direction to the Wichita Jazz Festival, where they took first place in 1977 and '78. He has taught at Southern Illinois University (1976-82), West Texas State (1983-85), and Houston Community College (1987-94), where he was also music department head.
During this time Dr. Valk was also a clinician at college jazz festivals, performed as principal bass of the Memphis and Amarillo Symphonies, wrote articles for the International Society of Bassists Journal, gave papers in medieval musicology for the Medieval Association of the Midwest and at the International Congress on Medieval Studies and founded a scholarly society, in addition to performing teaching duties including private string and electric bass, jazz bands, classes in jazz and rock history, string class, music business, music appreciation, and music theory. While department head at Houston Community College, he was also involved in developing commercial music degree programs in jazz performance and arranging/composition.
Since moving to Houston in 1985, bassist Valk has been an active freelancer, performing as principal bass with Houston Grand Opera, and also with The Houston Ballet and The Houston Symphony. He also plays national touring versions of Broadway shows that come to Houston and is also active as a jazz performer, and has played with local artists Clayton Dyess and Marsha Frazier, (see jazz alliance) as well as a number of local big bands. His playing can be found on a number of CDs, including Noches Asturianas (Green Planet Records), and the Tom Borling BeBop Band release The TBBB Plays the Music of Eddie Lewis.
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