Virginia Tech student and cellist Alex Fowler takes the stage to showcase his talents in the upcoming concert with the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of faculty member James Glazebrook. The concert will be held Feb. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Squires Recital Salon.

Fowler, a senior from Vienna, Virginia, majoring in music in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, was introduced to the cello in fourth grade and quickly grew to love the opportunities for young cellists in Northern Virginia. “We had several different string groups in elementary and middle school, and there were a couple of orchestras in high school,” Fowler said.

He participated in district and regional orchestras before making All-State in his senior year of high school, where he went from first alternate to second chair in record time. “All-State was an exciting change of pace from high school,” said Fowler. “There would be a few days every week that were devoted entirely to music.”

It wasn’t until Fowler was 16 that he began to consider music as a career. Suddenly, he found the drive and motivation to practice and develop a seriousness for his craft. He was recommended by Olga Yanovich — violinist, music director, and founder of the Washington Youth Chamber Orchestra — to attend InterHarmony International Music Festival in Tuscany, Italy. There he met Virginia Tech faculty member Alan Weinstein, who agreed to a private lesson while the two were in Italy. This lesson led to the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts as Fowler’s first and only choice for his undergraduate education.

Weinstein’s unique approach to teaching cello opened Fowler’s mind to new and exciting possibilities as a musician. “We focused on a technical and physical approach,” Fowler explained. “For the first year-and-a-half we went back to the fundamentals and rebuilt my technique as a cellist.” Fowler practiced as many as six hours a day during his freshman year. 

“Music means something to the performer. I think that’s important — to like the sounds you are making by yourself and with other people.”

He recently completed applications and auditions for graduate programs in cello performance at the University of Cincinnati, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. Fowler intends to keep an open mind and remain flexible about his career path, and he hopes graduate school will allow more opportunities for chamber music and string quartets, as well as playing in the pit for opera and ballet repertoire.

Fowler will be performing "Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33" by Tchaikovsky during the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra concert. Other pieces on the program include  Overture to “La Scala di Seta” by Gioachino Rossini; “Pavane for a Dead Princess” by Ravel; and “The Birds,” Suite for Small Orchestra by Respighi. 

Tickets and parking

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for students, and may be purchased online, at the Squires Ticket Office, or by calling 540-231-5615 during ticket office hours.

The Squires Student Center is located at 290 College Avenue on the Virginia Tech campus. Parking is available in the Squires lot located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street and in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Limited street parking is also available. Additional parking information is available here.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please call Susan Sanders at 540-231-5200 or email her at during regular business hours prior to the event.

Written by Willie Caldwell, of Salem, Virginia, a graduate student studying arts leadership and higher education at Virginia Tech.

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