Q: How long have you been involved with AFCM?
Philip Alejo: I first became involved with AFCM in 2014 as a performer in the festival, and I joined the board at the invitation of Jean-Paul Bierny the following season.
Q: What is your current role?
PA: It is exciting that my work with AFCM continues to evolve. Earlier this year I became the chair of the Commissioning Committee, where I help to oversee the four commissions for this current season, as well as to connect sponsors, ensembles, and composers on future projects. Additionally, I serve as a liaison for AFCM with the University of Arizona, and I will return to the festival stage this March as a performer.
Q: What role does music play in your life?
PA: I am a voracious performer, educator, advocate, and organizer of music. I became a professional musician because I could not imagine myself doing anything else – and believe me – I tried!
Q: What instrument(s) do you play or perform?
PA: My main instrument is the double bass. I have also studied piano, viola da gamba, violin, French horn, and trumpet. Also, rare is the day that I don’t sing.
Q: How did you first become interested in the
chamber music form?
PA: Since there are fewer pieces in the repertoire that include the double bass, I relish the opportunity to play chamber music. When I was in school, I said yes to almost any invitation that came my way, and I met some of my best friends by playing the Prokofiev Quintet, Dvorˇ.k Quintet, and Trout Quintet.
Q: What other kinds of music do you enjoy?
PA: Blues, ranchera, jazz, bluegrass, salsa, soul, tango, to name a few…
Q: What’s your day job?
PA: Faculty member, Fred Fox School of Music, University of Arizona; Artist faculty, Bay View Music Festival (MI)
Q: Where else does life take you?
PA: Some local places you might find me: hiking a mountain trail, swimming laps at the pool,drinking coffee over a book in Raging Sage’s courtyard, swinging a tennis racket at Himmel Park, attempting to tame the cactus in my yard, or finding the best taco and salsa combination in Southern Arizona.
Q: What is the best part of an AFCM concert?
PA: That mere minutes from my Tucson home, I can listen to the very best chamber musicians in the world! I leave concerts feeling revitalized, and refreshed by the beauty.
Q: Is there another form of art that you identify
with chamber music?
PA: While I was at Oberlin, I participated in an art rental program that loaned a Rufino Tamayo for my dorm room wall. Research led me to the great Mexican writer Octavio Paz, who called Tamayo’s use of color, music, and architecture, music-made stone. I never looked at that painting again the same way, nor do I hear music and not imagine a world of color.