Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Alper, Gregory

Alper, Gregory , saxophonist, composer; b. Chicago, IL. 2 January 1953. His mother, Evelyn G. Alper (b. 1928 Joliet, IL. 2000) played piano, guitar, sang and danced in local musical productions. His father, Howard C. Alper (b. 1929, Chicago, IL) played the saxophone in high school and college, playing in the swing and marching bands. (More recently, Gregory arranged and produced a novelty recording "Howie Alper's Greatest Hits" featuring his father's singing.) Alper's sister Renee B. Alper (b. 1957, Chicago, IL) is also a singer/songwriter and playwright.

Gregory began composing on the piano at age 6 and quickly taught himself saxophone and guitar. He formed his first rock bands in the early 60's and began playing professionally at age 12. Early gigs included performances at the graduation sock hop for his junior high, and during his senior year in New Trier West high school, he gave his first headliner performance as Gregory Alper and Friends. Before going to college, they also headlined the Summer Concert at the Wilmette Bowl.

At the University of Pennsylvania, he briefly studied composition with George Crumb in 1972. Shortly after hearing John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," he decided to dedicate himself exclusively to the instrument and transferred to Indiana University where he studied improvisation with David Baker and composition with John Eaton and Fred Fox. He received a BA in Jazz Improvisation and Experimental Tape in 1975, also performing at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and receiving acclaim from Sonny Rollins that same year.

He moved to New York and spent the next 15 years performing and recording. He opened his own recording studio and began producing demos and then albums for various songwriters as well as scoring industrial films and commercials. He studied orchestration and scoring for film at Mannes College. After composing his first scores for the feature film "Alexa" and the award-winning documentary "Not Made of Glass, he decided to move to LA in 1989 to pursue film scoring. He took several courses in orchestration and composition at USC and UCLA and studied with composer Gerry Fried. Alper later taught improvisation at UCLA extension.

In 1990, he founded the Gregory Alper Music School, providing private instruction on sax, clarinet, flute, piano, and jazz improvisation, and leading a jazz ensemble for grades 5-12. He appears with his quartet twice weekly at Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Santa Monica, CA.

Other interests include financial management and yoga. Gregory is training to become a Pathwork(r) Helper (spiritual psychology counselor). German author Sonja Kochius (Alper) and he married in 1996.

Hamptons Film Festival Nomination for Best Score - "My Brother Jack"
Drama-Logue Outstanding Music for Theater Award "Detective Story"
Billboard Pick of the Week - "Fat Doggie" Greg Alper Band, Adelphi Records
The Chicago Film Festival Silver Plaque - "Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass." Documentary Film

Recordings :
Fat Doggie (1979); My Time (1994); Common Ground (1998); Caves of Mystery (1992)
As sideperson:
Graham Moses: Far Edges (1994); Johnny Copeland: Texas Twister (1983)
Unissued Recordings:
Miscellaneous orchestra pieces (1989-1998); 100+ hours of recordings (mostly with Fat Doggie Band) (1965-2002); Watermelon Man (with Ella Fitzgerald) (1993); Haloman: Music for Orchstra (1995); My Brother Jack [soundtrack] (1999); How Much is that in Dog Years? (2000)

Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass (1988); Alexa (1989); Mojave Moon (1997); Dream a Little Dream II (1998); Random Hearts (1999); My Brother Jack (1999);
Gregory's compositions, songs and/or performances have appeared in numerous motion pictures, including:
Killer Instinct (1993); Body Waves (1993); Sticking Together (1994); Destination Vegas (1994); Professional Affair (1994); Heat Of Passion (1994); Final Judgment (1994); Corrina, Corrina (1995)

Television (composing):
Hope (1999); Eden (1990); Sensual Fantasy (1992) Pirates of Dark Water (1994); Defenders of Dynatron City (1994); Project Art Show (1997); Cracker (1998);

Electronic Entertainment Scores :
Dark Seed (1990), Warcraft (1991); Mechwarrior 2: The Clans (1997)

TV, Films, Documentaries:
Not of This World (1992); Good Day LA (1997); on screen performance

Broadcasts :
Haloman: Music for Orchestra (1995)

Bibliography :
LA Times Calendar 1990 - Critical Acclaim in Leonard Feather's review of Alper's performance with DADDY'S MONEY Palisadian Post May 2003 - profile

Contact information :
Gregory Alper
Magnum Opus Records
707 Jacon Way
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Phone 310-454-4457
Fax 310-454-1260

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