Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Alexander Svensen

Black and white image of Alexander Svensen looking down as he plays the bass.

Where were you born and (if different) where did you grow up?
I grew up in Jamestown, NY, which is just about as far west as you can travel in NY before hitting Pennsylvania. Fun fact: it’s Lucille Ball’s hometown.

Current residence and marital status/family (including pets):
Madison CT, where I live with my wife and newborn son.

B.Mus., SUNY Fredonia (Music Education and Performance)
Performer’s Certificate, SUNY Fredonia
M.Mus., Yale University
Performer in Residence 2010-2011, Carnegie Mellon University

When did you start playing with the VSO?
Winter of 2019/2020

Other current jobs besides VSO:
Norwalk Symphony, principal bass; Springfield Symphony, assistant principal bass; Shoreline Youth String Ensemble, conductor; and lots of private teaching & workshops

Favorite composer: Edvard Grieg

Hobbies: hiking/mountain climbing, world travel, and photography

How did you get started in music? I grew up in a very musical family. My mother was a pianist, trumpeter, and church organist, and both my parents were heavily involved in the community theater scene. I basically grew up backstage, and was playing bass in a musical pit band by age 11. Aside from singing, my first instrument was bass guitar. I credit my public school music teachers for laying the groundwork for my professional career, though. Over the course of my public schooling, I played bass, cello, viola, alto, tenor, & baritone saxophones, piano, tuba, and sang in the choir. A real crash-course in music-making!

Describe a typical day: There’s really no “typical” these days, but my favorite days begin with coffee, a bit of practicing, lunch, followed by driving to rehearsal and spending the afternoon and evening preparing a concert with my wonderful orchestra colleagues.

Dream job if not musician: I can’t imagine not being a musician, but I think I would have been a halfway decent engineer. I love to tinker and repair things.

Secret ambition: Spend more time traveling the world – maybe go on tour!

Favorite vice: A good local IPA

People would be surprised to know that: I’m an award-winning chili chef.

Best advice I ever got: “The one thing every successful musician has in common? They never stopped trying.”

Favorite way to spend an evening: Sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold night with my family after a long day on a mountain.

Pet peeve: When my socks get wet.

I’m most proud of: That I get to do what I love for a living.