Alexander Zawilak received his DMA in guitar performance from Arizona State University and his Bachelor’s and Master of Arts degrees from Manness College of Music. He is currently on the staff of Scottsdale Community College as an adjunct guitar professor.
Mr. Zawilak comes from an eclectic musical background. His first loves were jazz, fusion and blues. While in high school, Alex played in the St Johns University Jazz Band, and undertook jazz studies at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. While in high school, Alex also began to explore classical music. He played cello and up-right bass in the St. Francis Prep String Orchestra. With a lot of encouragement, Alex began to sing with various vocal groups. He discovered classical guitar as a way to intimately study the music of the great composers.
While studying at Manness College of Music, Alex studied guitar with Fredrick Hand, Benjamin Verdery, Terry Champlain and Michael Newman. He did work in composition and orchestration with David Loeb. A fundamental basis for his musical development was ear training and dictation taught by Frank Nuemhauser and William Needleman. Alex also took advantage of New York City by performing with various jazz combos in local music venues. He also spent his summers playing guitar, banjo and mandolin with the Light Opera Company of Falmouth Massachusetts.
While working on his DMA at ASU, Alex turned his attention to new music. He premiered Fantasy en Hussan by Nahla Matar for fretless guitar and Chamber works by Hector Martinez. He has participated in the George Crumb residency at ASU with the performance of “Night of the Four Moons” and was the only guitar participant in the Society of Composers conference held at ASU in April of 2001 with a performance of Rhapsodic Ignition for solo guitar by Karen P. Thomas. He has also,collaborated with ASU Dance, Drama and performed on the Baroque guitar in the ASU production of Telemann’s Dido and Aeneas.
Mr. Zawilak has an extensive teaching career, first in New York and then in Phoenix. When asked about a primary teaching philosophy, Alex states, “the goal of the instructor is to share an enthusiasm for the whole spectrum of musical expression. Music has given me many hours of enjoyment at home and has brought me to many fun places in the US and Europe where I was able to share it with others.” Alex stresses the need to be emotionally motivated by the beauty of the music and encourages the fun of making and sharing it.