Alex Hargreaves of Corvallis, Oregon, plays a wide variety of styles including jazz, bluegrass, new acoustic, Texas style, western swing and classical. Mentored by some of the greats in progressive acoustic music, he has already toured with Mike Marshall, David Grisman, Jerry Douglas and Bruce Molsky, and shared the stage with many others including Mark O’Connor, Chris Thile, Tim O’Brien, Sam Bush and Darol Anger. He will be returning to my Creative Strings Workshop as a teacher this year after coming several summers as a participant. Despite his age, he’s a great teacher who can easily convey musical and technical concepts to players of all levels.
At the age of 18, Hargreaves has already received countless honors including the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin from Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference, and the Alternative Styles Award from the American Strings Teachers Association (ASTA). Alex is also the youngest ever (age 15) to win the Grand Champion division at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and in 2009, won the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship in Nashville and performed on the Grand Ole Opry.
Also an active performer, Hargreaves has played on stages around the world including Austin City Limits, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Merlefest, Rockygrass, Wintergrass and the Mandolines De Lunel Festival in Lunel, France, as well as venues in Canada and Italy. He is a member of world-renowned mandolinist Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, along with bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers). They have toured extensively following the 2008 release of their self-titled album on Adventure Music. In addition, Alex often performs with singer and multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Jarosz. He appears on her critically acclaimed album, Song Up In Her Head (Sugar Hill Records), and is featured on her Grammy-nominated instrumental, Mansinneedof.
In February, 2010, Alex’s debut album, Prelude, was released on Adventure Music, featuring master acoustic musicians Mike Marshall, Grant Gordy and Paul Kowert, as well as special guests Bela Fleck and Noam Pikelny. Prelude portrays Hargreaves’ maturity not only as a cross-genre violinist and improviser, but also as a composer, with his original compositions comprising half the album.
Hargreaves’ playing on Prelude has already been acclaimed by critics and musicians alike. All Music Guide cites Alex’s “undeniable,” “pure, raw talent,” and David Grisman comments, “[Alex] plays with wit, authority and soulfulness belying his years. In my opinion, he’s destined to be one of the fiddle giants of the 21st century.” For Mike Marshall, Alex is “arguably one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today” and Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee College of Music, American Roots Program, simply states, “Truly, Alex Hargreaves is the best young jazz violinist in America.”
In pursuit of his passion for jazz and improvisational-based music, Alex will be attending the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Perez (Dizzy Gillespie and Wayne Shorter), this new program admits only a handful of students each year, providing them with the opportunity to work one-on-one with a select group of Berklee faculty, including Perez, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, and Jamey Haddad.
You can meet Alex, hear him, study with and play alongside him at the Creative Strings Workshop.
Alex Hargreaves with Mike Barnett: