Salon 2018-10-07 — Alex Hassan “Gems That Never had a Chance”

Sunday October 7, 2018 6:00 PM in Sterling

Guilford Station Arts Proudly Presents


Gems That Never Had a Chance

Alex Hassan, Piano

If you don’t know Alex Hassan, you’re missing a lot! Alex specializes in “music between the wars”, which he says are the real post-romantic classics. In his words: “the late romantic musical period doesn’t end with Rachmaninoff. That mantle was assumed by the songwriters of Tin Pan Alley.” This was a period of intense productivity: film was just beginning to “talk” and people sought relief from the international tragedy. Jazz was in its infancy; rock unborn. Alex has, at last count, nearly 50,000 pieces to choose from and a brain that keeps it all neatly analyzed, sorted and cross-referenced. But forget the analysis. This music is endless fun!

Alex, charter member of URSA (Unadulterated Romantic Slobs of America) plans an hour’s worth of soaring melodies and toe-tapping syncopations.


Alex Hassan is a pianist thoroughly immersed in the musical styles and arrangements of the 1920’s and 30’s. Alex draws his inspiration from over 1600 “novelty/syncopated” 78 RPM records and his personal sheet music collection of nearly 50,000 titles. With his broad Classical music training, advanced improvisational skills and intense love and knowledge of the niche, Alex has made it his life’s mission to re-create the spirited and glorious melodies of Tin Pan Alley — music “Between the Wars”. But Alex adds another amazing twist: rather than bringing us the familiar hits of the era, he has created a new genre of songs that got lost or forgotten but should have succeeded. His previous show (with singer Doug Bowles), “Greatest Hits you Never Heard” was a eye-opening, toe-tapping success.

Among the highlights of his career, Alex has performed at the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), the Smithsonian, the Player’s Club (Manhattan — a party for George Gershwin’s sister and family members), Raritäten der Klaviermusik (Piano Rarities Festival, Germany), Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress (DC), Longwood Gardens (Philadelphia), Pizza-on-the-Park (London), the McMichael Art Gallery (Toronto), the Billy Mayerl Society (UK), the Washington DC Arts Club, the National Gallery of Art (DC) and, notably, Emerson Avenue Salons (in downtown, prestigious, tony Mclean VA)