Alexander-Richard Straus-Fausto is known for his exhilarating and innovative organ performances. He is currently a second-year undergraduate organ performance student of Hans-Ola Ericsson and harpsichord performance and continuo with Hank Knox at McGill University, Schulich School of Music, class of 2022. His former organ teachers are Christian Lane, Thomas Bara, Dr. Peter Nikiforuk, and Joe Carere. Alexander has a broad repertoire of music, dating from early fifteenth-century keyboard music to contemporary organ music, and he has completed over fifty original transcriptions of major orchestral works for organ. He is particularly passionate about musical freedom on the orchestral symphonic organ. He sees the organ as an orchestra with unlimited capabilities, being a personal palette for musical expression.
In September 2019, Alexander Straus-Fausto was appointed Titular Organist in Residence at the prestigious Église du Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus in Montreal, where he primarily accompanies the Sunday Mass, presiding over a landmark Casavant organ of 120 ranks and approximately 7000 pipes, originally the sixth largest organ in North-America and said by some to be one of the finest and largest in the nation. As of September 2019, he is also accompanist for the McGill University Chorus.
Through the assistance of a Canada Council for the Arts Grant, he completed a recital tour in the summer of 2019, performing in major Churches and Cathedrals in London, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds, and King's Lynn (Norfolk), Great Britain. Other highlights include performing solo concerts in Washington National Cathedral, Maison Symphonique in Montreal and Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Quebec City.
At an early age, Alex showed prodigious musical talent, being able to play by ear and write songs and improvise on themes before beginning his first lessons. Born in 2000, Alexander began his musical studies at age four on piano, started improvising on the organ at age eight (after visiting the Nethercutt Collection and later discovering one in a movie palace), and began organ lessons at age fourteen. In 2016, Alexander won First Place in the Buffalo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists' Student Competition held on the landmark Hook and Hastings organ at St. Joseph's Cathedral. Since then, Alexander has participated in lessons with today's most influential organ teachers.
Alexander loves to arrange, perform, collaborate, and compose. He is most known for creative and diverse concert programs combining both improvisation and transcription of popular pieces, including Pop, Latin and Jazz, as well as being particularly passionate about the music of J.S. Bach and César Franck. His other hobby is mechanical music, antiques and nostalgia and particularly wooden roller coasters of the 1920s.
Alexander is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He has had the opportunity to be one of the few solo performers in Interlochen Arts Academy’s “Collage” as well as to accompany the Interlochen Orchestra in Ives' "Three Places in New England". He was particularly thrilled to play the organ for the Interlochen project and composition of “Pilgrimages,” by Son Lux.
Photo by Camille Amathe
Église du Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus, where Alexander currently serves as the Titular Organist in residence.