Alva Anderson, Jazz Singer and Violist

Born in the Bronx to parents who fostered a great appreciation for the Arts, violist/vocalist Alva Anderson began piano lessons at the age of 10. Her desire to be a part of the music program in high school led her to the viola. At the time, she didn’t know what a viola was but it soon became her ‘voice’.

Her other voice revealed itself while Alva was on tour in Europe with a chamber music ensemble. Late one night at a jam session in a jazz club in Switzerland, a good buddy invited her to the microphone. The song was “My Funny Valentine.” The feeling and audience responses were intoxicating. The message was clear; she was twice blessed.

With the acknowledgment of those gifts came the great joy, the responsibility to support, develop and share them with others.

Back in the ‘States’ Alva began to frequent jam sessions throughout New York City. She attended vocal and instrumental workshops with Barry Harris, Billy Taylor, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Jimmy Heath and Billy Mitchell, Frank Owens, John Blake, Turtle Island String Quartet and Jimmy Seigler.

For more than 20 years Alva has shared her love for music with her students in the New York City public schools. Many of her students have gone on to become professional musicians and music teachers.

Alva has created two one women shows; The Elegant One, the Life in Music of Ella Fitzgerald and Fine “Brown” Frame, the Music of Ruth Brown.

Her band members Tom DiPietra, guitar; Jesse Crawford, bass and Charlie Taylor, percussion have performed these concerts in libraries, churches and schools in New York City. With this band Alva Anderson creates original music and puts her own spin on the music of these singers and the other singers who have fed her desire to sing.

Festival Participation and Performances

Jazz in July | Amherst, MA
Lady Got Chops | Brooklyn, NY
Saratoga Jazz Festival | Saratoga, NY
Southern Vermont Arts Festival | Manchester, VT
Sphinx Symphony Orchestra | Detroit, MI
International Chamber Music Festival | Munich, Germany
Berks Jazz Fest | Berks County, PA
Basically Bach Festival | La Jolla, CA
Downeast Chamber Festival | Castine, ME
Parlor Jazz | Brooklyn, NY
Rich Forum | Stamford, CT

Artists Performed With

Carmen MacRea
Dizzy Gillespie
Barry Harris
Tito Puente
Paul West
Vanessa Rubin
Beres Hammond
Buju Banton
Makanda Ken McIntyre
Take 6
Common
Jerry Eastman
Jimmy Seigler, Grammy Award Winner
Anthony Braxton
Carmen Lundy
Marvin Hamlish

Ensemble Membership

Harlem Symphony
Allegro Chamber Ensemble
Sphinx Symphony Orchestra
HeartStrings Quartet Co-founder
Queens Symphony
Downeast Chamber Ensemble

Education/Major Instructors

C. W. Post Bachelor of Fine Arts
St. John’s University Masters in Education
Queens College
Paul Doktor
Burton Kaplan
Jessie Levine