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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Music by Alex offers creative space, resources to local musicians

Casey He/Daily Senior Staffer
Music by Alex is a new business aiming primarily to support high schoolers getting started in professional music.

Alexandros Pirillis spent over 24 years as a mechanical engineer, but just last year, he decided to take a plunge and pursue his longtime passion for music.

Pirillis has been playing the violin for the last 43 years, since he was seven years old, when he fell in love with Hungarian Dance No. 5, he said. Now, he’s the owner of Music by Alex, a new business located at 624 Grove St.

Pirillis’s business, he said, is for anyone who needs to be filmed or recorded professionally, a headshot taken, a space to be rented or even just to find a proper piano.

“For me, one of the issues that I had was finding a place to play a real piano,” Pirillis said. “You can’t compare a real piano to a keyboard, so having that luxury is worthwhile for me.”

Primarily, he said, his audience is high school students trying to get themselves established in the music industry. Pirillis said he plans to start teaching violin, viola and cello on the weekends soon. 

Growing up, Pirillis said, learning the violin and being part of a quartet helped him develop into who he is now and gave him a place he felt safe.

“I really wanted kids to understand that playing the violin, which is a very difficult instrument, doesn’t have to give you anxiety because it’s such a difficult instrument to really get a grasp of,” he said. “I feel that the techniques that I’ve constructed over the years are really solid techniques so that anyone that wants to learn a string instrument can learn it.”

Pirillis said there are two aspects to playing — emotional and technical — and that he has the experience to teach both.

Pirillis also plans to put on performances with his ensemble around the city. He said he will collaborate with local restaurants and offer a discount to their patrons.  

“They can go to Evanston (and) have dinner at one of our wonderful restaurants that are on Sherman and Davis and all the streets,” He said. “Then they head over to our studio after dinner or before and they can enjoy a nice hour-and-15-minute show that night.”

Pirillis’s ensemble, Viocello, includes professional violinist Jinty McTavish. McTavish has recorded with Pirillis before with her remote quarter, which includes members in Los Angeles and Nashville.

McTavish said she has performed Pirillis’s compositions before and added she appreciates his different perspective on music.

“He’s a scientist. He’s a mathematician,” She said. “He grew up playing an instrument, but because of that he sees music very differently than we do.”

Photographer Aaron Gallo also works at Music by Alex. Gallo and Pirillis met a couple of years ago while they were both working in service, Gallo said.

Pirillis said he reached out to Gallo last year because he knew Gallo was interested in photography and filmmaking. Gallo helped Pirillis design part of the Music by Alex studio and pick out equipment.

Gallo said the plan is for him to become full-time once the studio has more clientele. He’s looking forward to working as an artist and getting more experience.

“We meet up consistently to brainstorm the business,” He said. “It was a pleasure to, because we just bounce ideas off each other and we really work in tandem in a lot of ways.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @kaavya_butaney

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