Russell Alexander

Photo of Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander was born February 26, 1877, in Nevada City, Missouri. Little is known of his training and activities as a youth, but his earliest published work “The Darlington March” was published by C. L. Barnhouse in 1896. Alexander joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus Band in 1898 as euphonium player and musical arranger. In 1901 he composed what is probably his most famous march, “Colossus of Columbia.” Following his tenure with Barnum & Bailey, Alexander was a member of a popular musical comedy act called “The Exposition Four.” The act was composed of Alexander’s two brothers and a third individual, all of whom were accomplished musicians, performed extensively and achieved popularity.

Alexander suffered from poor health and died in Liberty, New York at the age of 38 on October 1, 1915. Over the course of his career, he composed some 31 marches, 6 galops, 3 overtures and several other works. Several of his marches are considered standard repertoire and remain popular to this day.

On July 20, 2015, a plaque commemorating Alexander was unveiled on the Main Street Stage in Liberty, NY, a short distance from his grave.

Publications by Russell Alexander