Steven Alvarez came to Anchorage from the San Francisco Bay Area where he was active as both a performer and educator. Raised in a multi-ethnic military family, Steven had the opportunity to grow up in and around many diverse cultures including Hispanic, Native American, Hawaiian, Japanese, and all three coasts of the continental U.S. He graduated from San Jose State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music (Voice and Percussion) and History and minored in Philosophy.
An artist with hands in many mediums, he works professionally as a percussionist, vocalist, stage actor, film and stage producer and music educator. He has produced twelve cultural documentary films and music videos which have been screened internationally at film festivals and broadcast nationally on PBS. His films have won several awards including a Native American Music Award (NAMA) for his music video In This World, produced for the intertribal contemporary indigenous band: Medicine Dream. He executive produced Games of the North, a film on the Alaskan Native and Inuit games which was broadcast on PBS in 2011and 2012.
Steven began working professionally as a musician at the age of 16 and worked his way through college performing as both a singer and percussionist. As a percussionist, he worked for seven years with the Monterey Symphony and the Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestras. He has freelanced as a percussionist and vocalist in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Anchorage and performed as a guest artist for the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1983 with jazz artist Bobby Hutcherson. Steven has shared the stage with Lloyd Bridges, Doc Sevrinson, Jethro Tull, R. Carlos Nakai and Bobby McFerrin and has worked with numerous bands, combos and pit orchestras. He has recorded local and national radio and television commercials jingles as both a vocalist and percussionist including the 15” Hershey’s Kisses Christmas spot that has run annually for 24 years.
Music directing more than 40 theater productions, he is one of the founding directors of Theater Artists United (TAU); an Anchorage based music theater company. In 2015, he served as the Artistic and Executive Producer of Spirit – the 7th Fire of Alaska, an Alaskan adaptation of Peter Buffett’s masterwork, for the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Alaska Dance Theatre. In 2008 he co-produced, with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, the world premier of Echoes, a multi-media symphonic piece coupling the indigenous song and dance of Hawaii, Alaska and Native America with a symphony orchestra. The piece was also performed in Washington DC at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).
He has performed on stage in several musical theater productions, having played the roles of Jinx/Forever Plaid, Judas Iscariot and Jesus/ Jesus Christ Superstar, Che/Evita, The Celebrant/Bernstein’s Mass, and recently performed the role of The Evangelist for a production of Bach’s St John Passion. Steven regularly presents an innovative theater piece, which debuted at the NMAI that couples film, contemporary song and indigenous storytelling. He has performed as a vocalist and storyteller at venues throughout the country.
Steven works regularly as a percussionist with the Anchorage Symphony, the Anchorage Opera, and Anchorage Concert Chorus orchestras, Native American band, Medicine Dream, and has performed as a solo artist at the Kennedy Center and at the NMAI’s Classical Native Series in Washington D.C. In 2010, he performed at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver with Saturday Night Live percussionist, Valerie Naranjo.
Steven spent fifteen years as a music educator and has administrated private music and dance schools, after school cultural education programs and art organizations for more than 20 years.
He currently serves as the Director of Arts and Education for the Alaska Native Heritage Center where he is responsible for producing and developing educational and public programming, working with the Center’s national and local partners, coordinating special projects directing and producing educational initiatives, public programs, performance art and film festivals.