Alex DePue, known for his incredible fiddle chops, witty stage presence, brilliant violin arrangements of pop tunes and for being second-oldest of the four DePue Brothers - died on Friday in a car accident in Mexico. He was 49.Violinist
"It is with extreme sadness that we must report to you all that our second-born brother, Alexander Paul DePue, passed away from an automobile accident early this morning in Mexico. He was 49. He was certainly the 'rock star' of our family and he lived life to the fullest by the day, the way he wanted to live it," said a statement on the DePue Brothers Facebook page. "He was his own boss, and we've always respected him for that. So, please keep him and his newly wed wife, Aria Curzon DePue, in your thoughts and prayers."
Alex DePue was born in Bowling Green, Ohio, and he began studying classical violin at the age of five.
From a young age, Alex played with his brothers Wallace Jr., Jason and Zach as part of the DePue Brothers Band - four violin-playing brothers. A 1993 documentary about the Depue Brothers shows them under the direction of their father Dr. Wallace DePue, Sr., a composition professor at Bowling Green State University. They played a great variety of gigs throughout their childhood - churches, wedding receptions, fiddle contests, etc. The brothers continued to collaborate over the years, even as they went in different directions musically and professionally.
Alex's classical training was intense, and by age 10, he had won his first university-level competition and played as a soloist with the Bowling Green State University Symphony Orchestra. At age 14 he won a competition that brought him to Carnegie Hall, as concertmaster for the National Guild Youth Symphony Orchestra, with Joseph Silverstein conducting.
The whole while, he also took a keen interest in fiddling and other forms of music, and he started entering fiddle contests. From 1994 to 1998 he reigned as the Michigan State Fiddling Champion and proceeded to win numerous fiddle competitions across the United States.
Alex's playing always reflected his diverse musical interests - classical, bluegrass, rock, and he was fluent in more than just the violin, playing the viola, mandolin, guitar, bass, clarinet, saxophone, drums and piano.
In 2007, rock guitarist Steve Vai, having seen Alex's rock videos (including "Owner of a Lonely Heart" - below is a later version) - auditioned him to join his band.
And so he did, from 2007–2010 Depue joined Vai for a world tour that took him across North America, South America and Europe. Depue is featured in Vai's 2009 live concert/movie DVD "Steve Vai: Where the Wild Things Are" and was part of the performance of the song Now We Run that earned the band a nomination for Best Live Rock Instrumental Performance at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
While working with Vai, Depue met and teamed up with Mexican guitarist Miguel De Hoyos, and they continued to collaborate as a duet. Below is a video from 2009, with DePue playing Dueling Banjos with guitarist De Hoyos at The Maumee Indoor Theatre. It's a wonky video taking by an audience member, but it shows the spontaneity, humor and outright fun Alex could create on stage.
Alex also taught extensively and participated in educational events, inspiring both student and professional violinists with his innovative musical mind. The video below is just one of many examples of his out-of-the-box thinking.
Please feel free to share your memories of Alex below.
Alex is survived by his wife, Aria Noelle Curzon DePue; his father, Wallace DePue; and his brothers Wallace Jr.; Jason and Zachary.
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