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John Aley and Martha’s Vineyard Musician,
Composer and Actor
John Aley was an iconic figure in motor sport history. As a former European Touring Car Champion, his list of accomplishments is extensive.
He is an accomplished musician and music educator with a background in jazz and classical music. Currently residing in New York City, he continues to make a living through his art.
Early Life and Education
John Aley was born in 1941 on Martha’s Vineyard and became a well-known figure throughout the Island. He served as town cemetery commissioner, master of West Tisbury Grange and caretaker for Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.
He had an avid interest in history and collected many books, newspapers and photographs of the island’s past. With such a vast archive, he could quickly and accurately locate any relevant historical data.
He was an accomplished trumpeter, performing with orchestras across America and abroad. As principal trumpet of the Madison Symphony, he has performed for orchestras such as Buffalo Philharmonic, St. Louis and Milwaukee symphonies, American Symphony and Brooklyn Philharmonic in New York; he was previously part of American Brass Quintet too. Additionally he currently teaches trumpet at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.
Former member of the American Brass Quintet, he has performed and/or recorded with Musica Sacra, American Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and American Composers’ Orchestra, PDQ Bach Orchestra and many more ensembles.
He has also served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, and in the summertime he works as an artist/teacher at Interlochen Arts Camp, Michigan.
John is a founding member of Virginia Department of Education’s I’m Determined Project and has served as its state director since 2007. Additionally, he is an accomplished trumpeter, having performed in numerous orchestras under Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland’s tutelage. John has a passion for student-directed IEP meetings and amplifying students’ voices at these discussions. With a doctorate degree in Special Education under his belt and certification as an educational leader, John is an advocate for those with disabilities.
Achievements and Honors
John Aley, professor of trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, has been performing throughout America and abroad for more than three decades.
He has performed with a wide variety of ensembles, such as the Buffalo Philharmonic, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Wichita and Stamford symphonies; plus he’s collaborated with notable artists like Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland.
He is a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and Yale Summer Music, as well as being an internationally acclaimed performer, clinician, and adjudicator for the International Trumpet Guild. Additionally, he founded both ABQ (Australia) and PDQ Bach ensembles as well as Wisconsin Brass Quintet.
John Alley dedicated his life to his family and island of West Tisbury. For over three decades, he served as justice of the peace, West Tisbury selectman, and county commissioner while simultaneously becoming a town historian and contributing columnist for The Vineyard Gazette.
He was married to Anna and had a son Sam. Survived by his wife, daughter Nicole (and her husband in North Attelboro), grandson and niece, he will be missed dearly.
John Alley and John Travolta formed an iconic bond both onscreen and off. The two stars together in the romantic comedy Look Who’s Talking, as well as its two sequels.
Alley was renowned for her roles as Rebecca Howe on Cheers and Mollie Ubriacco in Look Who’s Talking. Throughout her career, Alley earned a considerable amount of money.
She has also starred in films like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Summer School, for which she earned an Emmy Award nomination.
Kirstie Alley passed away on December 5, 2022 at 71 years of age due to cancer. Her children William True and Lillie Parker confirmed her passing via social media platforms.