Alex Donner

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Alex Donner is an American band leader.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Donner was born in Athens, Greece where his parents, Joseph Donner and Pamela Cushing,[2] were stationed in the diplomatic service. Donner was educated at The Buckley School, Phillips Academy Andover, Paris-Sorbonne University, and Princeton University. While attending Princeton, he joined the Princeton Nassoons and formed his first band.[3] After graduation he worked as the singer/bandleader at the New York nightclub El Morocco.[4] After two years there he went to Fordham Law School. Donner gained experience in singing and band leadership while working under New York bandleader Lester Lanin.[5]


Upon graduation, Donner joined the law firm of Saxe, Bacon & Bolan. In the mid 1980s, he worked with divorces during the week as a lawyer and performed at weddings on the weekend with his band.[6] In 1988, he flew his orchestra to India to play the wedding of a Standard Oil heiress, whom he had represented in a previous divorce. The resultant publicity in Town and Country Magazine and on the popular television show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous then prompted Donner to return full-time to his first love, music.[7]

Since that time Donner has been a full-time band and orchestra leader, performing at weddings,[8] concerts, celebrity parties and dances.[5] He has entertained for the wedding of Tory Burch; President George H.W. Bush; George Soros; Donald Trump; Rudy Giuliani; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes; The Rockefeller family; Itzhak Pearlman; Kevin Klein; Lou Dobbs; Susan Lucci; Queen Noor of Jordan; the King and Queen of Sweden; the Cuomo family. Donner's cabaret show has had extended runs at both the Café Carlyle [9] and the Oak Room of the Algonquin.[10] His recordings have garnered Grammy entry nominations twice.

Donner and his musicians have performed with Liza Minnelli, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole and Jimmy Buffett, among others. Some of the venues around the United States that Alex and his band have performed at are: The Kennedy Center; many of the mansions in Newport, as well as the New York Botanical Garden. In Europe, they have played at the Palace of Versailles; Annabelle's in London; in Athens and Rome; The Guggenheim; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum; and in 2011 for the opening of the Ballyfin manor home and resort near Dublin. In 2014 he led the orchestra at the Winter Ball at The Plaza Hotel.[11] Studio 54 was also a client that Donner served as a lawyer and as a bandleader when they needed a live band.

His company, Alex Donner Entertainment, represents a number of performers and bands, from mariachis to jazz trios and wedding bands, in addition to the Alex Donner Orchestra.[5] As well as commercial work, the bands also perform at charity benefit concerts.[12][13] Donner has also served on the board, and is currently president, of a philanthropic foundation founded by his great grandfather, William H. Donner.


  1. ^ New York Media, LLC (3 June 1996). "New York Magazine". New York Media, LLC: 16–. ISSN 0028-7369.
  2. ^ "Princeton Alumni Weekly". 1950. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "The Princeton Nassoons - Home". Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  4. ^,4855839
  5. ^ a b c "MUSIC; Presenting the Latter-Day Lester Lanin" By COREY KILGANNON New York Times, May 29, 2005
  6. ^ Williams, Jesse Lynch; Norris, Edwin Mark (1986). "Princeton Alumni Weekly". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "The Wedding Singer | Wag Magazine Online". Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  8. ^ "Yo-Yo Ma’s daughter didn’t want him to play at her wedding". Page Six, By Emily Smith October 4, 2014
  9. ^ "Alex Donner Entertainment (New York, NY) - Wedding Bands". WeddingBook. Archived from the original on 2014-08-31. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  10. ^ Published: October 03, 1997 (1997-10-03). "Cabaret Guide - Page 2 - New York Times". Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  11. ^ "Winter dance is a ball for all". Mark Shanahan Boston Globe. December 24, 2014
  12. ^ "Southampton Animal Shelter's Unconditional Love Dinner Dance". The Hamptons
  13. ^ "Strike up the band". Palm Beach Daily News, Shannon Donnelly, Jan. 6, 2013.