Alfred, a Niagara Falls New York native, at the age of five began violin lessons, changing to piano the same year, taking lessons from his grandfather Maestro Giuseppi Russo. He later came under the tutelage of Dr. Edward D’Anna, a prominent local musician and conductor, and also a Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame Inductee. At the age of 14, Alfred enrolled in the New York School of Music and Arts. There he studied composition, violin and studied piano under Arthur Friedheim, a student of the world renowned composer and piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt. When he was 17, Alfred traveled alone to Rome, Italy and studied four years at the Roman Royal Academy of Music, graduating with high honors. He was an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Academy of Rome. He married and returned to Niagara Falls during the Depression, and then became a member of the WPA Federal Music Project Orchestra, later becoming the conductor. The WPA Federal Music Project was a created under President FDR’s New Deal program to raise employment opportunities for musicians, singers and actors during the Depression Era. Throughout the 30’s thru the 60’s, Alfred was the ‘go-to’ accompanist for any major musician or vocalist performing within Niagara County. In the late 30’s he began teaching piano lessons, either at his home or traveling to the home of a local student. Eventually, he purchased a large home on Fourth Street and turned rooms into piano or organ studios. Alfred was devoted to the education of piano and organ students. He became active within the International Piano Teachers Association and for a time in the late 40’s and early 50’s, he was vice president of the Western New York Chapter. Several satellite branch locations of DiRocco Music School began to open with teachers throughout Niagara and Erie Counties. Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame Inductee April Stevens was a student of Alfred DiRocco.
It is with great pleasure to honor and welcome Alfred DiRocco as a Legacy Inductee of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame Class of 2021.