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Alexander Kouguell Oral History

Identifier: QMP-0004

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Kouguell talks about joining the music department at Queens College in 1949 as an instructor and as the first cellist at the department. He notes his appreciation for the musical talents and achievements of his parents and reminisces about how different and suburban Flushing was at the time when he was starting at Queens College.


  • 2018-05-20



This oral history is open for research. Media files and transcript can be viewed and/or requested through the Queens Memory Project on Aviary: For help using the site, contact

Conditions Governing Use

Interview shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Users are free to share or adapt the material for non-commercial purposes, as long as they meet the terms of the license. See license details at

Biographical / Historical

Alexander Kouguell was born in Russia, lived and studied in Beirut and Paris, and moved to New York in 1946. An accomplished cellist, he joined the music department at Queens College in 1949 as an instructor, taught there until 1990 when he retired, then returned until 2017 as an adjunct. He speaks English, Russian, French, and Arabic, and has travelled the world to perform. He holds the position of Professor Emeritus at Queens College and celebrated his 100th birthday on March 27, 2020 on a Zoom birthday party organized by friends, family, colleagues, and students during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Queens College has an informative profile about Kouguell’s life and achievements entitled Alexander Kouguell: Celebrating a “Long and Interesting Life” as a Cellist and Teacher.

And Prof. Edward Smaldone, a colleague at the music department, posted a video of the Zoom party when Kouguell celebrated his 100th birthday. A short clip is available here and the hour-long party is available here.


1 Digital Files ; Duration: 01:06:34

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to Queens College and Queens Public Library by Alexander Kouguell and Stefani Priskos in May, 2018.

Related Materials

The Queens College music department, where Alexander Kouguell worked for 68 years, is documented in the Aaron Copland School of Music Records .

In the interview, Kouguell mentions Leo Kraft, whose papers can be found in the collection entitled Leo Kraft Papers .

Processing Information

Oral history conducted as part of the Queens Memory Project (, a collaborative program of the Queens Public Library and Queens College to collect stories, images, and other evidence of life in the borough of Queens.


Alexander Kouguell Oral History
Patricia Reguyal
May 2020
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Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us