Alan Roger Mandel is an important American pianist, especially known for his performances of nineteenth-century American music and rags.
He began taking piano lessons when he was three years old, and stayed with his first teacher, Heidi Spielter, until he was seventeen. After an auspicious debut at New York's Town Hall in 1948, he entered the Juilliard School of Music in New York in 1953, where he studied with Rhose Lhévinne; he graduated in 1956, earned his master's degree in 1957, and then studied privately with Leonard Shure until 1960.
He traveled to Europe on a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg; there, he studied composition with Hans Werner Henze, then went to the Accademia Monteverdi in Bolzano, obtaining his diploma in 1963.
Mandel's concert career that has taken him to forty-eight countries. His recitals are noted for inclusion of American music, especially the music of Charles Ives and Louis Moreau Gottschalk. He was one of the first pianists to treat the compositions as Scott Joplin and other ragtime works as a form of classical music worthy of appearing as recital programs alongside, for instance, waltzes of Chopin.
Mandel has made numerous recordings and is noted for his volumes of the complete piano music of Ives' and forty works of Gottschalk. He has also recorded the complete piano sonatas of American composer Elie Siegmeister.
From 1963 to 1966, Mandel was on the faculty of Pennsylvania State University, then joined the American University in Washington, D.C. as head of the piano faculty. He is now Chairman of the School of Music. He is also co-founder and artistic director of the Washington Music Ensemble. He has also composed several works, including a Piano Concerto.