Alex Timmerman’s interest in the guitar and mandolin started when he was in his early teens as a player of both instruments. Later, during his studies at the Music High school it quickly grew into a fascination and real research started with reading about- and locating old plucked instruments in museums and private collections. This soon led to the organisation of several mandolin and guitar exhibitions and later to a guest curator-ship at the Haags Gemeentemuseum (The Hague, Netherlands).
For one of these exhibitions Alex wrote the reference book ‘De Gitaar en de Mandoline door de eeuwen heen’ (1994) (translated: The guitar and the mandolin through the ages). It is because of the demand for this book that he noticed a World-wide growing interest in this subject. Nowadays, he is being consulted about nomenclature, historical backgrounds and valuations of plucked instruments by museum curators, auction specialists, private collectors and professional- as well as amateur mandolinists.
Alex Timmerman has given numerous lectures on the subject of plucked instruments at universities, music high schools, symposia and festivals at home and abroad. Interesting in this respect are the occasions like the lecture held during the third symposium of the European Guitar and Mandolin Association (EGMA) in Trossingen, Germany in 2004, for which he was invited to give a lecture titled ‘The Roman mandolin; its development and perfection by Luigi Embergher’. Another highlight was the lecture “La Chitarra, il suo itinerario attraverso la storia dal 1750 a oggi” by Timmerman during the VINCENTE ÁRIAS (1833 – 1914): COSTRUTTORE DI CHITARRE Symposium that took place from 30-09 to 02-10 in 2005 in Vicenza (Italy). In 2006 Alex Timmerman presented the latest results of his research on Austrian and Italian developments with regard to the guitar in Cremona (Italy) at the World famous MONDOMUSICA – Cremona Music Fair held from 6 tot 8 October. On the 4th of November Alex Timmerman was invited to speak at the Convention held in the honour of the 150th birthday of Luigi Embergher (Convegno di Studio e presentazione del Catalogo del Museo della Liuteria “EMBERGHER – CERRONE – 150° Anniversario della nascita del maestro liutaio arpinate Luigi Antonio Embergher). This time he spoke about the development of the mandolin through the ages focussed on the Roman luthiers active from the end of the 17th century up to those who contributed to the completion, like Giovanni Battista Maldura, Giovanni De Santis and Luigi Embergher, of the modern Roman Mandolin around 1900.
Several essays of his hand have been published in well-known international magazines of which here only will be named a selection: ‘Mandolina I Karasova Rimljanka’ (Karas’ woman with mandolin) in the Croatian magazine ‘Gitara’ of the Croatian dep. of the European Guitar Teachers Association (EGTA); the magazine ‘GuitART’ about Viennese bass-guitars; and last but not least the substantial contribution divided over six issues in the ‘Tabulatuur’, the magazine of the Dutch lute society on the subject of the development of the mandolin from 1600 and onwards.
After a lecture given in 2000 by Alex Timmerman at the International Musicological Symposium held in Zagreb and Varazdin, Croatia, he and the other speakers at the Symposium were asked to produce a written version of their lectures. For Timmerman this resulted in a substantial chapter of 93 pages and 80 photos, written in the English language, titled ‘Guitars with extra bass strings. Johann Georg Stauffer, his son Johann Anton Stauffer and their Contemporaries’ in the book Ivan Padovec (1800-1873) i njegovo doba / and his time, published in December 2006 by the Croatian Musicological Society in Zagreb. All chapters are related to Padovec and his time, and written by the following authors (complete list): Alessandro Boris Amisich (Padova); Nada Bezić (Zagreb); Zdravko Blažeković (New York); Gorana Doliner (Zagreb); Vedrana Juričić (Zagreb); Vjera Katalinić (Zagreb); Koraljka Kos (Zagreb); Sanja Majer-Bobetko (Zagreb); Snježana; Miklaušić-Ćeran (Zagreb); Alemka Orlić (Zagreb); Mirko Orlić (Zagreb); Rozina Palić-Jelavić (Zagreb); Ljerka Perči (Varaždin); Darko Petrinjak (Zagreb); Alex Timmerman (Zwolle) and Stanislav Tuksar (Zagreb).