A graduate of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Alan studied with the Hungarian pianist Bela Simandi and received the award for the most outstanding student in his final year. Further study followed with internationally renowned pianists including Karl Ulrich Schnabel. Although principally a pianist, Alan also studied violoncello and singing and trained as a conductor under the tutelage of David Lumsden. Much in demand as a chamber musician, he has played with many of the country's leading instrumentalists. His duet partnership with fellow pianist Peter Lawson resulted in two recordings, both of which were received with critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. He has premiered several works including Malcolm Arnold's Suite Bourgeoise for Piano Trio, an orchestration of John Field's Rondo in A flat for Piano and String Orchestra by Philip Lane and David Earl's Sonata for Viola and Piano, which received its first performance at Cheltenham International Music Festival.

​Alan was Head of keyboard Studies at The Cheltenham Ladies' College for more than twenty years, where many of his piano students and chamber ensembles won awards at national level. In 2008 he turned freelance and joined the British and International Federation of Festivals as an adjudicator, visiting all corners of the UK and travelling to Sri lanka and Hong Kong. He is a skilled communicator and accepts invitations to play, speak and adjudicate at a wide range of events.