In 1937 he was awarded an Associated Board scholarship to London’s Royal College of Music, where he studied with W. H. Reed and then Albert Sammons. His first engagement upon graduation was as leader of the Theatre Ensemble at Stratford-on-Avon, followed by an appointment to the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1946 he came back to New Zealand to play in the National Orchestra until 1963 when he returned to Europe during which time he held principal positions in the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestras.
When founding leader of the National Orchestra Vincent Aspey retired from that position in 1967 after twenty-one years, Alex Lindsay was appointed his successor.
He was a natural leader with a huge capacity for hard work, who exerted considerable influence throughout the musical community of NZ by fostering the talents of young people on the threshold of a career in professional orchestral music. It is in this spirit that the legacy of Alex Lindsay continues through the annual Alex Lindsay Award.