Sony Classical artist and winner of a 2012 Juno Award, Alexandre Da Costa was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Showing an uncommon interest for both the violin and piano at a very young age, he performing his first concerts on both instruments at age nine which brought him recognition as a musical prodigy. Among his many accolades, Da Costa counts the prestigious Virginia-Parker Prize, one of Canada’s highest cultural distinctions, the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award from the Canada Council for the Arts, which subsequently selected him for the “1689 Baumgartner Stradivarius” on which to perform.
Obtaining a Master’s Degree in violin and a First Prize from the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec at age 18, followed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano from the University of Montreal, after encouragement from Charles Dutoit, Da Costa finally chose the violin for his professional career. Studies at Madrid’s Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia with the legendary violin teacher who became his mentor, Zakhar Bron (whose previous students famously include the likes of Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin) were followed by post-graduate studies at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst of Vienna, Austria, with G. Schulz, C. Altenburger and R. Honeck.
Winner of many national and international first prizes, including the International Violin Competition Pablo Sarasate, Alexandre Da Costa has given over two thousand concerts and recitals throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, performing in the major halls of Vienna (Musikverein), Berlin (Philharmonie), New York (Carnegie Hall), Beijing (Poly-Theater) and beyond. He has played and recorded as guest soloist with the world’s leading orchestras including London’s Royal Philharmonic, the Vienna, Berlin, Montreal and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, the Dresden, Bergen, Buffalo and Prague Philharmonic Orchestras, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the National TV and Radio Orchestra of Spain, the YOA Orchestra of the Americas and more. Conductors he has played under include Lorin Maazel, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Keri-Lyn Wilson, Asher Fisch, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Leonard Slatkin, Vasily Petrenko, Matthias Bamert, Alondra de la Parra, Johannes Wildner and Josep Caballé-Domenech.
Da Costa has given world premieres of works by Elliott Carter, Michael Daugherty (for which he won the 2012 JUNO award), Lorenzo Palomo, Paul Sarcich, Jean Lesage and Airat Ichmouratov.
Da Costa is also active as a chamber musician, performing alongside acclaimed chamber musicians such as Menahem Pressler, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Matt Haimowitz and Hélène Mercier. His live performance broadcasts have aired on the BBC, WestDeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), CBC, NPR, ORF, ABC Classic FM and more.
2018 engagements include as soloist with the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra (Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, cond. Josep Caballé-Domenech), Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (Mozart concerto no.5, cond. Keri-Lynn Wilson), West Australian Symphony Orchestra (Kreisler, cond. Asher Fisch), and the Toronto Sinfonia. He continues extensive North American tours of ‘Stradivarius at the Opera’, collaborates with cellist Denis Brott, Canadian chanteur Bruno Pelletier, performs and gives masterclasses at Royal Northern College of Music (UK), and tours Australia for Selby & Friends, with pianist Katherine Selby and cellist Umberto Clerici. In 2019 Da Costa returns for concerts at City Recital Hall Angel Place, as soloist with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, and in Melbourne, in addition to soloist and recital performances in North America and the release of a new recording for Sony Classical.
2017 engagements included as soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (with Mo. Harth-Bedoya), Philharmonie Sudwestfalen (Bruch, with Mo. Charles Olivieri-Munroe) for the Vienna Simfoniker’s New Year’s concerts (cond. Philippe Jordan), for the Opening Gala of Canberra International Music Festival, Musica Viva Australia at Melbourne Recital Centre and Huntington Estate Music Festival, Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and recitals in Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, and Perth for Music on the Terrace and WAAPA, along with masterclasses at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Toronto, Superior Conservatories of Montreal, Madrid and Shanghai and more. He toured extensively in Canada and North America with his show ‘Stradivarius at the Opera’ for Spectra and Jacques Primeau Productions, for his eponymous album for SONY, recorded with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Other recent engagements include the Seville Royal Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, Staatskapelle Halle, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival; touring to Japan and Singapore as soloist with the West Australian Youth Orchestra, Perth International Jazz Festival, TedX Perth, and Fremantle Festival.
As a recording artist, Da Costa has made 25 albums with Sony Classical, Warner Classics, JVC/Victor, Naxos, Acacia Classics/Universal, ATMA, XXI-21 and Octave/Universal, among them the world premiere recordings of the Violin Concertos by Portuguese composers Luis de Freitas Branco and Armando José Fernandes. In 2012, he won the JUNO award for “Classical Album of the Year” for his recording of the concertos by American composer Michael Daugherty, with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Pedro Halffter for Warner Classics. The Washington Post selected his recording of the Beethoven concerto with Klezmer cadenzas by A. Ichmouratov as one the ‘Best CDs of the Year’ in 2013. SONY Classical releases Da Costa’s new recording of works by Richard and Siegfried Wagner with Staatskapelle Halle and conductor Josep Caballé- Domenech in 2019.
Da Costa is Artistic Director of the Laurentians Classical Festival of Canada, Music Director of both the Acacia Ensemble (Canada) and the Indian Ocean Ensemble (Australia). He also regularly performs as guest soloist and conductor (directing from the violin) with ensembles such as the Vienna Symphony (Wiener Symphoniker), the Queen Sofia Royal Chamber Orchestra, and the Virtuosos of Venezuela Symphony Orchestra.
Formerly Associate Professor and Head of Strings at Edith Cowan University (WAAPA) in Perth, Australia from 2014-2018, he regularly gives masterclasses at universities and conservatories around the world.
Da Costa plays the ‘Deveault’ Stradivarius of 1701, loaned by his friends Guy and Maryse Deveault.
For more information, please visit alexandredacosta.com
Upcoming performances: Sunday 11 September, the three Brahms sonatas for violin and piano at Perth’s Government House; Saturday 24 September, soloist with West Australian Youth Orchestra ahead of their December 2016 tour to Japan and Singapore.
- “Da Costa, with a clear, ringing tone and pure intonation, has excellent qualifications for this concerto... These are polished performances” (Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, op.61)Gramophone Magazine, January 2014Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Wildner
- “Solo star of the evening was French-Canadian violin virtuoso Alexandre Da Costa… fine bowing technique… impeccable feeling for style...Da Costa was beyond reproach”The West Australian, 2016
- “A great artist that I appreciate and strongly support, violinist Alexandre Da Costa."Rafael Frühbeck de BurgosMusical America Artist of the Year 2010
- "31 years-old violinist Alexandre Da Costa, who made his studies with Zakhar Bron in Madrid, plays the solo part with so much sensitivity that we soon forget how unusual this version is. In the very famous [Bruch violin] concerto in G minor, Da Costa shows all his qualities even more: irreproachable technique, sensitivity and temperament."Neue Zürcher ZeitungOrchestre Symphonique Bienne, cond. Thomas Rösner
- “Alexandre da Costa shines [in Bruch's Kol Nidrei] as the soloist, and also in the violin concerto, navigating the trickier sections with ease and producing a ravishing tone in the slow movement."Musical OpinionOrchestre Symphonique Bienne, cond. Thomas Rösner
- "What a violinist, beauty of sound, fastest fingers I have heard yet, the good taste to play different styles and great humor. Chapeau!"Leon Spierer Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, 1963-1993
- "Da Costa was remarkably versatile, both in the lyrical as well as the more bravura passages. He takes his time developing the music, providing plenty of color as well as a deep sense of melancholy... Da Costa’s rendition is thoroughly Spanish, filled with strong emotions and high drama."Classical CandorLalo Symphonie Espagnole (CD review)