Alexandre Da Costa
Sony Classical artist, Juno Award winner, and Longueuil Symphony’s Music Director and Chief Conductor, Alexandre Da Costa was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He showed an uncommon interest for both the violin and piano at a very early age.
By the age of 9, he had the astonishing ability to perform his first concerts with stunning virtuosity on both instruments, which brought him recognition as a musical prodigy. His chosen professional career as a violinist began very early and, after encouragement from Charles Dutoit, he was soon performing regularly as a soloist with orchestras as well as in recital.
At age 18, he obtained a Master’s degree in violin and a First Prize from the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec. Concurrently, he also obtained a Bachelor’s degree in piano interpretation from the University of Montreal. Subsequently, told he had to choose one instrument, he studied in Madrid at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia with a legendary violin teacher who became his mentor, Zakhar Bron (whose previous students famously include the likes of Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin). He later pursued post-graduate studies at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst of Vienna, Austria, with G. Schulz, C. Altenburger, and R. Honeck, and is currently completing a research PhD. Alexandre Da Costa has trained as a conductor in Austria and Germany with several colleagues and masters such as C. Schulz and J. Caballé-Domenech. Among the many other prizes that followed were the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award from the Canada Council for the Arts, and in 2003 the Council’s Musical Instrument Bank decided to go further and award him the “1689 Baumgartner Stradivarius.” In 2010, he received the prestigious Virginia-Parker Prize, one of Canada’s highest cultural distinctions.
Winner of many national and international first prizes, including the International Violin Competition Pablo Sarasate, Alexandre Da Costa has given close to 2,000 concerts and recitals throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. He has performed at the major halls of Vienna (Musikverein), Berlin (Philharmonie), New York (Carnegie Hall), Beijing (Poly-Theater), and beyond. He has played with, recorded as guest soloist, and conducted hundreds of different 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 many more. He recently conducted the Vienna Symphony (Wiener Symphoniker) and the Queen Sofia Chamber Orchestra in Madrid. Conductors he has played under include Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Leonard Slatkin, Lorin Maazel, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Tugan Sokhiev, Vasily Petrenko, Matthias Bamert, John Axelrod, Johannes Wildner, and Peter Oundjian. His live-performance broadcasts have aired on BBC, WestDeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), CBC, NPR, ORF, and many others. Da Costa has given world premieres of works by Elliott Carter, Michael Daugherty, Lorenzo Palomo, Paul Sarcich, Jean Lesage, and Airat Ichmouratov. Alexandre Da Costa is also active as a chamber musician and has recently recorded the complete Brahms sonatas, alongside pianist Wonny Song. Da Costa has performed with acclaimed chamber musicians such as Menahem Pressler, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Matt Haimowitz, and Hélène Mercier.
As a recording artist, he has recorded 25 CDs with Sony Classical, Warner Classics, JVC/Victor, Naxos, Acacia Classics/Universal, ATMA, XXI-21, PML, and Octave/Universal, among them the world-premiere recordings of the violin concertos by Portuguese composers Freitas Branco and 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 under Pedro Halffter for Warner Classics. The Washington Post selected his recording of the Beethoven concerto with Klezmer cadenzas by Ichmouratov as CD of the Year. He now records for Sony Classical. One of his latest releases, Stradivarius at the Opera, recorded with the Vienna Symphony, quickly attained the best-seller status and was converted into a multimedia concert booked around the world.
As a teacher and educator, Alexandre Da Costa gives master classes at various universities and conservatories around the world. Between 2014 and 2018, he held the position of Associate Professor and Head of Strings at the Edith Cowan University (Australia). Institutions he visited include the Sydney Conservatorium, the University of Toronto, and the Superior Conservatories of Montreal, Madrid, and Shanghai. He is presently Associate Professor and Head of International Music Development at DeTao Group (Shanghai, China). He also served as benchmarking consultant for the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and guest speaker for TEDx. As concertmaster, he regularly led orchestras such as the Wiener Symphoniker, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, and the Singapore Symphony, under conductors such as Philippe Jordan, Tugan Sokhiev, Günter Herbig, and Lorin Maazel. As an administrator, Alexandre Da Costa holds the positions of Artistic Director of the Stradivaria Festival, since 2012; President of StradEdgy Inc., since 2018; and Music Director of the Longueuil Symphony Orchestra, since 2019. Alexandre is also considered an expert in the field of rare violins, having analyzed and used more than 1,000 instruments of makers such as Stradivarius, Guarnerius del Gesù, Amati, etc. Alexandre Da Costa plays the “Deveault” Stradivarius of 1701, loaned by his friends Guy and Maryse Deveault.