Violinist Alexandre Da Costa performs with the Vancouver Island Symphony.

Violinist Alexandre Da Costa performs with the Vancouver Island Symphony.

From prodigy to virtuoso

NANAIMO – Violinist Alexandre Da Costa performs with Vancouver Island Symphony

Alexandre Da Costa, 34-year-old violin virtuoso, Juno Award winner and guest artist with the Vancouver Island Symphony was en route to Ottawa from his hometown of Montreal to teach at the Gatineau Music Conservatory.

“Teaching is important for any performer,” said Da Costa. “Half my time is spent on the road. When I perform I have to move from city to city, like a gypsy going from one country to the other with my suitcase and music. Teaching is a way to be in one place, and to help students who are serious about their music.”

For Da Costa, music is serious. At the age of five he began his own musical journey and instruction. By nine he was performing with professional orchestras as a child prodigy.

“It was in my genes and environment,” said Da Costa. “Both my parents are artists. As a kid I just thought it was normal. I picked up the violin in the morning, practised for a couple of hours, went to school, practised piano, and later did my homework. I didn’t question it. I knew early on that music was not something I could do lightly – I had to be serious.”

At 18, Da Costa went to study in Spain.

“I was in Europe, but I love to be back home in Canada, with my family and friends.”

With more than 1,000 performances as a solo artist for orchestras around the world, Da Costa understands the life of the virtuoso.

“Being a soloist is a very difficult job, like an athlete, where you are always competing with the best to stay on top of the game. I chose this path and I am very happy for it and my achievements.”

When asked about other interests Da Costa said, “If you had asked me before, I would have said drinking good wine with friends, but now I realize I need to be outdoors.

“I always thought of myself as an urban guy, living in cities like Madrid and Vienna, but now in seeing my life as a Canadian I like to go and hike in the forest, to be in areas where nature is untouched, to disconnect from the fast life of the city.”

Like Da Costa, composer Jean Sibelius had similar sentiments. He wrote: “Nature is coming to life: that life which I so love, now and always, whose essence shall pervade everything which I compose.” It really is no coincidence that on his visit to beautiful Vancouver Island, Da Costa will be performing the stunningly beautiful and yet technically challenging Violin Concerto in D minor by Sibelius.

When it comes to conductors Da Costa said, “Pierre Simard is a very good friend. We don’t have to discuss our views; they are so much alike, about the quality and the high level.”

A high level is what the symphony will be reaching with Da Costa at centre stage before he continues on his journey as a global virtuoso.

Da Costa performs with the symphony in Paris – Romance on Saturday (Oct. 26) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $33-59. Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com. For more information on the Vancouver Island Symphony, please visit www.vancouver

islandsymphony.com.