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Sub-Principal Viola

A man playing the viola

Alexandru-Mihai (Sascha) was born in Timisoara, Romania into a family of musicians.

Playing both modern and baroque viola, his career as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestral player has taken him all around the world. He has recently relocated to London after spending 5 years in Sydney as a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Rainer Schmidt from Hagen Quartet and composer György Kurtag have been strong influences on his musical understanding and approach to scores. He has since had the opportunity to play in chamber groups with musicians including Thomas Zehetmair, Benjamin Schmid, Leonidas Kavakos and principal players of the Berliner Philarmonie, the Doric Quartet and the Hagen Quartet. As a member of Mozart Quartet Salzburg he toured around Europe performing complete Mozart quartets alongside music by Mozart’s contemporaries.

Sascha began his musical studies at the age of 5 first on violin and then viola, winning first prize for 5 consecutive years at the Romanian Youth Music Competition. He won a full scholarship to study with Gérard Caussé at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid and then continued his studies with Thomas Riebl at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg, completing his master’s degree in Solo Viola cum laudae in 2008. In 2010 he went on to a post graduate quartet course in Basel with Walter Levin from the LaSalle Quartet.

Sascha began his experience as an orchestral musician in the European Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in Stade-Hamburg. He became a member of Camerata Salzburg in 2007 and has often played as principal viola, including on several international tours with conductors such as Sir Roger Norrington and Leonidas Kavakos. In 2007 he won the audition for the Solo Viola of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Sascha was also associate principal viola with Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, working with conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, Louis Langrée, Sir Roger Norington, Philippe Herreweghe, Kent Nagano, Ingo Metzmacher, Heinz Holliger and Dennis Russell Davies.

In 2012 Sascha successfully auditioned for the Australian Chamber Orchestra and was appointed as a core member shortly after. He played as co-principal viola from 2012-2015 and acting principal viola 2015-2017 and had a major role in curating chamber music programmes and education projects.

Sascha has performed all around Europe, Asia, America and Australia, playing concerts regularly in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, the Musikverein, Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Festivals he has played at include Salzburger Mozartwoche, Salzburger Festspiele, Salzburg Dialoge, Klanguspuren Schwaz, Festival Aix-en-Provence, Encuentro de Música de Santander, Festival Mitte Europa, Maribor Festival, Tanglewood, and the International Viola Congress in Würzburg with Thomas Riebl.

As a soloist, Sascha has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Banatul amongst others, in venues around Europe and Australia including Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Spain, the Tonhalle Zürich, the Kunst- und Kongresshaus Luzern, the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre.

Since relocating to London in 2017, Sascha has been playing as guest principal with a number of orchestras, including the Aurora Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Academy of Ancient Music, English Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra as well as chamber music with theprincipals of LSO and St Martin-in-the-Fields orchestra.

In addition to his activities as a classical musician, Sascha is dedicated to jazz and other forms of improvised music and regularly appears at jazz concerts and festivals.

Sascha plays on a Brescian copy English viola from 1830, a Hill & Sons modern bow 1910 and a J Dodd classical bow from 1820. His baroque viola is made by Jan Pawlikowsky.