Alexandru-Mihai (Sascha) Bota
Professorial Staff - Viola
Newly appointed by the Oculi Ensemble and joining the professorial staff of Trinity Laban from September 2022, Sascha has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after viola players in London. Since relocating to the UK in 2017, Sascha has been in high demand as soloist, chamber musician and guest principal with symphony and chamber orchestras alike. He joined the Navarra String Quartet in 2018 and Britten Sinfonia in 2021 as co/and leader of the viola section.
Spring season 2022 featured Sascha as soloist in the Musikverein Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Printzregententheater in Munich and Konzerthaus Berlin along with partner Antoine Tamestit and the AKAMUS Berlin. As a chamber musician, the recording release of complete string chamber music of Edward Gregson on Naxos Label and international concerts with his Navarra Quartet as well as guesting principal with the London Philarmonic Orchestra and Orcherstra of the Age of Enlightenment will soon be followed by the release of the complete Schubert Trios on gut strings and a rich schedule touring with quartet, a Wigmore Hall recital and with many appearances with Britten Sinfonia.
Sascha has appeared as principal player of Aurora Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Academy of Ancient Music, English Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra and the Romanian Chamber Orchestra, a newly founded project very close to his heart in Romania. He enjoys the company of chamber music partners such as Anthony Marwood, Jonathan Stone, Katya Apekisheva, Adam Walker, RIchard Lester, Guy Johnston, Tim Posner at various festivals such as Adelburgh, Peasmarch or West Wicklow and their own quartet’s festival in Holland WCMF. Along with his quartet, Sascha has been the artistic director or the Weesp Chamber Music Festival going for last nine years near Amsterdam, curating eclectic programmes featuring guests such as Adam Walker, Aneleen Laenerts and Matt Hunt.
Both violinist Rainer Schmidt from Hagen Quartet and composer György Kurtag marked strong influences on his musical understanding and approach to music scores. He had since had the opportunity to play in chamber groups with musicians including Thomas Zehetmair, Benjamin Schmid, Leonidas Kavakos and the members of Hagen Quartet. As a member of Mozart Quartet Salzburg, he toured around Europe performing complete Mozart quartets.
As soloist, Sascha has often performed with the Philarmonic Banatul from Romania, recently the concert piece by Enescu in a unique arrangement with a symphony orchestra and coming up next season, a commissioned piece for viola and symphony orchestra by the Romanian composer Sabin Pautza. In the past years, notable soloist performances are the ones with Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra amongst others, in the Auditorio Nacional (Madrid), the Tonhalle (Zürich), the Kunst- und Kongresshaus (Luzern), the Sydney Opera House, and Melbourne Recital Centre.
In 2007 he won the audition for the Principal Viola of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Previously a member of Camerata Salzburg (2006-2012) with Roger Norrington and Leonidas Kavakos was followed by Sascha successfully auditioning for the Australian Chamber Orchestra where he 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 significant role in curating chamber music programs and education. During his collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sascha found an exceptional exemplary of a 1610 Gio Paolo Maggini viola which he used in concerts for two years, having to return it to the orchestra after relocating to the UK.
Sascha enjoys playing regularly in gut stringed ensembles, appearing as co-principal viola with Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Le Poeme Harmonique and the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin. He worked with conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, Louis Langrée, Sir Roger Norrington, Philippe Herreweghe and Rene Jacobs and is a founding member of Schubert String Trio London.
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. He loves to play with his father bassist Johnny Bota, guitarist James Kitchman and pianist Bruno Heinen and has appeared at jazz festivals in Europe as well as the EFG Jazz Festival in London with the J.Kitchman Quartet. Part of ACO Underground he appeared next to shout poet Marcie O’Neal, and shared stage with Giovanni Sollima and Jonny Greenwood.
Sascha plays on a labelled M.Albani viola 1639 made in Bolzano, a baroque Pawlikovski instrument and on an NS design 5 stringed electric viola with various pedals.
Image credit: Andrej Grilc