Sara Costa, pianist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Music was in my house from when I was a child. I had a piano because my dad played it as an amateur musician, and my mum took some violin lessons at school. Listening to music, not just classical but also Italian songs, pop, jazz etc., was natural from when I was a child. At the age of 8 I started to take some lessons from my father and from that moment my love bloomed, day after day.

So they were the biggest influences.

I also had incredible teachers: the Russian pianist and teacher Konstantin Bogino, who has been my mentor for many years and later the English (Russian-Polish origins) pianist and teacher Norma Fisher. They both gave me a deep sense of respect and Love for music and discipline, helping me to cultivate my imagination listening to my inner voice in the flow of music.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

I had a great memory of my first concert at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in London, for the Italian Embassy Series. The church has a magic acoustic and that day was literally full of people and I still remember the energy which came out from the audience during and at the end of my concert.

Speaking about concert halls and experiences, I have a clear memory of the concert at the Phoenix Hall in Osaka during a tour in Japan, and the China tour, with concerts at the Grand Theatre Concert Hall in Tianjn, Yangzhou Concert Hall and Harbin Concert Hall, among others.

Days full of music with stressful schedules…but worth it!

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I’m happy about the release of my first solo CD, for Da Vinci Classics label, in 2020.

The title is ‘Correspondences’ and it’s dedicated to Clara and Robert Schumann, a couple in life and music, who have fascinated me since I was a student. In the album I focus on correspondences in music between the two composers, trying to let them speak for themselves, telling us the story of their love. The album has got some good reviews and has won the Global Music Award in California, so I’m happy about it!

Another album which I’m proud of is the one I recorded with my partner in life and music, the pianist Fabiano Casanova, dedicated to Russian music for piano four hands, also for Da Vinci Classics.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I feel a special affection for Schumann and Brahms, and for Russian composers Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Medtner. I love their music and I feel more “confident” playing them. I also like playing intimate pieces, where I can search for many different sounds and atmospheres.

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

Everything you experience in life goes into your music and your interpretations. Reading books, going to the theatre, travelling, talking to friends, listening to them, seeing a movie, walking, experiencing love and sorrow….all of that ends up in what you play.

When preparing a concert programme, I always read about the composer, the piece, I search for some anecdotes which can help me to enter in the new world and be conscious of what I’m going to play. And from the knowledge of the musical score, of the context of the composition, you can feel what the music tells you, how the music speaks to your soul, which vibrations are there for you in that moment of your life. That’s also what I teach to my students daily. I am also a yoga lover and recently I’ve started a course to become a Mindfulness Educator: to be present in your present moment is extremely important, both in everyday life and music.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Choosing a programme is an interesting process: often it follows recording projects, often I build a concert around a theme, looking for connections also among composers of different styles. This kind of programme is very interesting for the audience, people feel to be guided in a musical journey and it can be emotionally intense.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

Actually I don’t have a favourite venue… I try to feel “at home” wherever I play and to regard each stage as special. Of course the atmosphere is really important: silence, a good instrument, balanced lighting.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences?

As a teacher, I think the difference can be to educate children in the beauty of music from early age. Guide them to know the world of classical music exactly as all the others they know at school: listening to music, going to live concerts, experiencing a rehearsal, enjoying discovering the instruments and their sounds. So education is crucial. I have a cultural association, “Associazione Culturale Cluster” and every year (before the pandemic tragedy) we proposed educational projects for schools as well as a concert season in historical buildings in small villages, with the aim to promote music as well as cultural heritage. I think younger musicians should be more active in this sense: we can make a difference!

What is your most memorable concert experience?

The concert at Quirinale Palace in Italy, which was live for national radio with an interview about me before the concert. It was emotional and beautiful playing in such an important venue in Italy.

I also remember the first time I played the Rachmaninov’s second Piano Concerto with an orchestra: such strong emotions!!!!!

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

After a performance I am happy if I feel I had a very special connection with the public.

Success is to continue to do what I love and also to have opportunities to express my love for music for a long time. Success is also to speak to people’s souls through my playing.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Music gives hope for the beauty, gives everybody the possibility to speak and understand the same universal language. Starting from this, it’s important to teach a sense of respect and discipline which are important, but not enough without an emotional content. To respect your personality through the music is fundamental too, without being afraid of the judgment of others.

Be able to be yourself and just yourself with all your values and imperfections. In this way you will be unique.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A full life.

What is your present state of mind?

I am grateful for every person in my life and for everything I have.

I am really full of hope for our future, hope to be out of this pandemic nightmare soon.

What is your most treasured possession?

Love for life

My piano

Love for my man, family, friends, students

With flair and passion, Italian pianist Sara Costa plays on international stages as a soloist and chamber musician.

Her vast repertoire spans from Bach to Kurtag, with particular attention to contemporary Italian composers. In Italy she is a regular guest artist in the main festivals and concert institutions of the country. Abroad, Sara has performed in Europe, China, Japan and Israel.

Sara’s charismatic musicianship and devotion for chamber music has created numerous human and artistic collaborations across the globe with artists such as P.Vernikov, I.Volochine, A.Zemtsov, J.Ocic and members of Berliner Philarmoniker.

She is Da Vinci Classics and Brilliant Classics artist.

Her interest for synaesthetic experiences in music led Sara to found an association, together with other friends, with the aim to promote music and collaboration among arts. Associazione Cluster also promotes talented young artists, giving them the opportunity to perform.

Sara is also a beloved and passionate teacher.

Her love for sharing emotions and experiences have established Sara among the finest and versatile Italian concert pianists.

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