Born in London, Sacha began studying the clarinet at the age of 9 at the Birmingham Conservatoire and in 2005, he received his Performance Diploma at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Ohio under Professor Richard Hawkins. Interested in the German school of clarinet playing, Sacha then moved to Berlin to study with Karl-Heinz Steffens at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music.
Sacha has become an established soloist since his highly praised 2009 solo debut at Berlin’s Philharmonie. Noted for his immense sensitivity, warm character and unique sound, his career has developed rapidly with performances throughout Europe, including festival appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Musikfest Stuttgart and Bremen Musikfest, and performances at many prestigious concert halls, such as Cadogan Hall, London, and Palau de la Musica, Valencia. In 2011, he made his Asian debut as soloist with the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra in the National Concert Hall, Taipei.
Sacha is also an avid chamber musician, having collaborated with artists such as Lars Vogt, Isabelle Faust, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Pascal Moragues and Gustavo Dudamel. He has had the pleasure to work closely with various composers, most recently with Nikolai Badinski, Marc Mellits and Kamran Ince, the latter two resulting in a reimagining of their works for clarinet and piano. He performs regularly in recital with duo partner Zeynep Özsuca and is a founding member of the ensemble Berlin Counterpoint, a wind and piano sextet that has been enjoying world-wide success.
Sacha also helped to create the organization Classical Revolution Berlin, an offspring of the Classical Revolution in San Francisco that is devoted to bringing chamber music to unusual locations such as bars, clubs and cafes.
What or who inspired you to become a professional musician?
I have been very fortunate to have grown up with a lot of fantastic musical role models. My father, of course, has been a huge source of inspiration for me, seeing him push forward his vision and ideals of music, while always leaving himself open enough to continue learning. He isn’t the only member of my family though who is an inspiring musician: my mother was a singer, always interested in contemporary music and finding new ways and sounds by which to express herself. My aunt is an incredible historical violinist and I have always looked up to her as someone who seeks the truth in the music that she plays. And of course I can’t forget my grandfather Rossi, who decided midway through his life that he wanted to be an ethnomusicologist and, travelling through India, devoted the rest of his life to it – but that’s a whole other story.
What’s on your playlist right now?
The wonderful Vivaldi Bassoon Concerti by Sergio Azzolini and almost any recording by the Zefiro Ensemble (especially their Telemann album) is fairly staple at this point. Otherwise a fairly big mixture of Jazz (Oscar Peterson, Brad Mehldau, Sidney Bechett), Salsa (Maraca, Joe Arroyo), and whatever else takes my fancy. Right now Radiohead and Beirut are taking up a fair amount of my listening time.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I used to be an avid swing dancer when I was living in America. In fact, I was teaching swing dance at my university, and there was a point where I was thinking about trying to teach dance more professionally. Living in Berlin, I haven’t done so much of it, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to pick it up again in London!