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Sequeira Costa (Piano)

Born: July 18, 1929, Luanda, Angola

The Portuguese pianist, Sequeira Costa, showed exceptional musical talent ss a child. When he was 8 years old, he moved to Lisbon to become the protege of José Vianna da Motta who was one of the last pupils of Franz Liszt (and also a pupil of Hans von Bülow). Following José Vianna da Motta's death in 1948, Costa continued his studies in London under another former student of F. Liszt, Mark Hambourg. Costa also worked with Marguerite Long and Jacques Fevrier in Paris and Edwin Fischer in Lucerne, Switzerland. Under these teachers, Costa was immersed in both the German and French schools of pianism. In his performing career, Costa has drawn upon his understanding of both traditions to develop his personal style of musical interpretation.

At the age of 22, Sequeira Costa launched his international career by winning the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long International Piano Competition. He also won the Beethoven Medal in London from Harriet Cohen. In 1957, he founded the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon. In 1958, at age 28, Dmitri Shostakovich invited Costa to sit on the jury of the first inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, to which he returned six times. Sequeira Costa is the last survivor of that competition. Today, Costa continues to regularly appear on the panels of some of the world's most prestigious music competitions, such as the Chopin, Leeds, Marguerite Long, MontrÈal and Rubinstein, as well as the Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon. He has also delivered numerous master-classes.

Sequeira Costa has received international acclaim for concert appearances throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Russia, South America, the Far East and mainland China as well as the USA. Throughout his distinguished career, he has performed at the greatest halls around the world, including the Salle Gaveau and Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Tokyo's Suntori Hall, St. Petersburg's Philharmonic Hall, the Vienna Musikverein, New York's Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the famous halls of London, among many others. He has performed as a soloist at music festivals in Iran, France, Yugoslavia and at the Bath Festival.

Sequeira Costa has played with such orchestras as all BBC Orchestras, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Symphony, Bamberger Symphoniker, Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors with whom Sequeira Costa has worked include Paul Kletzki, Joseph Keilberth, Tibor Pesek, Maxim Shostakovich, David Zinman, Christopher Seaman, Dmitri Kitaenko, Eduardo Mata, Rudolf Barshai, Walter Hendl, Jean Martinon, Jorda, and Kurts. He has partnered with such fellow artists as Itzhak Perlman, Henryk Szeryng, Elmar Oliveira, Igor Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, Szymon Goldberg, Janos Starker, Tibor Varga, Maxim Amphiteatroff, Edwin Fischer, and Artur Pizarro.

During the 1979-1980 season, Sequeira Costa performed his debut concert at New York's Alice Tully Hall. In the summer of 1980, he was invited to tour as piano soloist with the Gulbenkian Orchestra when the orchestra performed a series of concerts throughout the Far East and mainland China. In February 1981, he performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York. In June 2005, he played in Washington DC for the Embassy Series. He went to Moscow to sit as a judge at the first Sviatoslav Richter competition in June. In October 2006 he made a tour of Japan. Additionally, he performed S. Rachmaninov Concertos in Lisbon with the Gulbenkian Orchestra.

Since 1976, Sequeira Costa has held the position of Cordelia Brown Murphy Distinguished Professor of Piano on the faculty of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Kansas, USA. Several of his students are prizewinners at international competitions, including Artur Pizarro, his student for 16 years, who won first prize gold medals at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in 1987, the Palm Beach Invitational in 1988, and the Harveys-Leeds in 1990 and now enjoys an international career and reputation himself.

In a career spanning five decades, Sequeira Costa has developed his own musical interpretation from an understanding of the German and French schools. He is especially admired for his interpretations of the Romantic repertoire. His extensive discography includes the solo piano music of Ravel, Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Albeniz, Bach-Busoni, José Vianna da Motta, Sergei Rachmaninov and a CD on the Camerata label dedicated to a selection of 23 encores, entitled 'A Musical Snuffbox'. He has also recorded the complete works for piano and orchestra of Robert Schumann, S. Rachmaninov and F. Chopin. In 2006 Sequeira completed the final recording of the complete sonatas of L.v. Beethoven. Recent releases include the works of José Vianna da Motta (Marco Polo), and two-piano music by Spanish composers recorded with Artur Pizarro (Collins Classics).

Source: Vienna da Motta International Music Foundation; Wikipedia Website; Park University Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2007)

Sequeira Costa: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Sequeira Costa (Vienna da Motta)
Sequeira Costa - biografia (Gulbenkian) [Portuguese]
The Department of Music & Dance - University of Kansas: Sequeira Costa
Grand Piano Festivalk - Sequeira Costa (Park University)

Sequeira Costa (Wikipedia)
Sequeira Costa (Naxos)
Music: Sequeira Costa, Portuguese Pianist, Plays (NY Times)

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