Fabio Costa (São Paulo, 1971) started out in music self-taught at age 9 on the piano and composing; he became a professional Oboist, studied conducting at the Vienna music academy, having gained a wide experience on the podium (USA, Brazil) and as a collaborative pianist (Germany). In his main focus, compostion, he is a laureate of important competitions and is involved with international collaborations in the field of harmonic microtonality.
His early interest in composition led him to a prolific repertoire but also prizes: he is the winner of the 2008 Claudio Santoro competition of the Brazilian Music Academy (ABM) – with the choral cantata “Psalms for the Earth”, which already employed expanded 19-limit harmony; his "Prelude for Orchestra" received its first performance under his baton in 2009; he is a prizewinner of the 2011 Brazilian Biennale of Contemporary Music (FUNARTE) with “In Four Dimmensions” for symphony orchestra. His venturing into the 31-tone equal temperament led to repeated collaborations with the Huygens-Fokker Foundation: his "Aphoristic Madrigal" for SATB Soli and Fokker-Organ was premiered 2015 in the Muziekgebow an 't Ij in Amsterdam with him conducting; in 2017 "„...and while there he sighs…“.was commissioned and performed there.
His musical research is devoted both to theoretical aspects of harmonic microtonality – such as tuning systems, equal temperaments, their enharmonic possibilities and staff notation – and to microtonal performance practice, electronically with the use of isomorphic/generalized keyboards and most recently, performing on the EWI (electronic wind instrument): "Short Piece in 72-ED2". A special area of interest goes into investigating the related phenomena of difference tones and the so-called arithmetic frequency sequences (AFS) which shed a new light on harmony; this led to his electronic work "Etude on Difference Tones: Minor Thirds" (2022).
Costa worked (2020-21) as a collaborative pianist for oboe at the Universität der Künste (UdK) in Berlin, as well as in the vocal department (2016-2021) of the Music College in Leipzig (HMT), where he also coached and conducted opera studio productions: "Postcard form Morocco“ (Argento) 2018, "Le Portrait de Manon“ (Massenet) 2019, „Klassische Moderne“ with the 4 chamber operas: "Hin und Zurück“ (Hindemith), "Schwergewicht…“ (Krenek) "Fürwahr“ and "Witwe von Ephesus“ (K. A. Hartmann) 2020; further complete coaching there included: "Kommilitonen“ (Peter M. Davies), "Ende einer Zeit“ and "Der Landartzt“ (H.W.Henze), "La Verità in Cimento“ (Vivaldi) and "Turandot“ (Puccini+contemporary works). From 2016 to 2018 Costa acted as a pianist in the voice department of the UdK in Berlin, where he coached and accompanied "La voix Humaine“ (Poulenc), "Angelique“ (Ibert), "L’heure Espagnole“ (Ravel) and coached "Angels in America” (Eötvös). Active since 2016 in the area of chanson, Costa has been collaborating on stage with various singers as well as pedagogically with renowned chansonière Gina Pietsch and regisseur Peter Wittig (VHS Lichtenberg, VHS Neukölln, Babelsberg Film-Universität).
Costa established and managed (2011-2013)a successful music enterprise in São Paulo, with which he appeared on keyboard with over 400 own arrangements in various chamber formations.
As the associate conductor (2008-2009) with the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais – which he helped establish as one of Brazil’s “majors” – Costa conducted over 60 performances for an audience of over 80.000 in symphony gala, opera, family and didactic performances, including some 30 outreach and open-air concerts.
Costa appeareed as a guest-conductor with a number of Brazilian orchestras: Paraná Symphony, Ribeirão Preto Symphony, São Paulo Radio-Symphony (Sinfonia Cultura), São Paulo University Symphony (OSUSP), Orquestra Petrobrás Sinfônica, Orquestra Experimental de Repertorio (São Paulo academic orchestra), São Paulo State Youth Orchestra further in South America with the Mendoza Symphony (Orquesta UnCuyo, Argentina), Frutillar Festival at the Teatro del Lago, Chile.
Costa conducted successful opera productions in theaters such as the Amazonas Opera House (Manaus Opera Festival, 2007) with „Fosca“ (Gomes) where he also coached "Gianni Schicchi“ (Puccini), "La Gioconda“ (Ponchieli), "Otello“ (Verdi) and "Werther“ (Massenet); Costa conducted the 2009 production of "Macbeth“ (Verdi) at the Palácio das Artes (Belo Horizonte).
In 2000 Costa was selected from over 60 candidates for the joint position of Associate Conductor with the Spokane Symphony and Director of Orchestras at Eastern Washington University (USA) until 2003, during which he conducted more than 70 performances between symphony, “pops”, famly and didactic concerts in a broad range of musical styles with an audience of about 70.000. Costa served as the associate conductor of the Ribeirão Preto Symphony (Brazil) in the 1999-2000 season with over 25 concert performances.
Fabio Costa studied orchestral conducting in addition to opera coaching (Korrepetition) at the Vienna Music Academy (mdw) from 1996 to 1999 with a scholarship of the Brazilian department of education (CAPES); he was coached by Kurt Masur at masterclasses with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (2003, 2001); he participated (2006) at the Academia Chigiana (Siena, Italy) under guidance of Gianluigi Gelmetti; in 2001, he took part in the National Conducting Institute with the National Symphony Orchestra, with mentoring from Leonard Slatkin.
In 1997, Costa was personally accepted by Claudio Abbado in a special status to follow his musical activites during the entire Salzburger Festspiele (Salzburg Festival) of that year, where he also attended concerts and rehearsals by conductors such as John Elliot Gardiner, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Berhard Haitink, Christoph von Dohnány - a particularly impregnating formative experience.
He held the position of principal oboe with the OER Orchestra in São Paulo from 1990 to 1995; during this time, he performed as a soloist (Mozart & Strauss oboe concertos) and in chamber music; he has a bachelor degree in oboe performance (FASM, São Paulo, 1994), and specialized at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Buapest 1995/96 with a scholarship of the VITAE-Stiftung foundation.
During his studies in Vienna, Costa performed as a singer in some of that city’s best choirs: Wiener Singverein, Schoenberg Chor, Concentus Vocalis Wien and Wiener Kammerchor; he played the viola orchestrally (1998-2000) and recently (2018-2020) as a hobby brass-player in ensembles such as Sibelius Orchestra, Windwerk Berlin (french horn) or Berlin Concert Brass (baritone, cornet)
Fabio Costa holds a (latu-sensu) MBA in Business Management from the renowned FGV Foundation, Brazil (2005); he is the proud papa of Natan (born 2012), residing in Berlin, Germany.
www.fabiocosta.info updated: January 2023