Waldo Alexander, violin

Waldo Alexander has enjoyed a versatile and exciting career, both in the classical and contemporary fields of music.

In 2002 he became a founding member of the Sontonga Quartet, which toured extensively throughout Southern Africa, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, until the end of 2006. Aside from performing in most European capitals, the critically acclaimed string quartet gave concerts in venues ranging from the Bandshell in Central Park, the Lincoln Centre and Brooklyn Gardens in New York, to the Victoria Theatre in Singapore and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. The Sontonga Quartet received coaching from the St. Lawrence String Quartet and Henk Guittart [Schoenberg Quartet], and had masterclasses with composers Osvaldo Golijov and Terry Riley. The quartet collaborated with many prominent South African artists including William Kentridge and the Handspring Puppet Co., and composers Kevin Volans, Philip Miller and Paul Hanmer. They gave numerous premières as well as performances of works by African and South African composers, aiming to perform and expose their music to as broad an audience as possible, locally as well as abroad. These endeavours saw the Sontonga Quartet appearing in many unconventional venues, from factories and caves, to schools in underdeveloped regions, as well as townships. Waldo continues to work closely with South African composers, musicians, dancers and artists.

Waldo also extends his activities towards other musical genres, from jazz, pop and rock n’ roll, to punk, trance and hip hop. These explorations have lead to a number of collaborations with many of South Africa’s prominent artists and bands, including Jonny Clegg, Karen Zoid, Ramblin’ Bones, Vicky Sampson and Merseystate. Furthermore, he works closely with many emerging artists as a consultant and arranger. As a session musician, Waldo has participated in numerous projects, with the likes of award-winning recording engineers Peter Pearlson and JB Arthur, and features as a soloist on soundtracks to films such as the Bang Bang Club, Black Butterflies, and Zama Zama. He has also participated in performances at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Rocking the Daisies, and at the Johannesburg Stadium for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebration.

Waldo holds a BMus degree from the University of Cape Town, and his teachers have included Nicolette and Professor Alan Solomon, Professor Jürgen Schwietering and Professor Jack de Wet. He has received masterclasses from Wolfram Christ [former principal violist for the Berlin Philharmonic], violinists Philippe Graffin, Ivry Gitlis, and jazz maestro Tim Kliphuis.

Waldo plays a fine Italian violin, which is on generous loan from the Lindbergh Arts Foundation in Cape Town.

Waldo is endorsed by Sennheiser South Africa.