Interview with first violinist Alexandra Bons

"What I also really like is the sense of connection between orchestra, our audience and the city of The Hague."

- Alexandra Bons

Russian-born violinist Alexandra (call sign: Sasha) Bons became a proud member of our orchestra in 2015. Originally playing in the second violins, she recently successfully auditioned for a spot in the first violin group. Why did she want to make that switch? And what once brought her from faraway Russia to the Netherlands? Sasha is happy to tell you her story.

 "I was born in 1984 in Stavropol, a small town in southern Russia. However, we soon moved to Rostov-on-Don, a very large city. I have no siblings. My parents are both conductors, and they play various instruments. When I was about five years old, my mother often took me to orchestra rehearsals. Apparently I found the violins there interesting, because I reportedly said then that I wanted to play the violin."


"Several years later, when I wanted to take my violin studies seriously, there was a big economic crisis in Russia as a result of Perestroika. My parents no longer had work as conductors; they were trying to make some money in other ways. In the 1990s, the great German violinist and pedagogue Wolfgang Marschner came to Russia from time to time to scout talent. From him I received some lessons in Moscow, and also in Freiburg, Germany, for which I received a scholarship. Gradually I spent more time there than in Russia, where my parents continued to live."

To the Netherlands

"In 2002, I was 18, I wanted to study full-time with Marschner at the Hochschule, but just at that time he retired. I was alone in Germany and just had to figure out for myself what I was going to do. I found that quite a difficult time. Through the grapevine I went to Rotterdam to study at the conservatory with Natalia Morosowa. I did my bachelor with her. After that I did my master in Amsterdam with Johannes Leertouwer, a very interesting musician and pedagogue. I was very charmed by his way of teaching. He encouraged me to take lessons from others as well. For example, when I studied a sonata by Ysaye, Johannes would send me to Ilya Grubert. For Paganini I could go to Peter Brunt, for Mozart and Beethoven to Johannes himself. They were instructive years!"

Residentie Orkest

"In 2005, still during my master's studies, I won an audition with the Radio Chamber Orchestra. Shortly after, I was told that the orchestra would be disbanded due to budget cuts, and my appointment could not continue. After my master's exam in 2008, I still wanted a job in an orchestra, but because of the cutbacks in culture, there were hardly any vacancies. So I decided to continue my studies in Berlin. Just before those studies began, I won an audition for second violin with the Residentie Orkest, a high-class orchestra with a rich tradition. The orchestra has gone through many difficult times, including now, but it always rises like a phoenix from the ashes, stronger than before. I ended up there in a great group of warm, ambitious fellow artists, with a lot of musical depth. What I also really like is the sense of connection between orchestra, our audience and the city of The Hague."

 "After a few years, it started itching: would I take the leap from second to first violins? I felt that playing first violin parts would challenge me more. In the years after college, I had played almost exclusively first violin as a remplaçant in orchestras, and that suited me well. Almost two years ago, I got the chance to audition. That's how it came about! I got the unique opportunity to play in both violin groups for an extended period of time. It has been an incredibly educational and motivating experience. My place in the first violins guarantees numerous musical challenges and highlights. It is work and celebration at the same time."


"I am now completely settled in The Hague. My husband, Marco Bons, is a conductor, we have a lovely daughter. Together we founded Podium Calliope, a place for chamber music concerts and lessons for students, amateurs and young children. With violinist Momoko Noguchi and altoist Tanja Trede, both orchestra colleagues, I have formed the Calliope Trio. We want to give short concerts in stores, cafes and galleries, thus supporting entrepreneurs in these difficult corona times. I also really enjoy teaching violin, But since I play first violin, I have less time for that because I have to study more. It's choosing between all the fun things!"