“Such elegant playing with so many subtleties…I thought I was listening to one of the old guys, like Joseph Szigeti!” ~ David Kim, Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra

ALEXANDER HETTINGA Violinist & Violist, Performer & Pedagogue

Trained in the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing by Cyrus Forough, and in the Emanuel Vardi school of viola playing by David Harding, Alexander Hettinga represents grand traditions of playing and teaching and holds two degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. Based in Pittsburgh, Alex enjoys wide opportunities as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, from baroque to contemporary music.

ORCHESTRA Alex is passionate about orchestral leadership, and has been performing as concertmaster and principal violist in orchestras since he was twelve years old. His recent positions have included concertmaster of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, concertmaster and principal violist in both orchestras at the MasterWorks Festival, and principal second violin in the Orchestre de la Francophonie in Montreal, QC. In 2015, he studied and performed at the David Kim Orchestral Institute in Philadelphia. He is currently a member of the 1st Violin Section of the Erie Philharmonic, and performs as a substitute with the West Virginia Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic.

COMPETITIONS Alex was the 1st place winner of the 1st annual WMC Mary Lane Violin Competition in 2012, and won the 2012 and 2011 Carnegie Mellon Baroque Concerto Competitions. He was the 1st place winner of the 2009 MasterWorks Festival Concerto Competition, performing the Stravinsky violin concerto with the Festival Orchestra under the direction of Darryl One, and was a finalist in the 2009 Pittsburgh Symphony Concerto Competition, soloing with the Duquesne Symphony under the direction of Jeffrey Turner. He has also soloed with a number of orchestras in his childhood home of Columbus, Ohio, and received 1st place in several Columbus competitions.

CHAMBER MUSIC As violist in the Hugo Trio, Alex has been a winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions and the CMU Silberman Chamber Competition. The Hugo Trio has been featured in the Johnstown Chamber Music Series and worked with contemporary composer David Stock. Alex performed Stock’s trio, “A Vanished World,” at Stock’s memorial concert with harpist Gretchen Van Hoesen and flutist Rhian Kenny of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Other chamber music experience includes radio broadcast quartet performances on Pittsburgh Classical WQED and Carnegie Mellon WRCT. Alex recorded Zack Stanton’s trio for harp, horn, and viola at University of Iowa, released on the MSR Classics label in 2020. 

TEACHING Alex teaches beginning through advanced violin and viola lessons, and organizes and coaches chamber music groups. He was a faculty member at the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh for the past three years, teaching 3rd through 8th grade group classes in violin and viola. Alex has also been a faculty member at the Summer 2016 Chamber Music Seminar, and the 2017 and 2018 Coda Mountain Academy Summer Music Festivals. Visit the Study page to inquire and learn more!

FAMILY Alex comes from a family of excellent musicians. All seven of his siblings play strings, ranging from age 31 down to age 10. The Hettinga family has performed together continually for over 20 years as an outreach to their community and a ministry to dozens of churches, retirement communities, and nursing homes. This background has been integral to Alex’s musical development and his ability to connect with audiences and individuals.

Alex’s love of music is powered and sustained by his faith, his family, and a passion for the outdoors. He is a published writer and visual artist, and finds all of these interests to be mutually beneficial and enriching. Alex lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Angela and their daughter Hannah.