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50 Years of Democracy – New Music in Portugal

Fundação Casa da Música, Porto (PT)

On April 25, 1974, a military coup overthrew the dictatorship and created the conditions for Portugal's peaceful transition to democracy, the end of political and social oppression and censorship. In 2024, Portugal celebrates 50 years of democracy and freedom in artistic creation. Casa da Música Porto has programmed a special and unique concert series for this season, featuring composers from the period of resistance against the regime as well as the new generations of composers who were able to live, study and work in an open environment thanks to the Carnation Revolution.

The Casa da Música is a leading institution in the commissioning and performance of new works by composers from almost all parts of the world. As part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the democratic revolution, the concert hall feels it has a "cultural obligation" to highlight works that have been created in Portugal over the last 70 years. Needless to say, of the 15 composers presented, Emmanuel Nunes (1941–2012) deserves special recognition.  His music will take center stage this season.

More recently, Vasco Mendonça (1977) has been in demand from renowned orchestras, ensembles, opera houses and festivals. He will be Composer in Residence. His portrait includes two new works and a retrospective of selected works. His music will be performed by renowned conductors and soloists.

But the story begins with Fernando Lopes-Graça (1906–1994), a politically engaged composer who excelled in choral music. Lopes-Graça's research into Portuguese folk music and his highly original harmonizations deserve to be discovered by the music world. Paul Hillier, the first music director of the Casa da Música choir, championed Lopes-Graça's choral music at the highest level. For the opening of the season, Hillier will once again conduct the Casa da Música choir and champion this relatively unknown composer.

The concert series, which is supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, will also include works by Constança Capdeville, Pinho Vargas, Carlos Caires, Luís Tinoco, Pedro Amaral, Luís Antunes Pena, Daniel Moreira, Ângela Ponte, Igor C. Silva, Pedro Lima. Inés Badalo (*1989) will be the Young Composer in Residence, from whom will be performed two commissioned compositions.

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January 14, February 3, April 20, April 24 and November 3, 2024
Casa da Música, Porto