Celebrating the beginning or the continuity of a festival is always a reason to rejoice, as we all know how important festivals are for cultural diversity and for the access to culture, decentralization, the commitment of populations, companies, civil society. However, welcoming a festival that had been long interrupted means even more, as it reveals the persistence of these projects that very often depend on a certain enthusiast, support or on unstable or favourable winds.

To return to the Capuchos Music Festival twenty years after its last edition can and should be understood under the light of the concept of ‘five centuries of History and five centuries of Music’. Furthermore, this is as many as the Capuchos Monastery itself, a true example of longevity. Had this not been the case, it surely would not have witnessed so many changes and events of the Portuguese religious, political and cultural History.

By paying tribute to Alfred Brendel in his presence, evoking Astor Piazzolla, giving stage to national and foreign composers, orchestras and musicians of ancient and modern music, and appealing to the crossing of times, generations and even artistic disciplines, the Capuchos Festival is now returning to reclaim the place it had conquered, its own audience, the music that can be heard again after a surmountable break.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

President of the Portuguese Republic

O Festival de Música dos Capuchos volta a Almada, após o seu silêncio de duas décadas, repondo um lugar de referência que já foi seu, pela mão do ilustre Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro, enquanto Diretor Artístico, e da Câmara Municipal de Almada, enquanto promotora. Estou certa que Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro, com a sua sensibilidade artística e inteligência musical, dignificará o legado de José Adelino Tacanho, fundador do Festival de Música dos Capuchos, projetando-o para a eternidade.

Esta 1.ª edição do renovado Festival de Música, que decorre no belo Convento dos Capuchos, é o retomar de um caminho que não devia ter sido interrompido – não apenas uma evocação das edições anteriores –, e tem como ambição que Almada volte a ser referência nacional e internacional também na área na música clássica. Tendo como conceito “5 Séculos de História e 5 Séculos de Música”, queremos viajar pela excecional criação musical desses cinco séculos, enquanto nos maravilhamos com a beleza do Convento, edificado em meados do séc. XVI.

Honouring the Monastery’s ‘active’ period – from its construction to its decline with the extinction of the religious orders -, one of the chosen programme areas was the musical repertoire of the 16th to the 18th centuries, with the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism. Reflecting the remaining period of the Monastery’s history, the musical repertoire of the 19th to 21st centuries was also included, from Romanticism to contemporary music. However, since music always transcends any imposed classification, the programme surprises by its diversity, involving various musical genres and promoting the crossing of music with other arts.

Set within the local strategy for Culture, this is a festival open to all almadenses and all those who visit us. Moreover, it is a cultural initiative of excellence that will honour the history of its past 21 editions, projecting a future in which the Convento dos Capuchos will be internationally recognised as a place that hosts musical excellence, thereby making Almada a ‘capital of the performing arts’.

Almada is a territory of many that nurtures a deep pride towards its diversity, having seen the birth of countless talents of all artistic expressions.

I conclude with a word of gratitude to all our partners and to the main sponsor - the ‘La Caixa’ Foundation – for having believed in this project and for the contribution they make to cultural diversity and to universal access to culture.

Inês de Medeiros

Mayor of Almada

Welcome to the Capuchos Music Festival 2021! During the 21 editions of the Festival, between 1981 and 2001, under the artistic direction of José Adelino Tacanho, many were the national and international soloists and ensembles that brightened the event, as its eclectic programme was awaited year after year with great expectation. Two decades later, the Capuchos Festival is “reborn” in the place it is named after - the Capuchos Monastery -, which inspires its programmatic concept: ‘five centuries of History and five centuries of Music’, thus reflecting the extraordinary musical creation throughout these almost 500 years, from the Renaissance to contemporary music.

There are several concerts with repertoire composed in the active period of the Capuchos Convent, since its construction in the mid-16th century to its decline, with the fall of the Távora family and the extinction of the religious orders in 1834.
First of all, the opening concert of the Capuchos 2021 Festival presents an enticing dialogue between “a cappella” works by the most relevant Portuguese composers of the renaissance polyphony golden period and the instrumental counterpoint of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The renaissance repertory is also featured in the lute and vihuela recital by Hopkinson Smith, undisputed master of plucked string instruments and a key figure in the early music movement and in the historically informed music performances, who will therefore return to the Capuchos Festival.
It is a concert with a special symbolism, as it marks the return of an artist who took part in the festival more than 20 years ago. Furthermore, it also serves as a tribute to José Adelino Tacanho, the founder of the Festival who passed away in 2004 and who studied the lute in Basel under the guidance of Hopkinson Smith himself.
Among the many reasons for interest in the Capuchos Music Festival programme - which will feature outstanding musicians and ensembles, some of whom are making their debut in Portugal with very varied and appealing repertoires -, we must highlight two key moments in 2021:
The 100th anniversary of Astor Piazzolla’s birth, celebrated with a concert dedicated to some of the most iconic works of his nuevo tango and the presentation of the opera-tango ‘Maria de Buenos Aires’, a masterpiece by the Argentine composer.
The presence of Alfred Brendel - undisputed leading figure of the post-World War II musical interpretative art - will be the subject of a great tribute of the Capuchos Music Festival, in the year that marks the 90th anniversary of one regarded as the last “giant” of the piano.
This two-day tribute will include the much-awaited conference on his musical life and the recitation - by himself - of poems of his own authorship, and two concerts with repertoire of one of the composers who were dearest to him: Franz Schubert.
As a prelude to the music sessions of the Capuchos Festival, a cycle of “Capuchos Talks” is also proposed, dedicated to three centenaries of leading figures in universal literature to be celebrated in 2021: Dante, Baudelaire and Dostoyevsky.

Just like 2020, 2021 will be indelibly marked in our lives by tragic moments related to the Covid-19 pandemic and its unforgettable moments of great difficulty. Therefore, we must now stress the extraordinary – and yet again unforgettable - mobilisation of many people and the support of various institutions in order to make feasible this much-desired return of the Capuchos Music Festival in 2021, particularly Almada’s City Hall - promoter of this commendable initiative - and the main sponsor, the “La Caixa” Foundation, so that we may celebrate life united by great music!

Thank you all!

Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro

Artistic Director