Mayor of Almada

Imagined around the seasons, the Festival de Música dos Capuchos 2023 brings together composers who, for over more than 4 centuries, have explored this concept, from Vivaldi to Tchaikovsky, and Piazzolla to Philip Glass. From these seasons – historical, philosophical or seasonal, other artists and other times are invoked. It is through the exploration of this relationship between the passage of time and nature – human, divine, natural – in the inseparable intersection between form and content, that the work of these artists becomes a cultural ritual of contemplation and discovery.

Over the last three editions, the Festival has also been asserting itself as a space for sharing and dialogue, celebrating the written word is with the evocation of great names in literature. “Capuchos Talks”, curated by Carlos Vaz Marques, dedicates this edition to the centenary of the births of Mário Cesariny de Vasconcelos, Natália Correia, and Eugénio de Andrade. Constantly looking for improvement and diversification, this year will also mark the debut of the “Capuchos Masterclasses”, guided by internationally renowned teachers, pre-concert talks called “Capuchos Preludes”, moderated by João Almeida, and the “Capuchos Walk” that will take us through the Protected Landscape of the Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica.

Extending its program to several venues, this edition will have concerts at Convento dos Capuchos and in unprecedented way 3 concerts at the Municipal Theater Joaquim Benite. The Festival once again welcomes sets of international reference and excellence, with particular emphasis on the Venice Baroque Orchestra “I Solisti Veneti”, the Budapest Chamber Orchestra “Franz Liszt” and the Hermès Quartet. Many great international soloists will step onto the Festival's stages, including violinists Mario Hossen, Jack Liebeck and Esther Hoppe, singers Lena Belkina, Ana Karina Rossi and Deniz Uzun, cellist Christian Poltéra, clarinetist Pascal Moraguès, pianist Marianna Shirinyan, and the legendary North-American pianist Stephen Kovacevich.

The commitment to national excellence is a hallmark of the Festival, which will feature the Officium Ensemble choir, the DSCH Schostakovich Ensemble, as well as new musical projects, 100 Caminhos, and Juventus Ensemble, bringing together young and renowned Portuguese musicians. I cannot help but thank you for the tribute proposed to António Victorino d'Almeida, - my father for those who do not know - with the Carta Branca concert, which celebrates his 70 years of artistic activity. I confess to have hesitated when I read the proposal, but as the programming is the sole responsibility and within the absolute freedom of Filipe Pinto Ribeiro, I considered that under no circumstance should I interfere in order not to set any precedent.

The Festival de Música dos Capuchos occupies an undeniable place in the national cultural panorama, while at the same time not hesitating to extend its program throughout the municipality, calling this territory of many and all who live here and visit to take part in this cultural ritual.

A special thanks to Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro, who is responsible for constructing the Festival and the Artistic Direction and to Companhia de Teatro de Almada, which this year joins the team, as well as to the municipal cultural services that make this great dream possible.

A heartfelt thank you, as well, to the main sponsor and partner of the event, the BPI Foundation/La Caixa, for continuing to invest in promoting Portuguese music and artists.

Inês de Medeiros

Mayor of Almada

Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro

Artistic Director of Capuchos Music Festival

"In the spring, cherry blossoms, in the summer the cuckoo.
In autumn the moon, and in winter the snow, clear, cold."
Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)

Capuchos Music Festival 2023 is inspired by the seasons of the year, building an arc of four centuries that opens with the unavoidable Le Quattro Stagioni, composed by Vivaldi 300 years ago, and closes with the Portuguese premiere of The American Four Seasons written by Philip Glass in 2009, to which are added the cycles of seasons by Tchaikovsky, in the 19th century, and by Piazzolla, in the 20th century.

The succession of seasons is one of our evidences of the passage of time, and the Capuchos Music Festival 2023 will present concerts dedicated to various temporal dimensions: choral works from the time of the foundation of the Convento dos Capuchos, the Renaissance; the time of creation in Darius Milhaud's La Création du Monde; repertoire inspired by summer time, such as Hector Berlioz's Les Nuits d’Eté, Samuel Barber's Summer Music, George Gershwin's Summertime; the time of the redemptive apocalypse in Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps...

Festival de Música dos Capuchos 2023 will be held, as usual, at the place that gives it its name, Convento dos Capuchos, and, for the first time, will present three concerts at Teatro Municipal Joaquim Benite. Renowned artists and ensembles will be present, including, internationally, "I Solisti Veneti", the "Franz Liszt" Orchestra of Budapest, and the Hermès Quartet of Paris, joined by national reference groups such as Officium Ensemble, DSCH Shostakovich Ensemble, and 100 Caminhos. Among the great international soloists of various generations who will be present, the piano grand seigneur Stephen Kovacevich, for more than half a century among the world's elite, will offer us a recital with works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Alban Berg.

Throughout the festival, works by several Portuguese composers from various "eras", from the Renaissance to contemporary music, will be performed, with premieres and the highlight being the concert "Carte Blanche to António Victorino d'Almeida", marking his remarkable 70 years of artistic activity.

It is also worth mentioning that the Capuchos Music Festival will present the Portuguese premiere of works by two of the most influential composers of the last decades, namely Orient & Occident (2000) by Arvo Pärt, and American Four Seasons (2009) by Philip Glass.

The cycle of the already emblematic "Capuchos Talks", curated and moderated by Carlos Vaz Marques, will be dedicated to the centenary of three great names in Portuguese literature: Mário Cesariny de Vasconcelos, Natália Correia, and Eugénio de Andrade - curiously, all three were born precisely in 1923! 

In this 2023 edition, Capuchos Music Festival inaugurates its relevant educational axis, with the presentation of the Capuchos Masterclasses, oriented by professors from the Paris, Salzburg and Lucerne Conservatories.

Also for the first time, a set of pre-concert talks, called Capuchos Preludes, will be presented, moderated by João Almeida. And the festival will also be complemented by activities of ecological and patrimonial awareness, such as a cultural Visit to the historical heritage of the Convento dos Capuchos and a Walk in the surroundings of the convent, inserted in the Protected Landscape of the Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica, which presents important natural values that should be known and valued. 

I will finally dwell on the extraordinary music of the last concert of this Festival, the Quartet for the End of Time, a masterpiece premiered during World War II, in 1941, when Messiaen was imprisoned in a Nazi camp and composed this manifesto of faith and redemption, in a time of horror that today echoes with great resonance in a time of war in which Europe has been plunged for over a year…

The ultimate goal of the Capuchos Music Festival is to celebrate art and community life, to build bridges of understanding and peace among people through the magnificent universal language that is music.

Many thanks to all those who make Festival de Música dos Capuchos possible, starting with Câmara Municipal de Almada and its municipal services, the Direcção-Geral das Artes, the Main Sponsor BPI/Fundação "la Caixa", the Companhia de Teatro de Almada, the Âmbito Cultural do El Corte Inglés, RTP Antena 2 and, last but not least, the tireless team of the DSCH Associação Musical responsible for the Festival organization.

The poem that serves as the epigraph to this text was written in the 13th century by the Zen Buddhist master Eihei Dogen. In the apparent yet expressive simplicity with which he describes the beauty of the seasons, Dogen connects us to the essence of elements that follow one another in the rhythm of the seasons. Dogen gave the title Innate Spirit to his poem, a spirit of contemplation, discovery, and sharing that inspires this 2023 edition of the Capuchos Music Festival.

Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro

Artistic Director of Capuchos Music Festival