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Sérgio Carolino

The record is Japanese, but the music is Portuguese. With the project Yamaha Tuba Duo, where he plays with Shimpei Tsugita (tuba), Rena Hashimoto (piano) and Taro Someya (percussion), Sérgio Carolino challenged several composers to write music for this formation - the majority being Portuguese. The record was released in 2016 and has pieces written by Luís Cardoso, Amílcar Vasques Dias, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Ivan Moody, Kohei Nishishita, Jorge Prendas, Daniel Martinho and Jim Self.


The talent and work of the Portuguese tubist is well known on an international level. Apart from his diversified interpretations, from a classical repertoire to the purest jazz and improvised music, Carolino has become prominent for his dynamic action in contemporary music as well. There are over 200 works written for his many projects and nearly 50 records released. In 2016, he released four records: "Faraway, Nearby" with Conical Brass - Jeff Nelsen (horn) and Telmo Marques (piano), and pieces by Telmo Marques, David Gillingham, Lon W. Chaffin and Gary Kulesha, produced by Afinaudio; "Tubax", a duo with and produced by Mário Marques (saxophone), and pieces by Howie Smith, Petri Keskitalo, John Zorn, Ennio Morricone, Jon Hansen and Jérèmie Dufort; "Moderato Tangabile", with original works by Daniel Schvetz, produced by Afinaudio; and lastly "Super Alive!", a project with Yamaha Tuba Duo, a Japanese production by Cryston.

In early 2017, "Deep in the Forest" was already completed, with the Duo TUBAB, including original music by both musicians - Sérgio Carolino and Jorge Queijo - produced by José Diogo Neves. Furthermore, until the end of the year, more projects will be recorded and released, among them "TransAtlantic Tuba Connection", with Mike Forbes (tuba) and Pedro Silva (drums), produced by José Lourenço.


The work by Luís Cardoso received an award from the International Tuba Euphonium Association

"Super Alive!" was born during a tour in Japan, organized by Yamaha. Carolino made sure to include Portuguese music on the record: "We have amazing composers. Our music is very good!"

It didn't take long until it paid off. The work "Abbas Alcobatia" (The Abbot from Alcobaça) by Luís Cardoso won the Harvey Phillips Award Prize for Excellence in Composition, in the category Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, a distinction given by the International Tuba Euphonium Association, during the Conference in 2016, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the United States.

The premiere was at the Phoenix Hall, in Osaka (Japan), on November 5, 2015, by Sérgio Carolino and Shimpei Tsugita (tubas) and Rena Hashimoto (piano), which had been pre-recorded at Yamaha Concert Hall in Ginza, Tokyo.


"work with the composers and develop something new"

Apart from the "mission" to spread Portuguese music across borders, he also makes sure to choose a different repertoire, one he can play with other tubists, seeing as there is only one tuba in orchestras: "If I want to play with my friend from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, there is no repertoire. I started asking for commissions, which have been having great success, because there is a lot of people playing them now with other friends from other orchestras. We are always alone, but now we have a repertoire to play with our friends."

He says he likes to "work with the composers and develop something new". And that he doesn't like to give his opinion often because "the composers know what they're doing perfectly well": "I never say no, because I want to try playing what they created. Writing with the composer is also a way of letting them create, and do so in their own way! It's challenging, but it's the only way to develop the instrument when it comes to an interesting repertoire. Playing music in an obvious way doesn't hold any interest."

Thus, he defends that the composer cannot be limited to one instrument and gives the following examples: "In the past, Prokofiev and Wagner wrote pieces which the musicians at the time could not play, but today it is possible. They were visionaries, they already knew what the instrument could do and that it would be possible to play it in the future. When Shostakovsky wrote Cello Concerto, it should have been impossible to play, but he also wanted to explore with Rostropovich."


"each record has its own concept and should be personalized"

The production of a CD should also be unique: "For me, the project of recording includes composers, other musicians, designers, sound engineers, and so on. We always want more, we want to play well, but each record has its own concept and should be personalized, because the music was made and chosen with the project in mind. It's something artistic and not a business".

He confirms that there is little to no profit in selling CDs, but there are other advantages: "We use the records as an invite to try and sell the concert. If people like the concert, they would also like to take a record home, so they buy it and get an autograph - it's more about the moment itself. It is also good for the composers, who see their music registered and recorded. What they want is for their music to be heard!"


A "very special" project with former students

Carolino goes back to Japan in June for a new tour with Shimpei Tsugita and he let us know that he has new commissions and recordings planned.

He has also scheduled a recording of a very special album, with some of his former students - Romeu Silva, Adélio Carneiro, João Aibeo, Luís Oliveira, Xavier Novo, Ricardo Carvalhoso and Ricardo Antão are already confirmed. The CD will have new works by Eurico Carrapatoso, Luís Cardoso, Amílcar Vasques Dias, Eugénio Amorim, Telmo Marques, Mico Nissim (France) and Howie Smith (USA).

"It's a very special project, because I accompanied these students, most of them from a young age. I saw them grow as men and evolve as musicians until they became professionals, teachers, parents, winning international contests, joining several orchestras... I feel like they are a part of me and for whom I gave a lot of my time and energy, wisdom and experience", he says.

The works were commissioned according to the "personality, style and sound of each one" of his former students: "I think I will bring out the best, musically and artistically, from each one of them and they will be more comfortable in 'their field'!"


"so let it not be through music that more [problems] are created"

In July, he will be in Chicago recording with Gene Pokorny, the main tubist at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who also has works for two tubas and piano, commissioned to Luís Cardoso and Eurico Carrapatoso (Portugal), Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen and Kjell Mork Karlsen (Norway), Low W. Chaffin (USA) and Paul Terracini (Australia).

Sérgio Carolino believes that "one of the definitions of music is to unite people". Consequently, he asks that "people have a good attitude, work more in teams, remain humble and eager to learn".

"Listen to music, attend concerts, read books, watch good films, be literate because we can't let ignorance settle in this new society, specially in our country, where people need to stay together – we are few but if we're divided and there is no unity, and people don't work with positivity, we won't get far. We already have plenty of problems, so let it not be through music that more are created", he suggests.

Filipe Alves in the Staatskapelle Berlin

If he was a football player, Filipe Alves would be known to every Portuguese person. He is, however, at least known to every German. He is one of the few Portuguese people to have played in the Berlin Philharmonic, was also the first Portuguese person to get into the Herbert von Karajan Academy and one of the few who can brag about being led by the conductor Claudio Abbado. He has also worked with the conductors Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Franz Welser-Möst, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph Eschenbach, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Semyon Bychkov and Zubin Mehta.

Furthermore, he collaborated with the German Brass and, for three years, was the main trombone soloist in the Philharmoniker Hamburg and the Hamburg State Opera. In April 2015 he won the audition for trombone soloist in the Staatskapelle Berlin.


Da Capo (DC) – How did you start studying music?

Filipe Alves (FA) - I started, like almost everyone playing a brass instrument does, in a band. My brother and my cousin were the only people in our family that played in a band (my brother Paulo still plays the trombone in the National Republican Guard (GNR) band). In my village, almost every teenager played in the band. It was amazing. My mother was a bit insistent and I got excited from watching my cousin playing the trombone, and said that I would like to play that instrument. That's how it happened, I enrolled only to try it out; to me it was for the fun of it.


DC – And when did it become serious?

FA - Modesty aside, people could see if you had the talent; there were older people in my band like Victor Pereira and Nuno Madureira, two clarinet players with a lot of experience as musicians, who advised us to study because they believed we (me and my brother) had talent. With effort, my mother got me in Castelo de Paiva Academy and it was there that I got it in my head, and tried to reach another level.



"what struck me the most was the orchestra's quality [Mahler], the rigor in the work, the professionalism - I needed that"



DC – You also had an active participation in youth orchestras. How much did it contribute towards your musical growth?

FA - I wanted to go to youth orchestras because they were popular. An Orchestra like Mahler's sounds very good, it's a very good level. But after going there it changed my perspective, it motivated me to get out and to be aware of what I wanted.

Of course the environment and the places I visited, while seeing a bit of the world with people my age is amazing, but what struck me the most was the quality of the orchestra, the rigor with work, the professionalism - I needed that.


DC – And then you ended up going to Berlin…

FA - The idea to go to Berlin came up before I finished university, I was a year away from finishing my course. When I was in Mahler's orchestra, a colleague of mine who studied in Berlin encouraged me to take classes with Stefan Schultz, in Berlin. It was a normal conversation between classmates.

In the meanwhile, that classmate of mine invited me to do a program at the school he was attending, where Gabriel Antão was already studying. At the time, there was an important trombone tryout and they had a hard time finding trombonists for the program - Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. I accepted it and immediately thought about taking classes with Stefan Schultz. Once again, I had a bit of luck.

In class with Stefan Schultz, he asked me if I wanted to study with him. I replied that I really wanted to, but I didn't know if I could right away. I choose to finish my course at the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, but stayed in contact (and took some classes) with Stefan Schultz. In the following year, I applied and entered college.

In that same year, I got in at Remix Ensemble (I was there for two years) and juggled it with Berlin. I came to Portugal to play programs with Remix.



"Of course that playing at the Berlin Philharmonic is amazing. To me that was unthinkable. It was fantastic! My first program was with Abbado - I was lucky to work with him"



DC – Was it then that you got in to Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy?

FA - I passed the test in February 2012, but only started in May. I was only there for two months, because in the meanwhile I won the place of soloist at the Hamburg State Opera.


DC – You were the first Portuguese to get in to Berlin Philharmonic Academy. How was that experience?

FA - As to being the first one, doesn’t matter to me. I actually regret being the first one because that means we got there late. Fortunately, others got in right after me.

Of course, playing at the Berlin Philharmonic is amazing. To me that was unthinkable – it was fantastic! My first program was with Abbado - I was lucky to work with him. I didn't have much of a part to play, I only played in the first part. It was amazing. Although he was already physically debilitated, people had great respect for him.

With Claudio Abbado I still got to do an interesting program. He talked to me during the first rehearsal, saying I could put more strength into a small solo I had.



"The opera is a much more complete show, so it becomes more fulfilling"



DC – Was playing opera different for you?

FA - To begin with, I really like opera, but I have to admit that I don't like all kinds of operas. Of course, playing the same opera ten times in a season becomes repetitive, and that's what I like the least about being in an opera orchestra.

In a theater, the rehearsals are different, an orchestra has to sacrifice itself to the scenic part, to the singers. The planning is very different. In a symphonic orchestra, every week is the same and it has a set routine, whereas in the opera the routine changes a lot from week to week, no weeks are alike due to scheduling.


DC – As a musician, is it very different to play on stage and in the orchestra pit?

FA - Indeed it is, in a symphonic orchestra I'm more exposed, what's most important is to hear the orchestra and what it's playing, whereas in an opera, the orchestra is in the background, at least to the people listening; they'll even forget we're there playing.

A mistake can go unnoticed, but you have other kinds of difficulties, like keeping up with the singer. It is also amazing the amount of repertoire that you play in an opera, I've been through all kinds of programs, sometimes we have to set up a Strauss opera in only two rehearsals. The opera is a much more complete show, so it becomes more fulfilling.

But I miss playing a symphonic program in my orchestra, although there are things we play that are incredible. I have to mention that in Hamburg we have one of the best ballets in the world! We make excellent productions! Things like these I’d never be able to do in a symphonic orchestra.



"If I go to an audition, I have to think that I'm going win it, that I'm fit to win it. If I don’t think I’m fit, I won’t go."



DC – On a personal level, what does it mean to you to win an audition? It's not easy to win several auditions in different orchestras...

FA - I have to be honest, and admit that it gives me personal satisfaction. It means that I have kept the level or even improved.


DC – In those kinds of tryouts, how do you deal with anxiety and nerves?

FA - Not very well. I can spend two nights without sleeping before the auditions, specially the night before. I get worried, anxious and I want to be playing right away. I want to rest, to sleep, but I can't, I think about the pieces I have to play over and over again, and about what they're going to ask me to play.

If I go to an audition, I have to think I'm going to win it, that I'm fit to win it. If I don’t think I’m fit, I won’t go. My main objective is first place, not second. I put a lot of pressure on myself.

The fact that I already play in an orchestra, and I'm already a professional musician, adds more to my responsibility, which is to show that I have more maturity than a student.



"Did I ever dream of playing with Barenboim or with Zubin Metha when I was in Portugal? It's perfectly normal for me now!"



DC – What do you think has changed in Portugal for the growing international success of its musicians?

FA - It's a bit like fashion. You need two or three people to start it and then everyone wants to do the same. For example, on the trombone, we already have Gabriel Antão in Vienna, Francisco Couto in Helsinki. We're getting results! I believe we serve as example for others to take the leap, to risk it and fight for more.

Did I ever dream of playing with Barenboim or with Zubin Metha when I was in Portugal? It's perfectly normal for me now!

With social networking and globalization everything becomes easier as well. Ten years ago when I was in professional school, we got the information, but not like today and that becomes encouraging.

We also have the mindset that it's better abroad. The current trend in Portugal is to get their Bachelor’s degree there and then do a Master’s in another country.


DC – Is that positive or negative?

FA - It's positive, there's nothing negative about it. Getting to know other cultures and other sets of ideas has nothing of negative, quite the opposite. Even if it's not what people were expecting, it's always a different life experience.



"The trombone scene in Portugal is very good. The problem is a lack of opportunities."



DC – What advice can you give to young trombonists?

FA - The first one is to be humble and work. Then they need to have their minds set, in the sense that they need to know exactly what they want. From a young age I knew what I wanted and worked hard to reach that goal. If they give it their all, they'll accomplish something. I don't believe that those who work hard with humility and sacrifice themselves, can't accomplish something; it might not be what they wanted, but they'll always get something.

Work, dedication and even more work, knowing what they want and fighting for it.


DC – How do you see the trombone's scene in Portugal?

FA - The trombone scene in Portugal is very good. I know there's a lot of talent coming up but talented people have always existed. The problem is a lack of opportunities.


DC – If you had the chance to do a project in Portugal, what would it be?

FA - Maybe there will be news in the future. I have some things in mind but I don't want to put it out there yet.

One thing I would invest in would be in making a record.

On the other hand, if I won the lottery I would open a restaurant, help my family and go to French Polynesia. The Portuguese cuisine is what we have best in Portugal.

Andreia Pinto Correia

Winner of the award John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in 2015, Andreia Pinto Correia, a Portuguese native, has worked with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and Berkeley Symphony Orchestra in the United States. Her compositions, according to Jornal de Letras, are a major contribution to the dissemination of Portugal’s culture and language, perhaps a contribution larger than could ever be imagined.


Da Capo (DC) - How did the interest for composition appear? Was this always your dream?

Andreia Pinto Correia (APC) - My interest for composition appeared very late. When I began to study music, I did it because I wanted to be a soloist of a wind instrument (the saxophone). However, I had to suspend my journey because of an accident.

Returning to my studies after a hiatus of about six years, I began to compose and, little by little, the passion for composing was emerging. I could not imagine doing anything else nowadays.



I may have gotten some less positive comments [but] I always made a point of not wasting time giving too much thought to the reactions of others”  



DC - When you chose to compose, what was the reaction of the people around you? Was there a less agreeable situation because of that choice?

APC - I may have gotten some less positive comments in the sense that I started composing very late and had learned jazz simultaneously to classical music. The transition from soloist to composer was very slow and it took many years.

Years of waiting, away from the studies in which I read, studied scores, listened to music a lot and matured significantly as a person. But after so many obstacles, my determination to be a composer was very strong and I always made a point of not wasting time giving too much thought to the reactions of others. 



[at the NEC I had] the freedom to write and to grow focusing on the quality instead of labels”



DC - Why did you decide to study at the New England Conservatory of Music? What about this University attracted you? 

APC - The main reason why I attended the New England Conservatory (NEC) was because I knew that the composer Bob Brookmeyer taught there. I should add that the NEC is one of the great schools of elite music in the US. Bob Brookmeyer, who passed away in 2011, was a very demanding teacher and very special, not only with a great knowledge of classical music, jazz music, and a great soloist as well. However, due to various circumstances, I ended up changing course and doing my doctorate in classical composition, also at the New England Conservatory. 

First of all, I was impressed by the quality of the institution and by a particular teacher, but I believe that in the general sense, I was also captivated by the variety of choices in the US, meaning there are countless aesthetic schools and there's a place for all of them. In my case, being surrounded by excellent musicians from all over the world, and have the freedom to write and grow focusing on the quality instead of labels.

At the same time, I had to adapt to a very firm idea of self-sufficiency that undoubtedly exists in the US. The always present idea of the self-made man, in which each person trails their way, overcoming obstacles and failures, without being dependent on a great master who’s responsible to build us a career. It’s a different way of looking at things, and that's not so easy to get used to. 


DC - How was your class at the university?

APC - At the university I wasn't part of a class. When I did the Masters, I was Bob Brookmeyer’s only full-time student, studying composition solely with him. I had different classes of theory and musicology, but never as part of a fixed class. During the doctorate, I was the only composition student. The doctoral program at the NEC is a very exclusive program with a vast academic aspect. After three years of seminars on music theory and musicology and four dissertations per semester, you move on to the actual orientation phase, of written and oral exams, and the final dissertation. It's a very strict program and therefore very attractive.



to continue to grow musically, giving my best in every piece I write” 



DC – As a winner of several awards, among which, the most recent by the League of American Orchestras. How do you get and face these prizes?

APC - I always try to be aware of what the awards may (or may not) represent, trying not to fall on false hopes. An award can bring new responsibilities, opportunities for collaborations hitherto unknown or out of reach, or even a great financial stability, such as the Guggenheim Award.

As you know, there are several composition awards around the world and, if I learned anything by being part of the jury, is to be subjective about the situation. In other words, being aware of the responsibilities that I have and the value of the given institution's confidence in my job, not forgetting the essential: to continue to grow musically, giving my best in every piece I write. 


DC - You were and still are the composer-in-residence of some orchestras, such as the Boston and Memphis Symphony Orchestras, among others. What type of work do you have to carry out?

APC - Normally a residency is linked to a commission of a piece and its premiere or it can be related to several performances of already existing pieces. Hence, I spend some time at the place of the residency in rehearsals. Often it also includes giving master classes and participating in conversations to the public, or teaching composition at local universities. It can also include activities involving the patrons of the institution in question, something perhaps less common in Portugal and in Europe in general.


DC - In 2013, the Boston Portuguese Festival held a concert exclusively with your music. How was this experience?

APC - It was an extremely rewarding experience, because until then I had never participated in a concert of my music, that was somehow directed to the Portuguese community in the US, in this case in Boston. I also end up being away from our communities due to the kind of music I write, which is a little sad.


DC - Do you receive commissions from the Portuguese cultural institutions?

APC - Yes, I do. I have several commissions from Portuguese cultural institutions for the upcoming years, which I can't speak of yet because they have not been officially announced. But of course, most of my commissions are made through international institutions.



"I feel a great affinity towards orchestral writing, I believe that to be my greatest passion”



DC - How would you define your writing? What genres do you prefer to compose? Why?

APC - This is the question I am asked most often and I think the best answer is to talk about what worries me. I have a great attention to detail, timbre, harmony, and orchestration. I feel a great affinity towards orchestral writing, I believe that to be my greatest passion. In this case, it would not be about the genre but the instrumental training. Due to the possibility of choosing the level of timbre, the color palette, and the endless possibilities. 


DC - How's the critic's reactions to your pieces? Have you received derogatory remarks by the fact of being a "female" composer?

APC - I have been fortunate to receive very good reviews, some by renowned critics, but I have also received the occasional less positive review. I believe that is part of the journey for those who expose themselves to an audience. But I'm always aware that – and in particular with regard to contemporary music – when a work is heard for the first time, the general public not only doesn't know the journey of the composer in question, but also does not have the comparative recordings of the same work.

I can say that I have a very keen sense of self-criticism and I have to say I only know one or two people whose input I truly care about – whether they are positive or negative. These people, as composers who I greatly admire, also know very well my music and my journey. I try to take from the reviews that which seems sensible to me, while remaining very focused on my work, the work that I have to write, and aspects that I want to improve in my writing.

In regards to the second part of your question: unfortunately, I have received bad reviews for being a female composer. However, interestingly, in the United States, such situation has never happened to me, perhaps because there is a higher percentage of women in conservatories and universities, and a constant presence of older female composers, with great pieces written. But I emphasize what I said in a previous question about criticism: I always try to focus on what I can actually control, that is, in the quality of my music, which is what really concerns me. 



Sérgio Carolino was a huge promoter of my music in my early years of writing”



DC - Are your works often published and recorded?

APC - My decision to have a bigger control over the recordings is due to wanting to attain a certain maturity in my writing and, therefore, wanting to wait for works that were, in my opinion, complete. Of course, this statement throws new questions such as "when do you know that the work is complete", this because I also see each of my works as a bridge for what comes next. But this would be a topic for another conversation. I have, in fact, several works recorded and, in Portugal, for example, I have to say that Sérgio Carolino was a huge promoter of my music in my early years of writing. A great musician and a great colleague. 

Each project takes its own time to mature and I always feel an enormous responsibility to my music. That said, I'm going to record two monographic CDs over the next few years, both of chamber works. I can't reveal more than that. But my biggest obstacle, if I can put it that way, is to write orchestral music. In the US, it is very complicated to record a monographic CD with a large orchestra, because of the way the institutions operate legally and the protection by the unions. The costs are unimaginable and, as we all know, the market is saturated on some levels. This situation does not cease to be a problem, since I write mainly for large orchestras. But I am hopeful that this situation will change soon.



When I think about success, I believe in doing what I like”



DC - Would you like to come back to Portugal? Do you think you would also have success if you had done your musical journey here?

APC - What success means to me or to someone else is very subjective. When I think of success, I believe in doing what I like, do it the best way I can, and have top musicians playing my music. Portugal has extraordinary musicians and, in that regard, it would also be exciting to work in my country. I would probably have had a different path, but I don't think it would have been of more or less significance. Just different.  

The Peruvian writer Mário Vargas Llosa has a very interesting essay about that topic, in which he talks about the existence of a cultural exile (not affiliated with exiles for political and economic reasons). Llosa talks about the reasons why a writer – in this case, I make a parallelism with a composer – choose another base other than their home country, and how those decisions create expectations in relation to the individual and to the reception of their work, both in the home country and in the host country. Thus, all of these are questions I face daily.

On the other hand, in our time, it is possible to travel, be more connected with what's happening on other continents and, although I'm not the best person to speak on technological matters, because I have a great fondness of my pencil, my paper, and my solitude (in the sense of "solitude" and not of "loneliness", a sensible distinction I read recently in a wonderful essay by Professor João Lobo Antunes), the fact is that it's not so important to be in a particular place.

In my case, I studied composition in the United States but I never did it in Portugal, and that's why I don't have that disciple connection to a particular "school" or master in our country. I developed very lasting professional relationships with soloists, ensembles, orchestras and institutions in the United States. And I also have some relationships that I value a lot in Portugal. 

But to answer your question: I come to Portugal several times a year. My family, my good friends, the great musicians who I have collaborated with over the years are all here. I have been lucky enough to have increasingly more work in Europe, which helps maintaining contact with Portugal. Would I like to come back one day? Of course, I don't dismiss this possibility, but all in good time. Everything will depend on the circumstances and conditions. Until then, the door is open.


DC - What's your opinion about the composition done in Portugal?

APC - I try to accompany as much as I can from a distance and, when I'm in Portugal, I love going to the concerts of my colleagues, listening to ensembles, and orchestras. I like to know what you do. I have extraordinary colleagues in Portugal, people with a lot of talent, with great skills. I also see that the new generations arrive in force, with opportunities that would have been unthinkable ten or twenty years ago, and, more importantly, they know to seize these opportunities with a lot of work and dedication.



that Orchestra [Minnesota Symphony Orchestra] 'understood' my music in a very deep way, and played it with great respect"



DC - What are the most memorable moments of your career?

APC - The most memorable moments of my career are, no doubt, those concerning the people that helped me grow, my masters: Bob Brookmeyer, John Harbison and Elliott Carter, a composer who I met in his final years of life.

Afterwards I had other experiences that marked me in another way, in the sense of confirming a passion: to have heard my first orchestral work, and have worked with conductor Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, an experience that marked me in a very positive way. For being one of the best professional experiences I had, for feeling that the Orchestra "understood" my music in a very deep way, and played it with great respect.


DC - Can you tell us a little about the projects in which you are involved in?

APC - Currently, I'm scheduling works until 2021, therefore it can become hard to talk about the present. Overall, I have commissions for several orchestral works, a concerto for orchestra and soloist, a monodrama, a cycle of songs also for orchestra and soloist, a string quartet, and various smaller works for soloists and chamber ensembles scheduled. 


DC - Do you have a favorite composer or work?

APC - There are certain works or composers which were important to me in various stages of my journey. I love Mahler, which surprises a lot of people. Ten years ago, I spent months comparing the first manuscript of Symphonia no. 1, with the final version written ten years later. I learned a lot about Mahler, his writing process, the importance of what is deleted and what stays.

Messiaen, Stravinsky, Debussy, Bartók, Ravel, Ligeti, Dutilleux, and also Haas, Donatoni, Sciarrino, Beat Furrer, and Birtwistle are some of the composers that have influenced my music in one way or another. But there are many others. And, of course, Bach. As for American composers: Elliott Carter, Jacob Druckman, and John Harbison influenced me the most.


DC - How do you organize your life, your leisure, your technical preparation, rehearsals and travels?

APC - Fortunately, right now, I have a person who helps me organize my life and my schedule, which is great. The most complicated might be to run my own publisher. I have three people working for me part-time and I'm connected to a printing house in Boston with another team I work with. In other words, a lot of mail, a lot of paperwork, and little spare time. But I read a lot, I am constantly studying scores, I swim when I can, I learn new languages, and every week I try to go to exhibitions, concerts, theater. New York is the ideal place to live in that regard. 

Travels always represent a break of routine, which is sometimes complicated, especially when you have deadlines. I really like my space and my studio, where I have my books, my walls, my silence. I can write elsewhere and be equally productive, but there's nothing like my own space.  



my biggest obstacle was being away from my studies for many years and starting to compose late”



DC - What sacrifices have you had to make to give yourself to music? Did you have to give up on your personal life? 

APC - Leaving Portugal, which was a decision made many years ago. Later, staying in the US, which was a very weighted decision influenced by many life experiences. I feel a great attachment to Portugal and, sometimes, it's not easy being away from everything familiar. Steinbeck said the place of origin is always a location with a plurality of building memories, some of which are contradictory.

Memories of experiences, memories of what a place represented at some point in our lives. And, for all this, the place of origin, this place with which we feel this deep and unique link, lacks objectivity. This response also has to do with the question you asked me earlier about a possible return, whether or not I have a coherent perspective of how I see my country. 

But, returning to your initial question, I believe that my biggest obstacle was being away from my studies for many years and starting to compose late due to health issues. In that sense, I've given up years of studies and experiences that would be important for my growth as a young woman. But I also won in other aspects, such as a greater determination and, as they say in good Portuguese, a "drive”, which is always helpful when in a bind. I make and have made sacrifices, but I also know that I have a dream life: I write music, I travel to fabulous places where I'm very well treated, and collaborate with extraordinary musicians. 


DC - Projects for the near future?

APC - At the moment, I'm preparing for the premiere of Dalla Legend aurea, a work commissioned by Winsor Music and Peggy Pearson, an amazing American oboist. The work, for Oboe Quartet (oboe, violin, viola, cello), is inspired in the frescoes of Piero della Francesca Capella Maggiore in Arezzo, Italy.

I'm completing a work for Brass Quintet for the soloists of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which had already been commissioned a few years ago, and with its debut set for the next season. Then, I will write a work commissioned by a magnificent Piano Trio from New York

European Saxophone Congress

APS – Portuguese Saxophone Association is honoured to announce EurSax’17 Porto. Your aim is to bring the community of  European Saxophonists to spend some days in the beautiful and vibrant city of Oporto.

Activities and partnerships include  Casa da Musica, Conservatório de Música do Porto, Academia Costa Cabral, ESMAE – IPP, Igreja da Lapa, FEUP and many more. Portugal is a great country with a lot to share, music is just part of it!  Please join them between the 11th and the 14th of July, 2017.

Motivated by the 200th birthday of Adolph Sax, Fundación Sax-Ensemble and the Asociación Saxofonistas Espanoles organised the “I Congreso Europeo del Saxofón” at Ciudad Real. This event took place between the 1st and the 4th of May in 2014, to reinforce the exchange of artistic and pedagogic experiences, as well as, to promote the european saxophone identity.

In the end of the congress, a comité was voted and empowered to decide the next organisation of the congress, promote it and collaborate with that future organisation, supervising artistic proposals. The comité is formed by: Claude Delangle, Arno Bornkamp, Alain Crepin, Lars Mlekusch, Marco Gerboni, Miriam Castellanos, Henrique Portovedo, and its president Francisco Martinez.

The desire of the European Saxophone Congress is to promote experiences between all the european saxophone schools, to promote the creation and commission of new music for the instrument, as well as, to promote research in the field of history, literature, repertoire, technical and industrial development of the instrument.

The European Saxophone Comité was honoured to announced in January 2016, that the next European Saxophone Congress 2017 would take place in Oporto between the 11th and the 14th of July organised by APS – Portuguese Saxophone Association.



Elisabete Matos



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Torre de Gomariz
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Con Música
Frederico Fernandes
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Companhia dos Vinhos do Douro
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Mário Jorge Silva