The Setúbal Music Festival is a unique cultural phenomenon, now in its 9th edition, and continues to bring together internationally acclaimed guest artists, from Portugal and overseas, with the local community – again involving almost 1,500 young people – in making music and enriching the cultural life of this lovely city.
As always, our festival programme has been inspired and nourished by topical themes which are close to the heart of the people of Setúbal. Last year’s central idea of home, for which there are words for several different meanings in Portuguese (lugares, lar, em casa, raízes and origens are some), was variously present throughout the 2018 Festival and continues to find rich resonances in today’s world. Therefore, we have chosen to turn again to this all-embracing theme of home.
We open with the wonderful singer, Beatriz Nunes, and her jazz quartet, followed the next day by the renowned choral director, Paulo Lourenço, with his brilliant chamber choir from Lisbon’s Superior School of Music: like all of our visiting artists, they are committed to sharing their skills and their platforms with Setúbal’s local young people. We welcome back the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Gustav Mahler, joined by young string players from the Setúbal region and conducted by their maestrina Joana Carneiro. André Gaio Pereira, winner of the 2017 Premio Jovens Musicos, appears in two concerts, first as solo violinist and then as director of the Festival Camerata, which once a year brings some of Setúbal’s most gifted young professional musicians home again from elsewhere in Portugal and overseas to play together, delight us all and inspire future generations to follow in their footsteps.
Our socially inclusive and artistically adventurous Setúbal Youth Ensemble, now in its fifth year, is joined by several musicians from the UK, including the remarkable Clarence Adoo, paralysed in a road accident more than 20 years ago, trombonist John Kenny (complete with his carnyx – an ancient Celtic war-horn), trumpeter Torböjrn Hultmark and singer and composer Merit Ariane, all returning home as artists-in -residence and spreading their star-dust throughout the community.
The creative learning and participation of our young people has always been a fundamental purpose of the Festival and each year has embraced drumming and song-writing among other activities. This year some of our young people are visiting care homes for the elderly in an inter-generational exchange of reminiscence, storytelling and sharing of ideas: their new songs, created through this collaborative process and performed during the Festival, reflect the beating hearts of humanity and the heating hearths of home.
We are proud to present our second international Symposium on Music, Health & Wellbeing, following the success of the first one in 2018, now extended to two days of public presentations by leading experts and practitioners from Portugal, Britain and elsewhere. The subject matter is huge, diverse and touching all areas of human existence: it is of global importance and very close to home. Our topics range from music in neo-natal hospital wards to care homes for the elderly and include music projects which engage the homeless, embrace refugees and asylum seekers and demonstrate the power of music in improving the lives of people with physical
disabilities, mental health problems and many other needs. The need for discussing these areas grew directly out of the Festival and the Symposium is therefore fully woven into the fabric of the current programme.