The Setúbal Music Festival is now in its eighth edition and continues to be a unique cultural phenomenon, bringing together internationally acclaimed guest artists, from Portugal and overseas, with the local community – including almost 1.500 young people – in making music and enriching the cultural life of this lovely and welcoming city.

Each year, our Festival programme has gained its inspiration and integrity through topical themes which the people of Setúbal really care about. This year’s central idea of home has various important meanings which cannot be captured in the Portuguese language simply by a singular word, as in English, and demand several distinct translations: lugares, lar, em casa, raízes, origens …. Reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the people for whom Setúbal is home, our creative and performing artists have responded with great imagination and in wonderfully different ways. The idea of home naturally touches and embraces the themes of all our seven previous editions, none more so than our most recent focus on migration in 2017 which continues inevitably to influence our society and, therefore, our programming.

We are delighted to welcome a number of outstanding artists, from nearby and far away, who are making their first appearances in the Festival. Traditional singer and accordionist Celina da Piedade, a star born and shining brightly in the Setúbal region, sets the scene for us at home in the opening concert, with her own Band, other performers from the Alentejo, young musicians from Setúbal and a special guest appearance by João Gil. The next evening opens with the renowned Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, taking time away from their home in the National Theatre of Saõ Carlos to visit us with an international programme and joining forces with our own ‘homecoming’ Festival Camerata and the Conservatoires of Palmela and Setúbal, directed by the award-winning young Portuguese conductor, Nuno Coelho. Other

highlights of the programme, described overleaf in full, include performances (and a special project) led by London-based German-Egyptian artiste, Merit Ariane, and a return visit by the choral maestro, Pedro Teixeira, this time with his Ricercare Choir from Lisbon. As always, the creativity and performances of many of Setúbal’s young people provide the lifeblood and purpose of the Festival.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the initiative and support of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, to the Municipality of Setúbal and to the many local partners, institutions and individuals, whose efforts make it all happen.

Visitors to the Festival can enjoy performances and presentations in several of Setúbal’s beautiful and historic buildings. The past meets the present not only in the city’s architecture and open spaces but also in its vibrant cultural life, and the Festival is a reflection of this. We invite you to experience the unique personality of this city and feel at home in the welcoming diversity of its artistic offerings.


Ian Ritchie was born in London in 1953, entered the Royal College of Music in 1971 (winning the Mario Grisi Prize for singers), was a choral scholar and a student of law and music at Trinity College, Cambridge, and continued at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. During a musical and curatorial career of more than 40 years, he has directed several prominent arts organisations, including the City of London Sinfonia, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Opera North, St Magnus Festival (Orkney) and the City of London Festival.
As a multidisciplinary programmer, centred on music, Ian is committed to both excellence and social inclusion in his festivals, providing opportunities for musicians of all backgrounds and abilities to create and perform. Over the past 20 years, he has provided regular support as an artistic facilitator in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in other post-conflict environments. He is involved in a number of musical organisations as a trustee or adviser and recently helped to set up Music Action International, which works creatively with refugees and asylum seekers and, in The Guardian Charity Awards 2016, has won the title of ‘Charity of the Year’.
Ian has been Artistic Director of the Setúbal Music Festival (Portugal) since it started in 2010-11 and holds similar positions with the Setúbal Youth Ensemble and The Musical Brain (Arts, Science & the Mind). He is in demand as a speaker, performs as a singer and narrator, adjudicates competitions, is a mentor to young musicians, and lectures on artistic programming, career development and creative management for various universities and colleges.