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.