Câmara Municipal de Setúbal

PARTIS - Práticas Artísticas para Inclusão Social, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

BPI Capacitar, BPI e Fundação La Caixa

The Helen Hamlyn Trust

Following the work developed by the Setubal Music Festival with the local community, and benefiting from the support of Gulbenkian’s Foundation recently established PARTIS scheme – Artistic Practices for Social Inclusion, a new step was taken in creating opportunities and the consolidation of musical experiences for the young musicians from Setubal. The creation of an ensemble or a small youth orchestra, in which some of the most talented young musicians in the region may continue musical journey after finishing high school and before undertaking professional adult life, began to take shape in late 2014.

The group has already produced about 12 concerts in Portugal and abroad. Today the group has about 12 members and in a mix of young people with special needs, young people in classical music training, percussionists, its conductor and leader, thus becoming the first orchestra with these characteristics. It brings together young people from different social and cultural backgrounds, including young people with special needs who are now learning to play music using assistive technology. The Ensemble has benefitted through a connection with the HHT’s London Symphony Orchestra/Panufnik composers scheme and each year the trust has commissioned an alumni of the scheme to write for the Youth Ensemble alongside emerging Portuguese composers. This has been a successful initiative with some of the founding members going on to study music or music therapy in Europe at top conservatoires.

The Youth Ensemble of Setubal is a project developed by A7M – Cultural Association for Setubal Music Festival, under the direction of Alberto Jorge Lopes Araújo artistic director.

Alberto Araújo (Portugal, 1996) began his musical studies at the Conservatório de Guimarães in Piano and Music Training. In 2016 he graduated in Choral Conducting and Music Training at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa. In 2015 he studied at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary under the Erasmus programme, returning in 2017 to take the diploma in Advanced Choral Conducting with professor Péter Erdei.
He taught in 2018 Choir, Music Formation and Music Initiation at the Friends of Children’s Music Academy. During 2019 he took up the position of Music Assistant at St. Julian’s School. Between 2019 and 2022 he taught Music Formation and Beginning Music at the Music Academy of the College of St Thomas.
As a conductor, he was choir director of the Little Singers of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2018 and has collaborated with Eborae Música, Coro Regina Coeli, Coral Vozes do Estoril and the Choral Group of Queluz. He directed and was involved in the foundation of “Semínimos”, a children’s choir based in Mafra.
He was a member of the World Youth Choir and the Tenso European Chamber Choir in 2017. He has also sung with the Coro Sacro de Lisboa, Coro Ricercare, Nova Era Vocal Ensemble, Jazz Cantat and the Új Liszt Ferenc Kamarakórus (Hungary), as well as varied ensembles in Guimarães, Braga, Lisbon and Kecskemét. More recently he was a member of the EuroChoir in 2021 and 2022 and of the Choral Academy of Lübeck (2022, Germany).
He had the opportunity to work with several choral directors (Josep Vila i Casañas, Bernie Sherlock, Yuval Weinberg, Marco Amherd, Daniel Reuss, Paulo Lourenço, Vasco Azevedo, Pedro Teixeira, Zoltán Pad, László Norbert Nemes, Arpád Tóth, Ken Wakia, Simon Carrington, Elisenda Carrasco, among others) with different styles and philosophies that made him so interested in rehearsal and performance dynamics in the choral context.
He is currently attending the Masters in Music Training at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa. He teaches Music Training and Initiation in the Music School of the National Conservatory and in the Vocal Academy Lisboa Cantat. He also teaches Musical Garden and Choir at the Academia de Música dos Amigos das Crianças. He is one of the trainers of the project “Music in Schools” organized by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (2018 and 2019) and is an artist/animator of the Mus-e Programme, oriented by the Association Yehudi Menuhin Portugal.
He is director of the Lisbon Community Choir and assistant conductor of the Choirs of the Musical Association Lisboa Cantat (symphonic choir, chamber choir and children’s choir. He is also part of the team of choral directors involved in the preparation of the choir for the World Youth Days 2023.

In the direction area he has studied with several maestros, having attended several masterclasses with national and international teachers. Among them: Henrique Piloto, José Brito, José Ignácio Petit and Felix Hauswirth, Paulo Martins, Johan de Meij, Linda Moorhouse, Mark Heron, George Matthew, Alberto Roque, Jean-Sébastien Béreau, Jean-Marc Burfin, Emilio Pomàrico and Colin Metter. He has also worked with Jacob de Haan, José Pascual Villaplana, Raymond Holden, Ed de Boer – who composes under the pseudonym of Alexander Comitas.
He has participated in the World Conference of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) in Buñol, Spain, in July 2019, of which he is a member. In this same context, he was chosen for an international panel of 12 young conductors who had the opportunity to work with some of the most renowned conductors at an international level in a masterclass that took place during the event.
He graduated from the Setúbal School of Education in Music Education and Orchestra Conducting at the National Superior Academy of Orchestra, under the guidance of Jean-Marc Burfin. He teaches at the School of Music of Nossa Senhora do Cabo in Linda-a-Velha and at the Diocesan School of Sacred Music of the Patriarchate of Lisbon, where he is also pedagogical coordinator. He is currently Conductor of the Musical and Artistic Band of Charneca, Lisbon and of the Setúbal’s Youth Ensemble.
He is currently attending his master’s degree in wind direction at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag – Royal Conservatory of Hague, Holland – in the class of renowned professor Alex Schillings.

The purpose of the Youth Ensemble, mirroring that of the Festival, was to become, “…the very first ‘orchestra’ that genuinely gets rid of cultural and social barriers, which often stand between people of different backgrounds and music of different genres, in the pursuit of artistic quality as well as equality.”

Former Artistic Director

The Setúbal’s Youth Ensemble is aimed at young people who wish to develop their musical practice at a higher level, including professional aspirations in the area.

Age Range

The basic age range for the members of this ensemble is 15 to 25 years. However, these limits are flexible to allow for the inclusion of younger elements who show a special interest in being part of the ensemble, or even older people such as some with special needs who may have much to gain and to offer to this project.


The constitution of the Ensemble includes the following instruments:
– Wind instruments (transverse flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba)
– Strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar)
– Electronics (guitar, bass, keyboard, skoog)
– Percussion (classical, ethnic, traditional)


The selection of the Ensemble elements is made through digital audition (link to application). The application process, although quite accessible, requires the appointment or advice of teachers and institutions working with young musicians whenever possible. The selected candidates will have a first trial period in the Ensemble, of four weeks, in which they must demonstrate the involvement and musical and social commitment necessary for the good functioning of the group. The candidate’s face-to-face interview will be an important part of the listening process.


The unique musical constitution of this ensemble, justifies the creation of a new repertoire. Students and former students from Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, are participating in this unique musical challenge, composing especially for this Ensemble. At the same time, each year we have the visit of a composer connected to the composition programmes of the London Symphony Orchestra to create an original work. There is also room for new arrangements of music with which the young performers and the public are already familiar, in versions adapted to the Ensemble. Small solos and group pieces are also performed, interspersed with the great works. The young people themselves have the possibility to create new works through a workshop process. Finally, there is also room for group improvisation.


Rehearsals take place weekly, on Saturday between 3pm and 5pm and exceptionally between 3pm and 6pm at Auditório José Afonso, on Luísa Todi Avenue. Rehearsals can be of suit or tutti as required by the Ensemble.

Know more . pdf