Lisbon International Music Academy

1st to 10th of August, Centro Cultural de Belém

In ClassiqueNews, by Alexandre Pham, 28.09.2017

What makes, nowadays, a good chamber music festival? Obviously, the quality of the guest musicians, the diversity and rhythm of the musical experience for the audience… and maybe, especially as here in Lisbon, the desire to innovate and enrich the genre. For all these primary questions, the artistic director for the project and pianist, Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro found the answers, but goes further, simultaneously assuring the technical enrichment of the academy’s students and, for the festival audience, an exceptional immersion in the concert and interpretation mechanism. Being an academy and a festival at the same time, Classical Summer meets the expectations from both sides of the musical scene.

Lisbon, festival and academy

CLASSIC SUMMER, jewel of the new chamber music festivals

At CCB, Centro Cultural de Belém...

At Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon, audience, students, famous musicians and teachers, for 10 days, give life to a real hive – that is, an ideal musical city, where learning is neighbour to concert experience, especially where the students can listen and analyse the art of their teachers… being these invited to present themselves in concerts before their cadets and the audience that has access to all sessions. The experience is all more valuable, given that in Portugal there isn’t a tradition of chamber music as there is in France or Germany. That being said, the festival fills that gap. It all happens in a summer environment, a learning and deepening cycle for many young musicians that come to deepen their solo technique or to improve their chamber music capacities.

The idea to implement this festival and academy at CCB offers a unique opportunity for Portuguese and international young musicians to follow the advices from the best performing musicians, also accustomed to play chamber music (some of them with the habit of meeting in great festivals and concerts halls all over the world). The Lisbon’s Academy strength comes from the invited personalities: this year, among others: the violinists Corey Cerovsek or Elina Vähälä: the french horn player Marie-Luise Neunecker, the clarinettist Pascal Moranguès or the cellists Gary Hoffman and Kyril Zlotnikov… Obviously, the American cellist Gary Hoffman’s – a very charismatic personality, with a rousing culture and sensibility – class is always full; and each of his concert performances, both solo and alongside his equally experienced colleagues, raises enthusiasm for his musicality and musical integrity, to say nothing of his artistic intelligence. Without a doubt, a Master.

The way of the musical alchemies...

Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro’s talent is to have been able to gather, in the pedagogical team, charismatic artists that also know how to play in a group: this way, after the intense class and rehearsal day, each Master’s concert (named “MasterFest”), is a gift, a beacon, a motivation and overflow source. For everyone. For the young apprentices, for the public, and for the more experienced, happy to listen to their colleagues or to play with them in concert in a spirit of mutual sharing and esteem.

A school of life...

During our time in Lisbon, it was possible to measure the dedication of the young musicians participating in the academy (in the summer of 2017, more than 150 young students from all of Europe, Asia, and the Americas…), the quality of the classes given by the Professors, the concert’s organization offered to the audience. Each one of them gets a human, artistic and technical gain of great valour. Chamber music requires an earing quality, humility, a great spiritual openness, that reveal, in life itself, valuable luggage. Nothing replaces the contribution of a collective musical experience. To play together means learning to live with the others. The metaphor shows how essential are the cycle and the offer nowadays. At the heart of the program are imposed the education and experience from the 4 professor’s concerts (the "MasterFests"), and the 6 young academy musicians' concerts ("TalentFests").

Alongside international musicians from all over the world, many Portuguese musicians follow the work sessions and take part in the concerts: the music school of the Lisbon’s Metropolitan Orchestra, another permanent musical hive, that welcomes the young musicians, is a privileged partner of the CCB’s academy festival: that way, everyone can find their place according to their level and objectives.

The borders open themselves: a single family defines and reinforces itself around the diapason of the associated nationalities (20 different countries are represented in Lisbon), the gatherings and the exchanges. Nothing can achieve this level of collective emulation like the experience of chamber music as it is lived in Lisbon. The time at Classical Summer festival-academy transforms minds and the ways to play and live music. The experience of others, listening to the colleagues… the final offer given to the participants and to the audience of the festival in each concert reactivates that European ideal where nationalities come together to construct a harmony in an instantly noticeable and audible way. Through its functioning, its objectives, its realizations, CLASSICAL SUMMER festival-academy is an example to be followed. A utopia come true.

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