Composers

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Details as performer
Amílcar Vasques-Dias was born in Badim, Monção. He studied Piano and Composition at the Music Conservatories of Porto and Braga. He was a Fellow of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and of the Secretariat of State for Culture for the Master Degree in Instrumental and Electroacoustic Composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Holland, where Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, Jan van Vlijmen and Dick Raaijmakers were his teachers. Also his work with Karlheinz Stockhausen, in Holland, with Iannis Xenakis, in Aix-en-Provence, France, and with Cândido Lima, in Portugal, was so relevant that it has led him to consider those composers-teachers as the most influential in his formation as a musician and composer. In 1989, he met Fernando Lopes-Graça, to whom he presented the compositions he created in Holland. It is from this conviviality that he has begun to give more attention to traditional Portuguese music, manifesting its influence in some of his pieces.

In Holland, he developed artistic and pedagogical activity as a pianist and composer for 14 years.

As a pianist, he interprets his own music and uses improvisation as a means of expression, having performed concerts in Portugal, Spain, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Russia, Canada and the United States of America.

As a composer, he has received commissions from various Dutch and Portuguese public and private institutions in the field of instrumental and vocal chamber or electroacoustic music, symphony orchestra, brass orchestra, accompanied and a cappella choir, multimedia works, opera, and music for film and for the stage.

Amílcar Vasques-Dias' music has been performed in Portugal and around Europe, as well as in America and Japan, especially at contemporary music festivals.

He has several works recorded on various CDs edited in Holland and in Portugal – some of them are exclusively dedicated to his music.

In parallel with his activity as a composer, he currently has projects to merge the classical piano with traditional music, namely with the cante from Alentejo, with Manuel Caldeira and Pedro Calado, singers of the Cantares de Évora Group, and with flamenco music, with the singer Esther Merino.

He met and accompanied José Afonso in 1978, in Holland, and since then has dedicated himself to the study and recreation of his music, having created with the violinist Luís Pacheco Cunha and the singer Esther Merino the project José Afonso: by Ear and Heart.

Since his return from Holland in 1988 until 2010, Amílcar Vasques-Dias has been also a lecturer at the Lisbon and Porto Superior Music Schools, at the University of Aveiro and at the University of Évora.

He was the mentor and artistic director of the 20th Century Music Meetings of Alentejo, from 1998 to 2009. Currently, at the invitation of Évora City Council, he is the artistic director of the 20.21 ÉVORA CONTEMPORARY MUSIC Festival.