Concerts on six historic organs, but also on a portable organ, workshops, a visit to the interior of these musical instruments and a photography competition are the “juice” of yet another edition of the Algarve International Organ Festival, which will take place from 4 on the 26th of November, in Churches of Faro, Portimão, Loulé/Boliqueime and Tavira.
In 2022, the event not only returns to its “normal” version, after two years in which the pandemic forced changes in plans, but also introduces many new features.
The vast program, which has 13 concerts and many parallel activities, includes proposals for solo organ, choral and chamber music. As is tradition at this festival, there will be a guest instrument, for an unprecedented combination with the organ, in this case, the historic cornet.
But there will be other sounds to be introduced, namely that of a positive organ – an instrument that works like a large pipe organ, but which is portable – and the «peculiar harmonium sound».
These shows will be led by organists João Santos, Laura Silva, António Pedrosa, André Ferreira, Rui Soares, Matteo Cordioli, João Vaz and Joris Verdin, who will not always perform solo.
The program also includes the participation of the Coral Adágio, the Coral Ossónoba, the Ensemble Mvsica Antiqva Porto, the singer Michele Tomaz, the flutist Tiago Simas Freire and the students of the Escola de Órgão da Sé de Faro.
The Belgian Joris Verdin, who, according to Música XXI, the association that promotes the festival, «recorded more than fifty CDs as a soloist, covering various periods and musical styles», will be responsible for playing the harmonium, in a concert with two parts, which will be divided between this instrument and the historical body.
In the year that the Organ Festival turns 15, the organizers wanted to do something special. And that's how one of the attractions of the 2022 edition came about: the workshops.
«We are going to hold three workshops, aimed at teachers, students, even heritage technicians who may be interested in the organ or historical instruments», he told the Sul Informação Patrícia Neto Martins, from Música XXI.
«Two of the workshops will be organ, one with João Santos and the other with João Vaz, but we will also have a historical cornet and flute workshop, with Tiago Simas Freire», taking advantage of the chamber music concert that will take place on November 19, in the Church of Carmo.
«We had already held a workshop a few years ago, in Faro, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the great organ of the See of Faro. Now, we wanted to mark the 15th anniversary of the festival with more workshops, because we think these workshops are very interesting to bring in young audiences and capture enthusiasts for these instruments».
In the field of novelties, a visit to the interior of the organs in Tavira will take place on 17 November, a circuit «that will pass through three churches. They will say to me: “three? But we only have concerts in two churches in Tavira”. Yes, it's true, but let's add Carmo de Tavira, which will have its organ, which is in a final stage of preparation. It will be possible to see the skeleton that already exists and visualize the instrument that will be assembled there soon».
«This visit in Tavira first passes through the Igreja da Misericórdia. Then we go to the Church of Santiago and end up at the Church of Carmo. Let's see if it doesn't rain so as not to damage this circuit on foot», described Patrícia Neto Martins.
Another «interesting thing» in the programming of the 15th Algarve International Organ Festival is the fact that, for the first time, it is possible to have «a taste of what could be a future organ of the Igreja Matriz de Loulé, which will even be just a smell in sonic terms, since we still don't know what this instrument will be like».
«We are going to have a concert with a positive, portable organ, accompanied by violins and the voice of a soprano, in this church», which could become the home of a pipe organ that the Câmara de Loulé is considering ordering, and is already doing market prospecting.
Closing the festival, and «if everything goes according to plan, we will be in Tavira and here in Faro, a harmonium, on the 25th and 26th of November», in the concert that will be led by Joris Verdin.
«This is an instrument that lends itself to another type of repertoire, namely the Romantic period, with works such as those composed by French Romantics such as César Franck and Camille Saint-Saëns. It has a different sound, very imitative of the human voice, with its vibratos», summarized Patrícia Neto Martins.
This year, Música XXI also decided to associate a photography contest with the Organ Festival.
“The theme is the pipe organ and anyone, during church opening hours, can go there, ask to approach the organ and take photographs of the detail, with a certain light… of the organization.
People can send photos to Música XXI email. «There is a jury that will evaluate the works and the announcement of the winners will take place at the end of the closing concert, in Faro. Even before the show, the photographs will be rotating, on a screen, for those who want to see them», concluded Patrícia Neto Martins.
All concerts are free of charge and do not require prior reservation, unlike workshops, which require registration. More information can be obtained from event facebook page.
The Algarve Organ Festival 2022 has the support of the Regional Directorate of Culture of the Algarve and the Municipalities of Faro, Loulé, Portimão and Tavira, with support for the dissemination of the Algarve Tourism Region, with communication partners Antena 2, Sul Informação and Rua FM and with the Hotel accommodation partner Faro. It also has a partnership with the Diocese of the Algarve, the Cabido da Sé de Faro, of the Order of Carmo of Faro and the parishes of Portimão, Boliqueime and Tavira.
November 4th | Mother Church of Portimão | 21:00 – João Santos and Coral Adagio
November 5th | Church of the See (Faro) | 21:00 – João Santos and Coral Ossónoba
November 11th| Mother Church of Portimão | 21pm – Laura Silva
November 11th | Parish Church of Boliqueime | 21:00 – António Pedrosa
November 12 | Church of Carmo (Faro) | 21:00 – António Pedrosa
November 18th | Parish Church of Boliqueime | 21:00 pm – João Vaz and Tiago Simas Freire (historic cornet and flute)
November 18th | Misericórdia Church of Tavira | 21:00 – Matteo Cordioli and Michele Tomaz (corner)
November 19 | Church of Carmo (Faro) | 21:00 pm – João Vaz and Tiago Simas Freire (historic cornet and flute)
November 20th | Mother Church of Loulé | 18:00 – Rui Soares and Ensemble Musica Antiqva Porto
November 25th | Church of Santiago de Tavira | 21:00 – Joris Verdin (organ and harmonium)
November 26th | Church of the See (Faro) | 21:00 – Joris Verdin (organ and harmonium)
November 5th | Mother Church of Portimão | 10h00 – Workshop with João Santos
November 11th | Church of the See (Faro) | 10h00 – Pedagogical concert for children, with André Ferreira
November 13th | Church of the See (Faro) | 16:00 – Concert by students of the Organ School of the Cathedral of Faro
November 17th | Churches of Mercy, Santiago and Carmo (Tavira) | 16:00 – visit to the interior of the organs
November 19 | Mother Church of Loulé / CML-FR | 10h00 – Workshop with João Vaz / Tiago Simas Freire
November 26th | Church of the See (Faro) | 21:00 – Announcement of the winners of the photo contest
João Santos participated in prestigious international organ competitions and regularly performs throughout the country and abroad. He has worked with most of the national orchestras. He is the titular organist of the Leiria Cathedral.
Laura Silva performed solo and with orchestra in Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and England. She studies at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, where she is a fellow of the Eric Thompson Trust and the GDA Foundation.
As a soloist and ensemble musician, Antonio Pedrosa held concerts in Portugal, Holland, Spain and France. He is currently organist at Onze Lieve Vrouw van de Rozenkrans (Obrechtkerk) in Amsterdam.
As a soloist or integrated in several musical groups, André Ferreira he has given recitals in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Holland, England and New Zealand. He is organist in the Ensemble S. Tomás de Aquino and also collaborates with the Parish of Santa Maria de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
Rui Soares has collaborated with national orchestras and choirs and integrated festivals and countless concerts in Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Poland. He is organist at Igreja da Senhora da Conceição in Porto and titular organist at Igreja dos Clérigos.
Matteo Cordioli participated in courses in Interpretation of various musical periods, as well as in Contemporary Improvisation. He is organist and choir director at the Church of San Pietro Apostolo, and organist at the great Ruffatti organ, at the Church of Santa Teresa del Bambino Gesù, both in Verona.
João Vaz has maintained an intense activity at an international level, either as a concert performer, or as a teacher in organ improvement courses, or as a member of the jury of interpreting competitions. He teaches Organ at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa and is artistic director of the Madeira Organ Festival and of the series of concerts on the historic organ of the Church of São Vicente de Fora, in Lisbon, and on the six organs of the Basilica of the National Palace of Mafra.
Joris Verdin he recorded more than fifty CDs as a soloist, covering various eras and musical styles. He produced the first complete edition of César Franck's works for harmonium and the first manual of technique for harmonium. He won international critical accolades for recordings of XNUMXth century music as well as Renaissance intabulations. He recorded all of César Franck's pieces for organ and harmonium.