Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão (1923-1989): we will take risks

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Colloquium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão


To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão, this colloquium aims to remember and highlight her significant contributions to Portuguese cultural and artistic life in the second half of the 20th century.

In addition to the several individual interventions and testimonies that make up the programme and focus on celebrating Madalena Perdigão’s legacy, there will be a roundtable debate, inviting participants to interrogate: how to think, in a transformational way, about new institutional models that respond to present and future artistic, social, political and ecological issues from a transdisciplinary and transnational perspective?

In the year prior to the reopening of CAM (Centro de Arte Moderna) and in the same year that ACARTE (Art and Technology Center) was created (1984), this discussion aims to deepen critical thinking about artistic and curatorial practices and processes of mediation and public participation from multiple viewpoints, and to collectively reflect on the relevance of a space dedicated to arts and culture today.

Over thirty-one years, from her appointment as head of what was then the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Music Department in 1958 until her death in 1989 – including five years at the helm of ACARTE and her highly important work in implementing successive reforms to the country’s art education – Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão’s influence on the performing arts in Portugal was unparalleled. In many ways, her impact can still be felt to this day. From the 1950s to the 1970s, she was responsible for establishing the music infrastructure that enabled Portugal to participate actively, for the first time ever, on the international concert circuit and for creating the foundations of a new music education policy that overcame many of the shortfalls of a music system that modernity had yet to reach. Later, in the 1980s, she would also be responsible for courageously pushing for a post-modern approach to the critical questioning of the established canon, for aesthetic experimentation and innovation in all art fields, for new interdisciplinary projects and languages, for the discovery of non-European arts, and for the dialogue between erudite and popular cultural traditions and expressions.

This colloquium seeks to examine Madalena Perdigão’s myriad contributions, the result of her permanent quest for structural answers to what she saw as the gaps in Portuguese cultural life. It also ends with a challenge: what new solutions, in the direct legacy of her thoughts and actions, are needed for the obstacles facing the arts in Portugal today?



09:30 / Opening

Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins
Rui Vieira Nery

10:00 / Madalena Perdigão: everlasting heritage

José Sasportes


11:00 / The late construction of Modernity in Portuguese musical life

Rui Vieira Nery

11:30 / New methodologies in music teaching in Portugal: another legacy of Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão

Manuela Encarnação

12:00 / “It is an initiative of great scope”. The musicological activity of the Foundation’s Music Department (1958-75): strategy and areas of intervention

Mariana Portas

12:30 / “She joined the Foundation at just the right time”: Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão and the challenges of female affirmation

Inês Thomas Almeida

Moderator: Maria de Assis Swinnerton


14:30 / The ACARTE of Madalena Perdigão, a curatorship of lack

Ana Bigotte Vieira

15:00 / We were young, we wanted to conquer Europe and be cosmopolitan. ACARTE was where it all began.

António Pinto Ribeiro

15:30 / Disruption and inspiration: musical plurality promoted by ACARTE

Marco Roque de Freitas
Pedro Roxo

16:00 / ACARTE and CAI: in the beggining was Art as a fundamental element of Education

Helena Simões

Moderator: Rui Vieira Nery


16:45 / Round table: Experimentation, Creation, Collaboration. What is missing, today?

Carlos Bunga
Ekua Yankah
John Romão
Raquel Castro
Rita Fabiana

Moderator: Sofia Victorino

Introduction: Benjamim Weil and Ana Botella

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.

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