In a ceremony held last week, the President of the Foundation, Isabel Mota, recalled the “unique stamp” that the maestro left on the history of the choral movement in Portugal” and which led to significant international recognition of the Gulbenkian Choir. Before members of the maestro’s family, former and current choir members, among other guests, Isabel Mota praised his “contagious enthusiasm” and his “profound creativity”, and expressed how fitting it was to attribute his name to the choir’s room, so that “his memory may be saluted and always celebrated”. The President of the Foundation also mentioned that “this gesture will help to keep alive the inspiring spirit that Michel Corboz was for everyone, both on and off stage”.
Deceased in September last year at the age of 87, the Swiss maestro conducted his first concert with the Choir in December 1969, which was followed by a series of countless concerts, many of which remain associated with the best moments of the Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra, both in live performances, in Portugal and abroad, and in recordings.
Throughout his career Michel Corboz has made 37 recordings with the Gulbenkian Choir, many of which have won international awards: Carissimi’s Jephte (1972), Charpentier’s Le jugement Dernier (1979) and Mendelssohn’s Lauda Sion (1979), awarded the Grand Prix of the Académie Charles Cros; Mozart’s Requiem (1976, Prix Académie National du Disque), Mendelssohn’s Paulus (1988, Prix Berlioz 1989) and Honegger’s La Danse des Morts (1990, Orphée d’Or 1991).
He also performed many memorable concerts and toured internationally with the Gulbenkian Choir throughout South America, Israel, Macao, France, Italy and Spain, amongst other destinations.