Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir
The centrepieces of each Gulbenkian Music Season are, naturally, the concerts by its two groups: the Gulbenkian Choir and the Gulbenkian Orchestra. These two historic ensembles in Portuguese and European music form an important part of each season's programme, in performances with prestigious international soloists and conductors.
The connection to music should start early and the Sunday Concerts, with a commentary, in a relaxed atmosphere designed to be enjoyed by the whole family, are a clear invitation to discover works, composers and artists. The performances in each concert are accompanied by explanations that help contextualise, decode and create a relationship with the music.
In a world increasingly characterized by sensory overload, there are few things as basic and memorable as witnessing a truly great pianist, alone on the stage, completely immersed in an instrument of almost limitless resources. Grigory Sokolov, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, Evgeny Kissin and Arcadi Volodos will continue to remind us why the Piano Cycle attracts the full engagement of the public.
The greatest works of the global repertoire are of limited benefit if they're not interpreted by the most inspired artists. Every year, this cycle brings the major names to the Gulbenkian to breathe new life into any piece ever created. Martha Argerich and Lang Lang are just two examples of this golden touch in a year marked by the residence of Il pomo d'oro.
Between Heaven and Earth
The first of three thematic blocks that will feature in the Gulbenkian Music Season 17/18, Between Heaven and Earth creates bridges between various works exploring the transcendent quality of what lies beyond reason and language. The music embodies an exploration of the beliefs and values of the cultures of different regions, from Bach’s Suites for Cello to Syrian music or sacred Algerian song.
No other instrument is capable of such enchantment. The piano – the star of the Gulbenkian Music seasons thanks to regular performances by the most inspired pianists – is even more prominent this year with Pianomania!. In the mastery of Menahem Pressler, Pedro Burmester and Mário Laginha and the passion of Daniil Trifonov and Yuja Wang, there lies a whole world of discoveries.
War or Peace
In times of war, music often provides the ultimate form of comfort or endurance. In the face of horror and cruelty, the link to beauty and harmony can offer an escape, a temporary refuge and a means of diversion. War or Peace will take us back to key times in history, with Jordi Savall or Joyce DiDonato showing us how music can promote concord.
String Quartets Festival
The possibility of putting together, in just three days, six of today’s most inventive and challenging string quartets, will be a unique experience in this season. Both an excellent opportunity to approach the genre by the amplitude and diversity of multiple musical proposals, and a moment for each listener to discover, or rediscover, mandatory pieces from the chamber music repertoire.
Gulbenkian Orchestra Soloists
The Gulbenkian Orchestra consists of professional musicians of great technical and artistic quality. Throughout the season, they also perform in free chamber music concerts, thus emerging from the anonymity of their roles within the orchestra. While making themselves much more visible, they also make a considerable contribution to a greater appreciation of chamber music as a whole, from the standard repertoire to the premières of new works.
In a time when the abundance of musical approaches suggests the search for new performance formulas, it is up to the younger musician generations to reshape the relationship between artists and their audiences. This is the challenge that we deliver to the young musicians who were selected by ECHO – European Concert Hall Organisation, which embodies some of the most prestigious concert halls in Europe. Among the involved institutions, young musicians of exceptional talent are annually selected to receive training on how to better manage their careers.
Met Opera Live in HD
In just a few years, the award-winning live broadcasts from the New York Metropolitan Opera House to the Grand Auditorium have become a must of every new season. Using cutting-edge technical facilities, Met Opera Live in HD offers us the most extraordinary modern opera productions – from Bellini, Puccini and Donizetti to Massenet and Adès.
Through world music, we can travel without the need for passports. Merely by listening we can journey onto Syrian, Algerian, Lebanese or Spanish soil without leaving our seat. Music has the power to bring us closer, it enables us to discover other peoples and cultures, other traditions and other customs, making the planet smaller and stimulating curiosity and respect for difference.
Jazz em Agosto
Jazz em Agosto has, since 1984, brought to Gulbenkian a showcase of the most creative and innovative examples of jazz and improvised music. Instead of just looking back at the past and the richness of a musical genre that changed the history of music in the 20th century, the festival has become a reference as it seeks new directions and identifies new voices that are reshaping this language in contemporaneity. Amongst many others, the seminal Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and the Art Ensemble of Chicago have all taken to the stage here, along with the new proposals of John Zorn, Mats Gustafsson and Peter Evans.
Our Pre-Concert Talks were created to provide the audience with complementary information about the repertoires to be played in some concerts of the Gulbenkian Music season. These small interventions allow a better understanding of the pieces and composers, with the help of comments and the listening of musical excerpts.