4th January, 2011
Casa da Musica
When I came to Porto for the first time in 2006 I did not know the city at all. Imagine how surprised I was by the two very diverse faces of the city: The River versus the Atlantic Ocean, the hills very high up versus the very low riverside, tradition versus modernity, deeply Portuguese elements versus the international influx, Porto versus Gaia, the old town versus Casa da Musica – both sides always very pronounced.
More surprised was I, though, by the immeasurable effort and restless activity of a hard-core of music and arts enthusiasts who had driven the project Casa da Musica against all prevailing winds and human inertia. Had driven it so far, that there she was: CASA DA MUSICA, alive and with every day of her existence more an icon of the modern facet of Porto.
But the most exciting and surprising element was the almost extravagant and multi-faceted programming, which filled the venue with life in a way most other cities in Europe can only dream of. Particularly in an environment where concert hall and orchestra managers alike feel a lot of pressure to sell tickets. In Porto we have such a well balanced, young and curious public that we are enabled to take risks, to offer truly open-minded programmes like the Xenakis Project in the Car Park or the Riehm “Das Lesen der Schrift” in between the single movements of Brahms Requiem. The musical range spans from the most contemporary of contemporary music with our Remix Ensemble, via my Orquestra Sinfonica, to the evenings of Clubbing, when loads of youngsters crowd every angle of the building.
I am very glad to be a part of it, and even if the Symphony Orchestra is not able to boast a tradition of centuries, it is particularly rewarding that I can contribute to its further development and its increasing role in the family of European orchestras.