Amigos de Musica Helga Hampon and Paul Crossley.JPG

A cultural pioneer of the Algarve turns 25 years

Association Amigos de Música celebrated its 25th anniversary on April 28. A group of members and guests gathered in the late evening sunshine at Os Agostos country estate near Bordeira for a pre-concert champagne reception.

The musician for this anniversary was British pianist, Paul Crossley. But before the concert, Amigos president Helga Hampton welcomed all those present and summarised the various achievements of the association over the past quarter century.

During this time, the Amigos de Música has basically tried to stimulate the early cultural awakening of the developing Algarve with music played by world class artists.

She said: “The Amigos de Música was founded in 1991, when the Algarve was a neglected corner of a country with a great history and just coming into European consciousness as a holiday destination, bringing more and more foreign residents here who looked for sun, sea, sand and golf. But there was a lack of a cultural element. This is when the Centro Cultural and we, the Amigos de Música, came to the fore. We invited some of the finest musicians to the Algarve.

“We organised ourselves on the basis of a private membership, non-profit organisation and, as we grew, an ever growing and ever generous membership, together with good sponsorship, made it possible for us to add a charitable aspect to our activities. Another reason to be proud.”

Paul Crossley gave the evening a most celebratory and festive note by playing works by Schumann, Brahms and Granados. An encore by Bach was dedicated by Paul to several Amigos who no longer are among us.

Over the years, the Amigos’ sponsorship of young Portuguese musicians has helped promising music students financially with their studies abroad. Helga Hampton read thank you notes from Nuno Marques and Ana Beatriz Ferreira, two young pianists helped by the Amigos: Nuno is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and now an international concert pianist, and Ana Beatriz is just finishing a Masters degree from the Royal College of Music in London.

The Amigos thanked the hosts of their new venue, Maria and Antonio Farajotta, for giving the Amigos a new home after the Centro Cultural closed in 2014. Guests and non-members are welcome to come to the concerts.

Photo: Amigos de Música president Helga Hampon and British pianist Paul Crossley