Young Israeli pianist Ido Zeev

Algarve orchestra stages successful debut

If one of the goals of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Algarve is to provide a showcase of young professional musicians, then the dramatic opening chords of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the hands of Ido Zeev certainly heralded a brilliant start for this new regional orchestra.

The young Israeli pianist presented this famous concerto with the customary panache balanced with melodic sensitivity that Tchaikovsky requires in artistic interpretation. The audience in the Teatro das Figuras of Faro were very appreciative of his rendition on this special occasion of the debut concert and the International Music Day on October 1. The second half presented works from the film scores of John Williams and Ennio Morricone.

These days, often the introduction to symphonic orchestra arrangements is presented to the listening public through the medium of film scores. So, to hear these familiar themes without the distraction of visual images allows the appreciation of the intricate interlacing of such orchestrations.

In this manner, the programme also permitted the conductor to present some young Algarvean violinists as soloists. José Nuno Matias of Aljezur and Francisca Brito of Portimão are both studying for Masters degrees at the prestigious college, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and returned for this inaugural concert to perform the ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and ‘Schindler’s List’ themes, accompanied by their colleagues in the Orquestra Sinfónica. Both sensitive renditions were received with enthusiasm by the audience.

For the second concert in the Grand Auditorium of Salgados Palace Congress Centre on Saturday, October 2, the programme order was altered to include the special guest accordionist Gonçalo Pescada, accompanied by the orchestra instead of the piano concerto, and a couple of extra film scores, including a wonderful interpretation of Gabriel’s Oboe from ‘The Mission’.

As well as the special guests and individual soloists, there were memorable solo moments from members of the orchestra, the first clarinet and the cor anglais for example, but the full brass section added gravitas to the fanfare marches and the perfect unison in the strings added to the overall spectacle.

It was, however, a triumph of commitment to the importance of music and culture in our lives; from the support of the local community in attending the event, the venues for hosting the concerts despite the recent inconveniences, the local authorities for the support to the project and, lastly, these young professionals whose artistic stage careers have been on hold for these last two years. It has to be hoped that appetites have been whetted for more concerts of this genre and that future events will be equally memorable. Congratulations to all concerned.

Pianist Ido Zeev says…
“On October 1, I played the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in Faro, Portugal, together with the new Orquestra Sinfónica do Algarve and Maestro Armando Mota. This orchestra was founded to give young and talented musicians in Portugal the possibility to perform; therefore, supporting this project seems to me very interesting and an act of very high importance. Three days before the flight, I was told that a pianist had cancelled her arrival and they needed a pianist to replace her. I was delighted to take on this adventure and to come back to this concerto which I had not performed for more than three years.

“The public was so warm, enthusiastic and listened very carefully to every moment of silence in the music; this is a great gift for the performer. The players and myself had a very good chemistry, as I could sense, and I am very happy that the organisation, including Maestro Mota, had taken upon themselves to unite this body. I wish them the best of luck! I was also very happy to see beautiful Portugal, although only a very small part of it; however, I hope to come back here very soon!”

By CAROLYN ELLISON

Photos: NELSON NUNES

Francisca Brito
José Nuno Matias
Conductor Armando Mota
Young Israeli pianist Ido Zeev
The new Orquestra Sinfónica do Algarve performing at Teatro das Figuras, Faro