The Amigos de Música celebrated their 30th birthday this September in style, with a gala dinner and musical evening in the marquee of its home venue of Os Agostos near Sta Bárbara de Nêxe.
It was in 1991 that Christine, Lady Vavasour, in cooperation with Marie and Volker Huber, started the Amigos. It was her intention to enhance the cultural life of the Algarve by bringing in a steady stream of world-class musicians to share their talents with the local community. Her motivation, in the Algarve’s multi-national community, was that music brings people together. It is universal and transcends all boundaries of communication. It unites.
That she and her successors, Barry Shaw and, for 19 of the 30 years, Helga Hampton, have succeeded is beyond dispute. Today, there are 15 nationalities represented in the Amigos’ membership. Importantly, during their illustrious lifetime, the Amigos have attracted 170 different artists from 30 different countries around the world.
Many of those artists have so much enjoyed their reception by a knowledgeable, respectful and appreciative audience (not to mention their lovely Algarve vacation) that they have happily returned for repeat performances.
So, the Amigos did indeed have something to celebrate. And they did it in style with tapas and wine and, of course, beautiful music. The tent full of celebrants were entertained by a string quartet called the Vol’Art Ensemble, a group created by an experienced Amigos performer, Mikhail Schumov. A Russian by birth, Mischa is, in fact, married to a Portuguese lady, is principal cellist of the Orquestra Clássica do Sul and teaches at the Loulé Conservatory.
It has always been an objective of the Amigos to support Portuguese musicians and, fittingly, the other three Vol’Art players were Francisco Lourenço, viola, João Castro, 1st violin, and Sara Cymbron, 2nd violin. The published programme included works by Ravel, Borodin and Dvorak, but the Amigos’ rapturous response elicited a number of encores.
Helga Hampton was presented with a bouquet in appreciation of all the time and effort she has invested as president, and, in her brief remarks, she thanked the many people who had supported, and continue to support the Amigos over the years, including, most importantly, the group’s principal sponsors, QP Savills, and Maria and Antonio Farrajota, owners of Os Agostos, the Amigos’ home.