Maestro Armando Mota wants to create Algarve Symphony Orchestra

The time has come for the Algarve to have its very own Symphony Orchestra. So says maestro Armando Mota, who has been working on the idea for the four years that he has been organising the Algarve International Piano Festival.

“The need to create our own symphony orchestra has become evident,” Mota told Barlavento newspaper, adding that the price of hiring outside orchestras for these festivals is very high.

As he explained, these orchestras usually comprise between 60 and 80 musicians, which for organisers translates into paying for their accommodations, meals and travels.

“It’s very expensive,” he said. “We were only able to do it thanks to the 365 Algarve programme,” the maestro admitted.

However, there will be one main challenge to overcome to create this regional orchestra – the lack of professional musicians in the Algarve.

“We will have to do what many other orchestras do, which is hire musicians according to the needs of their schedule. Our short-term goal is to hire fewer musicians from outside of the region,” said Mota.

To do this, the orchestra will focus on “supporting the Algarve’s aspiring musicians who want to become professional musicians and giving them the opportunity to evolve artistically.”

According to Mota, a very low budget is required to create the orchestra.

“It would equate to the revenue from two concerts,” he stressed.

Having a regional symphony orchestra would not only help event organisers save money but it would also create more jobs for locals, at a time when the pandemic has plunged the region –much like the rest of the world – into a crisis.

“The pandemic has exposed the fragilities of the national artistic fabric,” said the maestro.

“The Algarve was the region most affected by Covid-19 from a social and economic point of view, but the government has categorically ignored the region and its need. If the region’s Central Hospital is delayed year after year, if the EN125 road is what we all know it is, the A22 motorway is infamous, if the 365 Algarve programme has disappeared, if we are all on the road to misery and these pressing needs aren’t answered, how can artists hope to claim anything,” he questioned.

Still, he remains hopeful.

“I hope I will be able to fulfil this dream,” he said, adding that at least locally he knows he can count on the support of Portimão Council and Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes, who has supported the Algarve International Piano Festival since its first edition.

Original article written by Bruno Filipe Pires for Barlavento newspaper.