The last concert at São Lourenço

The final concert at the Centro Cultural São Lourenço, sponsored by the Amigos de Música, took place on June 14.

Steven Vanhauwaert, a Belgian-born US-based pianist, played a lively and varied programme including five pieces by Benjamin Britten, one written when he was 12.

The performance of a piece by the composer Veronika Krausas was a highlight of the concert.Veronika was present and described how her work was inspired by the books of China Miéville, an English fantasy fiction author who is fond of describing his writings as “weird fiction”.

Veronika is of Lithuanian heritage, was born in Australia, raised in Canada and lives in Los Angeles where she works at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Steven Vanhauwaert closed with Viktor Ullman’s 7th Piano Sonata. Steven explained that this was written in 1944 whilst Austrian-born Ullman was an inmate in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. Ullman died just days before the liberation.

As an encore, Steven played “Auld Lang Syne” and was joined by the audience of members and guests.

A presentation was made to Marie Huber on behalf of all the ‘Amigos’ to thank her for the “many marvellous concerts” over the years.

The party after the concert was a bittersweet occasion at which Amigos, guests and artists enjoyed wine and canapés on the terrace of the Cultural Centre for the last time.

Although the concerts at São Lourenço are at an end, the Amigos will continue to sponsor young Portuguese musicians as long as funding is available. Presently the Amigos are part-sponsoring Ana Beatriz Ferreira, who is studying at the Royal College of Music in London.

The Amigos de Música can look back on nearly 25 years of sponsorship of musical activities at the Centro Cultural, which, in bringing world-class musicians to the Algarve, greatly enriched the classical music scene.