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Rui Cabral Lopes completed the General Composition Course at the Conservatory of Music in Porto. He has a degree in Musical Sciences from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and, at this institution, he obtained a master’s degree in the specialty of Historical Musicology. With a scholarship from the Foundation for Science and Technology, in 2007 he completed his PhD in Music and Musicology at the University of Évora, under the scientific guidance of Rui Vieira Nery.
He collaborated with the weekly O Independente and with Rádio Difusão Portuguesa, «Rádio Cultura». He was a researcher at the Center for Musicological Studies of the National Library of Lisbon and was part of the Technical Support Office of the Music Service of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He was deputy director and editor of the Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia, published by the Associação Portuguesa de Ciências Musicais.
He is the author of several articles on Portuguese music published in magazines, collective works and specialized dictionaries, highlighting the following: «Ensaya a Dança, y prosegue: ethnicity and “exoticism” in the villancicos de negros of the Portuguese Royal Chapel, during the seventeenth-century» in Maria Alice Volpe, ed., Revista Brasileira de Música, vol. 30 No. 1 (2017); «The Vilancico in the reign of D. João V: between the persistence of custom and the change of liturgical-musical paradigms» in João Pedro d’Alvarenga and Manuel Deniz Silva, eds., Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia, Nova Série, vol. 1 No. 1 (2014); «The repertoire of vilancicos of the Portuguese Royal Chapel (1640-1716): sociolinguistic vectors, musical implications and symbolic representation of the royal power» in Maria Alice Volpe, ed., Revista Brasileira de Música, vol. 25 No. 2 (2013); «Archives and Collections – Profane Classical Music», «Carneiro, Cláudio (Pinto de Queiroz Teixeira)», «Duarte, Filipe», «Lisbon Contemporary Music Group» (co-authored with Catarina Latino) and «Lambert, Lucien» in Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco, coord., Encyclopedia of Music in Portugal in the 20th Century (2010); «Polyphony in Braga’s liturgy (first half of the 16th century)», co-authored with João Pedro d’Alvarenga, in Manuel Pedro Ferreira, coordinator, A Catedral de Braga (2009); «Religiosity, power and aspects of social representation in the villancicos of the Portuguese Royal Chapel» in Tess Knighton and Álvaro Torrente, eds., Devotional Music in the Iberian World, 1450-1800 – The villancico and related genres (2007 / Stevenson Award – American Musicological Society, 2008).
He presented communications within the scope of musicology conferences held in national and foreign institutions (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, University of Évora, New University of Lisbon, Casa da Música, International University of Andalusia, University of Leeds, University of Southampton and Università degli studi di Pavia ).
Performs teaching functions at the National Academy of Orchestra and at the Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa. He is an integrated researcher at INET-MD, Institute of Ethnomusicology – Center for Music and Dance Studies of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, with poles at the University of Lisbon, University of Aveiro and Polytechnic Institute of Porto. He is also part of the international team responsible for the Catalog descriptivo de pliegos de villancicos, a project based at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Gobierno de España.