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Double concert to "return home" and to the orchestra where one was once happy

Three former students of the National Academy of Advanced Orchestral Studies (ANSO) return home this Thursday and Friday as soloists of Orquestra Académica Metropolitana (OAM) in the double concert that will take place in Setúbal and Lisbon. A way of honouring the nearly 400 students who graduated from ANSO in these almost 30 years of Metropolitana’s life.

Sara, João and Vítor. Three names, three musicians, three different stories. In common, the same passion and the same school. Sara Dias, João Moreira and Vítor Vieira graduated from the National Academy of Advanced Orchestral Studies. From ANSO they followed their artistic lives to other places. Now they return for two days to perform with OAM, the orchestra in which they played when they were in University.

“This is a homecoming,” confesses John. “I was delighted with the invitation,” adds Sara. “They were incredible times, I’m going back to a place where I was very happy,” underlines Vítor.

This is the spirit of the Copland / Ravel / Franck programme, the double concert that OAM gives this Thursday, at 9pm, at Fórum Municipal Luísa Todi, in Setúbal, and Friday at the same time, at the Auditorium of Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The three former students will join the Orchestra, conducted by Jean-Marc Burfin.

The suite Quiet City by Copland focuses on João Moreira and Sara Dias. The exuberance of Ravel’s Tzigane transfigures the violin of Vítor Vieira. To conclude, the orchestra interprets a work premiered in 1889 in another great school, the Paris Conservatoire. It is the Symphony in D Minor by César Franck.

João Moreira

The three soloists do not hide their satisfaction for this return, even though the trumpeter João Moreira, who graduated from ANSO in 2010, is now an effective member of the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, the older sister, and professional, of Metropolitana.

“The time I studied here was very rewarding. It was a time of great learning in orchestral practice. I felt a great development of my skills and I owe a lot to several teachers”, says the 32-year-old musician, who mentions Sérgio Charrinho and Jean-Marc Burfin. He adds that “the objective is always to make good music and take advantage of each experience to evolve, to add, to grow”. “That is what we are going to do in this double concert”, João concludes.

Vítor Vieira

At 38 years of age, Vítor Vieira sees this return to OAM as “a return to a place of happiness”: it was at Metropolitana that the violinist met the three companions with whom he formed the Matosinhos String Quartet. “Metropolitana will always be a special place. I am part of a string quartet. We all met there, we all studied there. We made friends there. So, naturally, I can only have good memories”, he says.

Vítor Vieira, who attended ANSO between 2000 and 2004, remembers that “it was a very productive time, a very important phase of life, between adolescence and adulthood”.

When he left Lisbon, he went to do his Master’s in the United States and spent a year in Spain with friends, where they studied chamber music. “When we returned, we formed the quartet. The Matosinhos City Hall opened the competition and we applied”.

Sara Dias, aged 27, is the youngest of the three soloists who will take the stage at Luísa Todi and Auditório of Nova. Although the oboe is her instrument of choice, she will play the English horn, “an instrument that is not taught in schools”.

Sara Dias

“I was delighted with this invitation, which has a special flavour. Not only do I really like the maestro, but I will also be playing a spectacular piece, in a concert that is special because it is part of the Metropolitana’s 30th anniversary commemorations”, she says.

Sara has no doubts: “Much of what I am today as a musician and as a person I learnt there with the teachers Pedro Ribeiro and Sally Dean, for example. They were excellent times, when I shared a lot of experience with the orchestra and built repertoire”.

When she left ANSO in 2016, Sara Dias took her Master’s in Performance in Oporto, went to Germany on Erasmus and when she returned she took up her role as a freelancer, which has allowed her to play with Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa and Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra.