Orpheon Portuense

The Orpheon Portuense was founded in 1881 by the violinist, composer, conductor, pedagogue and musicologist Bernardo Moreira de Sá. Since its creation until the late 20th century, it played an important role in boosting Porto’s music scene. In addition to promoting musical activity at amateur level amongst its associates – whether in choral or chamber music - the Orpheon Portuense excelled in organizing concerts, swiftly becoming the most important concert promoter in the city throughout the 20th century. The international careers of major Portuguese artists such as Guilhermina Suggia found their initial impulse in the concerts of Orpheon Portuense. Great soloists, orchestras and international conductors have presented themselves for the first time in Portugal at the invitation of the Orpheon Portuense, which had a decisive role in the dissemination of new repertoires in Portugal, in the animation of various cultural spaces in the city of Porto and neighboring districts, as well as on the production of new works by Portuguese composers, in influencing audiences, and in stimulating musical excellence at the most diverse levels.

 

Recently, the Orpheon Portuense was extinct as a society (the oldest Society of Concerts in the Iberian Peninsula) leaving a documentary estate (with more than 3,000 documents) of its whole activity, and which has been donated to Fundação Casa da Musica; it can now be found at its media library, after having been subject to inventory. This collection represents a priceless heritage for the characterization of Porto’s musical life since late 19th century. Its most significant part consists of music sheets, programs, press clippings, photographs of artists (many of which autographed), diplomas, administrative documentation and advertising materials.

 

The Foundation Casa da Música makes available this spoil for analysis by students, researchers and scholars in the fields of music history and the city of Porto.

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