Published: March 20, 2022


A Survey by Helga Hampton

SCHOLARSHIP for Young Portuguese Music Students


The Association of Amigos de Musica, formed from the start as a non-profit organisation, was soon fortunate in attracting not only a very full membership – but also a multitude of very generous members, who contributed to the budget with extra donations on a regular basis. The scholarship of “needy” (a pre-requisite according to the AAMSL Statutes) young Portuguese musicians thus began in 1994 and the Amigos have so far been able to provide support in different ways and according to individual needs to a number of recipients, but mainly towards their aim of continuing and further studies abroad. Besides helping financially, other valuable benefits of our scholarship are practical advice via our well-connect international artists as well as the offer of first public performances in Portugal.

Our new protege for 2022/2023 is Luis Miguel S. Tolda, who was recommended to us by the Lisbon Conservatory where he finished his piano studies with honours.He has chosen the
Conservatory of Den Haag in the Netherlands as the place for his continuing education
He writes:

“I was born in the 22nd of June 2004 in Almada, and that is where I have lived primarily with my mother.

I started playing the piano when I was five years old, and was accepted at the LisbonConservatory with professor Inês Várzea when I was seven, with whom I have been until I finished last year.
In the Conservatory, besides piano, I also studied composition and jazz piano.
My hobbies include: reading (novels, poetry and nonfiction), surfing occasionally, watching films,
listening to music and going out with friends.
I aspire to be a musician, but I am not entirely sure if I want to be a pianist, a composer, or a director, 
still finding myself and exploring, which I think is the most important. 
I would like to be the most happy in what I’m doing, so I must not choose hastily.
As of a source of support, I have my parents, and possibly a scholarship that the (lisbon) national conservatory gives it’s alumni.”


Tiago Rosario was the most recent student we supported before Luis.

He was supported by us during his studies in Munster, Germany, where he graduated with top marks in 2021.  He is now continuing his studies at the Mannes School in New York City and we wish him all the very best for the future.
(The Amigos` Young Music Student Scholarship only applies to studies within Europe.)

Before Tiago, Ana Beatriz Ferreira was our protegee from 2011 until 2016. She received our scholarship purse during those 5 years which was matched by the Foundation “Mundo Crastino Migliore” of Amigos Dorris and Joop Carp.

Let me copy here her website:  Recently described as ‘a truly superb interpreter’ by the critic Robert Matthew-Walker from The Classical Source, Ana Beatriz Ferreira is one of the most recognised Portuguese pianists of the new generation.

She has recently graduated from the Royal College of Music, in London, where she finished both her Bachelor of Music and Master in Performance degrees with high marks. She studied with Ruth Nye MBE, a former pupil of Claudio Arrau, Dina Parakhina, a prestigious Russian pianist and pedagogue, and Gordon Fergus-Thompson, a renowned pianist and professor.

Ana Beatriz is now centered in Cardiff where she is working on her PhD in Concert Performance. Going from time to time to Portugal for her research .

On March 31st, 2019 she played the second Piano Concerto by the Portuguese composer, Joly Braga Santos in St. David`s Hall in Cardiff to great applause.

As partner in her own contemporary music group she played on April 5th in Caerphilly and on April 10th, 2019 with the University`s String Orchestra.

She is winner of several prizes and awards, including 1st Prize at Maria Christina Pimentel National Piano Competition, 1st Prize at Lopes-Graça National Piano Competition, four consecutive Merit and Excellence Awards by Eugénio de Almeida Foundation and a Merit award by the Portuguese Ministry of Education for her academic achievements.

Our very first protégé in 1994 was Nelson Martins. He was from Quarteira, and was recommended to us by the Faro Conservatory, where he stood out as a very promising piano student. The Amigos made it financially possible for him to have extra lessons with the eminent Faro teacher, Dona Sylvina. Over five years we were able to follow his progress when Nelson was invited to give the assembled AAMSL membership a recital following each of their Annual General Meetings.

Sarah Bernadino, was recommended to us in 1997 by Raquel Correia, professor at the Portimao Conservatory as a 15-year old outstanding piano student in need of some financial help. With our scholarship she worked her way up to graduate in Oporto at the highest level of music studies. She teaches music and piano at secondary schools in the North. She kept in touch and has always been very grateful to the Amigos.

Nuno da Silva Marques was chosen as our sponsoree in 2001 with the help of the Director of London’s Guildhall School of Music, whom I had asked for an appropriate candidate for our scholarship, i.e. a deserving, Portuguese music student. In the meantime Nuno has gone from success to success and here is an excerpt here from his updated website:

Award-winning Portuguese pianist Nuno da Silva Marques is currently based in New York City where he is pursuing his doctoral degree at Rutgers University with Prof. Min Kwon.
His previous studies include an Advanced Diploma in piano at NYU- Steinhardt School with Prof. José Ramón Méndez where he was awarded the prestigious Reinhold Scholarship which supported his studies and granted him the opportunity to make his New York concert debut. Nuno graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he studied with Artur Pizarro and Caroline Palmer. He has also completed his Master’s Degree in Advanced Piano Performance at the Royal College of Music in London, with Neil Immelman and a second Master’s degree in Instrumental Pedagogy, at the Aveiro University, Portugal. His studies have been sponsored by the European Union (Dfes), NYU- Reinhold Foundation, Fundação Gulbenkian and the AAMSL.

 As a soloist Mr. Marques performed with the Artave Orchestra and the Orquestra do Norte (Portugal), and recorded for Antena 2 Radio Portugal and Centro Atlântico.
He is committed to chamber music and is a founding member of the Vianna da Motta Piano Trio with whom he recorded a CD for Centro Atlantico. The Vianna da Motta Piano Trio were prizewinners at the Prémio Jovens Músicos competition (Portugal) and were also invited to play for the President and the Prime Minister of Portugal. His most recent concerts took him to countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, England, Germany, Serbia and Switzerland where he performed at renowned music halls and festivals.
In 2015 Nuno embarked on an eight concert tour in China and had his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York. Nuno Marques is the founder and artistic director of the annual Porto Pianofest.

Joana Marta Cruz Ballmann became the recipient of our purse in 2007, being recommended by the pianist and professor at Lisbon ESML, Anne Kaasa. Our financial assistance helped her accept a 3-year study at the Cologne Conservatory in Germany. She gave us Amigo recitals at the respective AGMs and proved herself a very talented, serious and more and more accomplished pianist. She is pursuing her piano studies in Brasil and I hope that she will at some point come to our notice again.

We wish her and all our protegees over the years, luck for an amazing future and we hope to always stay in touch with them and to following their careers.

Helga Hampton

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