PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Sept 2008 – June 2009

Published: November 10, 2009

When it was time for the first concert of our new season in September 2008 the financial markets of the world were in a state of uncertainty and disarray. No one could predict what was going to happen next and everyone was worried, but magically the sun was shining and we were due to hear the internationally famous flautist Marc Grauwels and guitarist Yves Storm for the first time. Although the concerts did not quell the stormy financial turmoil, they were good and gave us a small haven of calm amongst the chaos.

In October we welcomed back the delightful pianist Lucy Parham who with the benefit of actors Orla Charlton and Christopher Bramwell, gave us an insight into the extraordinary creative and temperamental life of Franz Liszt with readings from letters liberally interspersed with romantic examples of his music. It was a format first successfully devised by Lucy some years ago when she came across the many letters which had passed between Robert and Clara Schumann. At present Lucy is working on a new entertainment similarly based upon the amazing life of Chopin, his relationship with George Sands and the many letters that passed between them. We hope to be able to be able to include this in

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our 2011 series.

Our annual General Meeting took place on Friday 21st November 2008 when all officers of the Amigos, having come to the end of their two year terms of office, were due either to retire or stand for re-election. After ten year in office our excellent and devoted treasurer, Edwin Bisset had indicated that he would not be standing again. Ted Maitland had offered to take his place but due to an unexpected career move and very much at the last minute, he was unable to fill the post. Kindly Edwin Bisset agreed to temporarily hold the post until such time as a suitable replacement could be found. All other officers being prepared to serve once again were re-elected. After the meeting we were treated to another Gala recital by our Amigos sponsored young musician, Joana Ballmann after which all assembled were the guests of Marie Huber and the  team at the Cultural Centre for an excellent supper.

At the end of December we heard Fritz Moscher and Julian Reim playing Cello and Piano and in early January Uta Kerner, Sunita Mamtani and once again Julian Reim. Both of the concerts were good and both were well attended. In February were heard two Kathryns in concerts excellently played by Kathryn Kruger, Violin and Kathryn Gross, Cello. In March we made our first acquaintance with a bright young Portuguese pianist, Pedro Ferro and in April we were able to welcome back pianist Eric Le Sage who introduced us to a sensitive

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young French compatriot violinist called François Salque. They were both remarkably good concerts.

In May we finally had the much anticipated, long awaited, arrival of the pianist Sa Chen who had so nimbly slipped through our fingers the previous year. In the end she kept her promise and made her debut performance at São Lourenço one year later. When we heard her play it was obvious to all why she had found it so difficult to find space in her calendar for us. With a terrific career already behind her and an even greater one ahead, we were fortunate indeed to have had the privilege of hearing such a charming and gifted young musician.

In June, as we came towards the end of our year, we had the pleasure of hearing the Trio Pangea, three gifted young musicians, one from Spain, another from France, the third from Portugal. June always seems to be a tricky month for concerts. Could it perhaps be that so many people are away visiting friends and family outside Portugal? Records show that more often than not attendances are some of the poorest of the year which is a pity as those of us who do attend often enjoy some rather wonderful music making.On the other hand, when we looked a little further ahead to the Amigos Summer Beachside party at 2Passos Restaurant which was to take place on the 4th of July, we discovered that we had 38 pre-paid reservations in hand before the end of the month.

Early in 2009, with the invaluable help of Cristina at the Cultural Centre, we were able to design and introduce a new and very much more distinguished logo which now appears regularly, wherever possible. The design was soon to be incorporated into a handsome new Amigos badge which has also come into existence this year. Finally and probably most importantly of all, an Amigos de Música web site was created from scratch and was launched into the ether early in 2009. Once again we needed to turn to friends for help and no one could have been more encouraging and helpful than Frank Schmidt of Quinta Properties Ltd, who put it all together for us and taught our secretary, Margaret Jackson and John Perera how to organise and maintain it. Since then we have been able to trim and tweek the site so that anyone wanting to know anything about us can easily navigate through the site to

discover who we are, what we do, what we have done and what we are going to do in the future. Our programmes, newsletters, press releases and membership details are there for all to see. It is a wonderful facility, quite appropriate to our existence which takes us one step further into the outside world.

On a personal note I must mention the wonderful support and encouragement the Direcção committee has given me at every one of our regular and well attended meetings throughout the year; Helga Hampton has been my wonderful Vice President; Margaret Jackson continues to be the best Secretary one could ever wish for; Loyal Edwin Bisset, who kindly stepped back in and held the fort as treasurer; John Perera, who continued too as an excellent Press Officer and finally Larry Hampton who is always on hand and can be reled upon for his useful advice.

The year 2008-2009 has been successful.The concerts have been good, the general ambience and feeling of good will and camaraderie which exists between the Amigos has been, as always, evident at every concert. It was a wonderful year.








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