Introduction: During the period to be covered by this Report, Barry Shaw the Amigo President became incapacitated at the end of November 2011 and eventually died in May 2012. At the Committee Meeting on November 30th, 2011, before entering into hospital care, he formally transferred responsibility for the Association to me, first as Vice President and after Barry’s demise, as Acting President. It is in this capacity that I shall make this report using meticulously kept and filed records by Barry.
The membership year 2011/12 will go down in the history of our Association as a most tragic and complicated one. In October 2011 Marie Huber decided to put the Centro Cultural on the market and on April 7th, 2012 she officially closed the Gallery. As this space has been the venue for our concert activity, we found ourselves in a precarious situation. Marie eventually declared that she was willing to have us continue making music at her home as before, provided we had a fall-back venue in the event of a sale. Consequently, as long as Marie resides in Centro Cultural the Amigos will be welcome there as before.
In compliance with Marie’s proviso, we researched the situation of relocation in the Central Algarve and I eventually identified and organised with the Teatro Lethes in Faro that this would be the most acceptable alternative for our music activities. The Portuguese actor, Luis Vicente, who is responsible for the theatrical activities at the Teatro, is very agreeable to having us locate our music venue there. He also offered to give our piano a permanent home in the Teatro, should that necessity arise.
Marie is/was content with this solution. She in the meantime found suitable temporary lessors for her gallery and they welcomed our continuing concert activity. With this reassurance as to our venue, we began making plans for the next concert season 2012/2013.
So much for the general background of the situation concerning the Amigos leadership and our venue.
This Report, fortunately, also is concerned with reporting on the very successful and comprehensive music programme organised by Barry Shaw in collaboration with Marie Huber for the period between September 2011 and June 2012. There were 16 concerts given by 8 different artists or groups of artist.
I shall quote from Barry’s October Newsletter re the September and October 2011 concerts:
“In September we began our new year with two concerts which surpassed all our expectations. So much so that many people have said that the Sinaiski Trio gave the finest concerts they had ever heard at São Lourenço. …. But they are a very
hard act to follow.” And: “On the other hand, we have great expectations for (the next concerts) too when we shall have the opportunity to welcome Teresa Krahnert and Nina Gloger who will play 2 concerts for violin and piano. The programme looks fascinating and should please just about everyone.”
And indeed it did.
On November 18th the Amigos Annual General Meeting was held and, as usual, it was followed by a recital of varied piano music by the Amigos’ protégé Ana Beatriz Ferreira. Barry described her like this: “ Ana Beatriz is a charming, clever and courageous
young woman who qualified and was accepted for a much coveted place at the Royal College of Music in London. With the help of her family, the Amigos and other kind and generous sponsors, she has barely scraped together sufficient funds to put her through the 4-year course and she will still need to find further funds to see her through.”
During the following months Beatriz indeed secured another substantial sponsorship from the City of Evora, based on the fact that she was born in that town and deemed eligible for this “scholarship of excellence in the arts”. She has derived an extra dose of motivation from this distinction and she is well on her way to also excel in her studies at RCM. We all are firmly behind her progress and she in turn keeps regular contact with us updating us on her exciting and demanding work in London.
Barry gave his President’s Report at the AGM while he was already an ailing man; he did however not use the occasion to announce his illness, this was left for the next Committee Meeting on November 30th when he asked me to step in while he was seeking medical treatment. (See Minutes of the Committee Meeting of November 30th, 2011). He entered hospital on December 7th and never left it until his passing on May 24th, 2012.
We were thus left to enjoy the Christmas and New Years concerts with Miguel Drago and Pedro Friao without him. They played Classical Guitar in a well-attended and much appreciated festive programme.
February brought the pianist and friend Anne Kaasa back to the Algarve for the third time and the attendance of her concerts at CCSL certainly proved again that she is one of our very popular artists.
Another “old” friend came in March. Paul Crossley gave us two unforgettable evenings of mainly 19th Century
music, his forte, and it seems that tout l’Algarve was keen not to miss these cultural raisins as he was playing to full-house audiences on both evenings.
April was characterised by the huge party bash on April 7th when Marie Huber celebrated the end of her 30-year career with the gallery at Centro Cultural. It seemed as if all of Portugal was there to celebrate with her.
The Amigos’ April contribution was a new pianist, Marianna Shirinyan, an Armenian pianist from Denmark who enchanted with her beauty and winsome personality as much as with her lovely programme which she presented in world-class style.
May was the turn of the Gaudi Quartet. What sensational two evenings we were treated to !! This young Dutch group of musicians gave us the rare opportunity to REALLY enjoy “Hausmusik”, i.e. chamber music in the most intimate way. We have to make sure to include more trios and quartets in our annual planning in the future – what pleasure.
And then the season went out with a genuine debacle: Javier Perianes, the Spanish pianist
who was much anticipated, cancelled at the very last moment – his mother had died. But fortunately Barry and Marie had employed the services of an Agency in London to get Javier, so the Agency felt compelled to help out of this misère and they sent us Ingrid Jacoby. This great American pianist was contacted in mid-Atlantic flight en route to Europe with the proposal to play for us. And weren’t we
lucky? Such beauty, such artistry, such charm and such music !!! We shall certainly have her back.
And so the personally sad, complicated and confused, but also musically rich season came to an end and we fled into the hottest summer of the millennium.
I had to come to terms with the new responsibilities and decided to try and make the best of a challenging situation. The encouragement I received and the faith in me that I felt from committed Amigos gave me enough incentive to look forward to the season of 2012/13 and I promise to not only stand in, but to stand up and be counted.
I thank all the Committee members, especially Margaret Jackson, Annelie Lindroos, Michael Savage and John Perera, as well as the distinguished members of the AGM and the Conselho Fiscal.
Thank you all very much !