HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE AMIGOS DE MÙSICA – 30 YEARS OF GREAT MUSIC

The Amigos de Música celebrated its 30th birthday this September in exuberant and gleeful style, with a gala dinner and musical evening in the marquee of its beloved home venue of Os Agostos near Sta Barbara de Nexe.

It was in 1991 that Christine, Lady Vavasour, in cooperation with Marie and Volker Huber, started the Amigos. It was her intention to enhance the cultural life of the Algarve by bringing in a steady stream of world class musicians to share their exceptional talents with the local community. Her motivation, in the Algarve’s multi-national community, was that music brings people together. It is universal and transcends all boundaries of communication. It unites.

That she, and her successors, Barry Shaw and, for 19 of the 30 years, Helga Hampton, have succeeded is beyond dispute. Today there are 15 nationalities represented in the Amigos’ membership. Importantly, during their illustrious lifetime the Amigos have attracted 170 different artists from 30 different countries around the world. Many of those artists have so much enjoyed their reception by a knowledgeable, respectful and appreciative audience (not to mention their lovely Algarve vacation) that they have happily returned for repeat performances.

Mikhail Shumov

So the Amigos did indeed have something to celebrate. And they did it in style with lovely tapas and wine and, of course, beautiful music. The tent full of celebrants were entertained by a string quartet called the Vol’Art Ensemble, a group created by an experienced Amigos performer, Mikhail Shumov. A Russian by birth, Mischa is, in fact, married to a Portuguese lady, is principal cellist of the Orquestra Clássica do Sul and teaches at the Loulé Conservatory.

It has always been an objective of the Amigos to support Portuguese musicians and, fittingly, the other three Vol’Art players were Francisco Lourenço, viola, João Castro, 1st violin, and Sara Cymbron, 2nd violin. The published programme included works by Ravel, Borodin and Dvorak, but the Amigos‘ rapturous response elicited a number of encores.

Helga Hampton was presented with a lovely bouquet in appreciation of all the time and effort she has invested as President, and, in her brief remarks, she thanked the very many people who had supported, and continue to support the Amigos over the years, including most importantly the group’s principal sponsors, QP-Savills, and Maria and Antonio Farajotta, owners of Os Agostos, the Amigos’ beautiful home.

It was a gorgeous and thrilling evening, and the stars shone in every sense. Long live the Amigos and long live music!