A Survey by Helga Hampton

November 2016

Our present 'sponsoree'; ANA BEATRIZ FERREIRA

Our present ‘sponsoree’; ANA BEATRIZ FERREIRA


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 – an upper limit set at 110 p. a. – but also a multitude of very generous members, who contributed to the budget with extra donations on a regular basis. The sponsorship of “needy” (a pre-requisite according to the AAMSL Statutes) young Portuguese musicians thus began in 1994 with the young pianist Nelson Martins.


Nelson, the only son of a Quarteira postman, 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 5 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. This has since become a tradition.


The opportunity to give public performances is a valuable benefit of our sponsorship.


Nelson, now 40 years of age, decided to add a more “concrete” discipline to his education and began oceanography studies at the Faro University. He was able to augment the expenses of his graduate studies by playing piano in most of the top hotels in the Algarve. At the Amigos concerts he became indispensible as the proud official page turner for many of our pianists. He has today a PhD after defending a thesis on underwater acoustics, is married to an equally accomplished colleague and both work in a Canadian research laboratory in Toronto. I am sure the piano will always play an important part in their lives. I wish them well.


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 sponsorship 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 Silva Marques I found 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 sponsorship, i.e. a deserving, needy, Portuguese (!) music student. Nuno was in his first year on a scholarship offered by the Gulbenkian Foundation. Our additional sponsorship paid for a couple of airplane tickets between London and home, and also made it possible to have a piano moved into his digs in London, so that he would no longer have to go from piano store to piano store for practice hours. One of his teachers at the Guildhall was Artur Pizarro. Nuno graduated in 2004 and in the intervening years gave us examples of his progress at each AGM. He became a founder member of the Trio “Vianna da Motta” with whom he played not only in the presence of the President of Portugal, but also internationally. The Trio also recorded some CDs. I received the following mail from him on April 20, 2013.

Meanwhile Nuno has done his PhD in New York and has worked as a performing pianist in the United States. He participated in the World Piano Congress in Serbia giving master classes. At International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain, he worked and taught young students together with professors from Juillard, Oberlin and Penn State. He is at the moment planning his first concert tour in China. The Amigos are looking forward to inviting him to Os Agostos for a series of recitals as soon as he is available.

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 formation in Brasil and I hope that she will at some point come to our notice again.


Antonio Cebola was to become our next protegé. He had been the declared winner of the Paul Crossley / AAMSL Masterclasses in 2010, which resulted in a public recital at the Vale do Lobo Auditorium in November 2010, where he admirably acquitted himself by playing a demanding programme, but he showed a great lack of performing charisma. And when he then failed to be accepted by any of the Music Academies he had applied to (Madrid, London, New York), we had to make the uncomfortable decision of terminating our sponsorship proposition. Antonio is now teaching music at the Music Academy of Cascais.


Ana Beatriz Ferreira. Again with the help of Anne Kaasa, we soon found a more suitable recipient for our support which, in the meantime, had received an amazing partner! The Foundation “Mundo Crastino Migliore” of Amigos Dorris and Joop Carp, agreed to match the AAMSL sponsorship for our newest sponsoree. So, Ana Beatriz, who was born in Lisbon in 1991, was able to accept the place she had been offered at the Royal College of Music in London after finishing studies at the Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa. Unfortunately she is totally dependent on financial help as her parents have no possibility of paying the expensive school fees and the cost of life away from home. Ana Beatriz’ first teacher at RCM was Ruth Nye, M.B.E., who writes in April 2011: “I am writing to recommend this very gifted young Portuguese pianist. The financial situation for so many dedicated young artists is now so precarious and we, sadly, are seeing first-class talent having to refuse well-deserved places in top musical institutions. Ana Beatriz has been offered a place to study with me , which has been her goal, and now she sees her dream shattering because of lack of funds. Ana Beatriz has been given unique gifts – she is disciplined, hard-working and unusually pianistically talented. She needs the opportunity to develop her gifts….”
The Amigos were able to offer and pursue their sponsorship of this talented young pianist over the 5 years of her studies in London. In June 2016 she finished her Master of Performance with Distinction at the Royal College of Music in London and is now taking her Doctorate degree at the University of Aveiros. We wish her luck for an amazing future and hope to always stay in with her and her career.




















Helga Hampton



email: helga.hampton@btinternet.com

mobile: 919 154 189