Composer and Conductor
Nuno Côrte-Real has come to be seen as one of the most important Portuguese composers currently active. Amongst his significant premières are 7 Dances to the death of the harpist in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Pequenas músicas de mar in the Purcell Room in London, Concerto Vedras at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in New York, Novíssimo Cancioneiro at the Siglufirdi Festival in Rejkiavik and Andarilhos - música de bailado at Casa da Música in Oporto. The ensembles which have performed his music include the Remix Ensemble, Royal Scottish Academy Brass, the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, Orchestrutopica, and solists and conductors such as Lawrence Renes, Julia Jones, Stefan Asbury, Ilan Volkov, Kaasper de Roo, Cristoph Konig, David Alan Miller, Paul Crossley, John Wallace, Mats Lidström and Cesário Costa.
Recordings of his music include Portuguese traditional songs on the Portugal Som and Numérica labels, Pequenas Músicas de Mar on Deux-Elles, the ballet Andarilhos on Numérica in coproduction with the Casa da Música, and Largo Intimíssimo on the Austrian label Classic Concert Records.
In the field of opera and theatre, Côrte-Real has worked with Michael Hampe, André Teodósio, Maria Emília Correia, Paulo Matos, Margarida Bettencourt and others. In June and September 2007 his chamber operas A Montanha and O Rapaz de Bronze were given, with great success, at the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Casa da Música, respectively. In March 2011 the opera Banksters was premièred at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, to a libretto by Vasco Graça Moura and with staging by João Botelho, a production which was uniquely successful in the recent history of Portuguese contemporary music.
As a conductor, Nuno Côrte-Real has directed the Algarve Orchestra, Orchestra of the North (Portugal), the I Maestri Symphony Orchestra (London), the Metropolitan Academic Orchestra (Portugal), the Beiras Philharmonic Orchestra (Portugal), Orchestrutopica (Porttugal), the Ensemble Darcos (Portugal), and the Camerata du Rhône (Lyon). He is the founder and artistic director of the Ensemble Darcos, a chamber group dedicated to the performance of his own music and that of the great European repertoire, and he artistic director of the Temporada Darcos, a series of symphonic and chamber concerts which take place at the Teatro-Cine in Torres Vedras, Portugal. In 2011, Nuno Côrte-Real released the CD VOLUPIA, the first monographic disc of his chamber music.
The Ensemble Darcos was created in 2002, in the city of Faro, Portugal, by the composer and conductor Nuno Côrte-Real. In its basic formation, clarinet, violin, viola, ‘cello and piano, it comprises the outstanding musicians Filipe Quaresma, Helder Marques, Reyes Gallardo, Fausto Corneo and Gaël Rassaert. The Ensemble’s repertoire is centred around the idea of the performance of the Great European composers of chamber music, such as Beethoven, Brahms and Debussy, and the music of Nuno Côrte-Real; this relationship gives it the character of an author’s project.
Instrumentally, the Ensemble Darcos varies its formation according to programme, from duos to quintets, up to the standard 20th – century ensemble of fifteen musicians. To this end, it regularly invites excellent musicians from various parts of the world to collaborate, notably, amongst others, the ‘cellist Mats Lidström (soloist and professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London), the violinists Giulio Plotino (principal of the orchestra of the La Fenice Theatre in Venice), Giulio Rovighi (first violinist of the Prometeo String Quartet), and the acclaimed percussionist Miquel Bernat.
Since 2006, the Ensemble Darcos has held an artistic residency in Torres Vedras, Portugal, beginning in 2008 the Temporada Darcos, a series of concerts of chamber music with commentary from some outstanding Portuguese musicians and musicologists of today.
From amongst its achievements, significant are the concerts given at the Magnus concert hall in Barlin in October 2007, its participation in the première, in 2008, of a video film by Rui Gato, Margarida Moura Guedes and Ricardo Viana on Olivier Messiaen;s Quartet for the End of Time, and in the performance of the String Quintet in C major by Franz Schubert, with the participation of the renowned Swedish ‘cellist Mats Lidström. In January 2012, the Ensemble Darcos performed the Triple Concerto for violin, ‘cello, piano and orchestra by Beethoven, in St John’s Smith Square, London, under the direction of Nuno Côrte-Real; it also took part in the Dias da Música 2008, at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon, performing works by Beethoven and Côrte-Real.
In January 2010, the Ensemble Darcos recorded for Rádio Televisão Portuguesa a series of songs by Cole Porter with the singers Sónia Alcobaça and Rui Baeta, a programme given in Lyon, France, in collaboration with the Camerata du Rhône. The CD VOLUPIA, entirely dedicated to Côrte-Real’s music and the Ensemble Darcos first CD, was released on October 2012, by the portuguese label Numérica.
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