An amateur endeavour to the “worship and protection” of the “main musical culture of intelligence and taste”: the symphonic enterprise of Lisbon’s Real Academia de Amadores de Música in late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century

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After the early failure of the symphonic concerts of the Associação Música 24 de Junho, initiated under the direction of F. A. Barbieri (1879) and pursued with O. Métra (1881), É. Colonne (1881-1882), E. Dalmau (1879; 1883), T. Bretón (1885), A. Ruddorf (1887) and A. Steck (1888), the Real Academia de Amadores de Música (* 1884) would commit to the attempts of that musical professional corporation for the urgent rehabilitation of the Portuguese musical milieu and its essential updating to the praxis of other European musical centres, asserting itself, in the following twenty years, as the only orchestra with regular symphonic activity in the Portuguese capital. Up to the dawn of the twentieth century, two artistic directors sought to adjust the concert programming of the orchestra with the European dominant trends. Filipe Duarte (1884-1887) chose to replicate part of the symphonic repository exhibited by the orchestra of the Associação Música 24 de Junho, as his integration in that orchestra as a violinist/violetist and his work with the aforementioned foreign conductors was indeed the sole opportunity for a more in-depth knowledge of the production of the “great masters”. Due to the absence of any capable Portuguese orchestra conductor, the board of Lisbon’s amateur academy sought to hire artistic directors from Germany, France and Spain, in fact, from the musical centers of those who had previously enabled the emergence of a symphonic culture in Lisbon. In a period of scarse activity by the professional corporations, Victor Hussla, (1887-1899), a Russian violinist active in Berlin and endorsed to that position by E. Ruddorff, would contribute to the reception of symphonic masterworks by the classical and coeval German and French composers and to the première of “nationalistic” musical works in the Portuguese capital, offering as well the seminal symphonic tokens of a Portuguese musical nationalism. The work of his successors, Andrés Goñi Otermin (1899-1906) and Georges Wendling (1906-1911), was nevertheless started in an era of fertile improvements on Lisbon’s musical milieu. Several renowned European orchestras visited Lisbon in the first decade of the century as a result of the enterprise of music and theatre entrepreneurs and once more the initiative of musical professionals and amateurs made possible the foundation and brief activity of three semi-professional orchestras, Sociedade de Concertos e Escola de Música (1902-1904), Grande Orquestra Portuguesa (1906-1908) e Orquestra de Lisboa (1910-1911). Goñi, the Spanish renowned violinist, conductor and founder of Valencia’s concert societies, and Wendling, a German violinist in the orchestras of Colonne and Lamoureux which had a proficuous activity as a conductor in Besançon, proceeded with Hussla’s activity as teacher of violin in the Real Academia de Amadores de Música, pursuing as well the improvement of the artistic quality of the amateurs’ orchestra, recurring, for instance, to some of the repertoire previously presented in Lisbon, focusing, as well, on the presentation of German and French musical masterworks unknown to the Portuguese audiences, and aiming as well to gradually prepare and present some of the most appreciated works exhibited by the visiting renowned German and French orchestras. This presentation aims to discuss the contributions of the orchestra of the Real Academia de Amadores de Música and his artistic directors – Duarte, Hussla, Goñi and Wendling - for the upgrowth and consolidation of a symphonic culture in the late-nineteenth century and early twentieth century in Lisbon, seeking to evaluate their concert programming and its affinity with that of other Portuguese and foreign orchestras active at the Portuguese capital, and most importantly, with the current trends on the Spanish, French and German preeminent musical centres.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventInternational Conference “Symphonism in Nineteenth-Century Europe” - Edificio Historico de la Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain
Duration: 10 May 201812 May 2018


ConferenceInternational Conference “Symphonism in Nineteenth-Century Europe”


  • music amateurs
  • symphonic culture
  • philharmonic orchestra
  • music education and pedagogical institutions


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