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Madeira Organ Festival 2019


The 10th Madeira Organ Festival takes place in a special year of celebrations in the history of the Madeira Archipelago and, for this reason, presents a program dedicated to “Six Centuries of Organ Music”, inviting to a musical journey through the centuries and the organ heritage of the Region.
This Festival already conquered a prominent place on the international cultural scene and affirmed itself as a reference in the touristic and cultural environment of Madeira, for the quality and uniqueness of its programming and great involvement with the community, reinforcing its approach to the public and consequently affirming its position.
From October 18 to 27, eleven concerts will be performed in different churches and convents in the municipalities of Funchal, Machico, Ponta do Sol and Porto Santo, on historic organs where we will listen to the “voice” of those instruments through diversified programmes from the 15th to the 21st century, which will certainly provide unrepeatable musical moments, namely in new compositions and works that will be performed for the first time.
The main goal of the Madeira Organ Festival is the divulgation of the organ heritage in the Region and the organisation of unique concerts that simultaneously promote the heritage of religious buildings where these instruments can be found, and the arousing, among the resident and visiting audience, the interest for a different musical genre, valuing the richness and diversity of the sound of the king of instruments in a historical and heritage-appreciation context.
Being an initiative of the Regional Secretariat of Tourism and Culture, the Madeira Organ Festival has the particularity of being an aggregating project of people and institutions, which results from various synergies and collaborative processes that involve and mobilize different public and private entities. I would like to express my thanks for the collaboration kept with the Diocese of Funchal and the total disponibility of all the churches involved, as well as the dedication and professionalism of Professor João Vaz, artistic director of the Madeira Organ Festival, who over the past ten years has persistently valued the organ heritage of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, making this Festival a unique reference in the national and European scene.


— Eduardo Jesus —
Regional Secretary for Tourism and Culture



Ten years of the Madeira Organ Festival


The Madeira Organ Festival this year reaches its tenth edition. The conclusion of this cycle of ten years – an achievement which has eluded so many projects, from the north to the south of the country – would in itself be deserving of commemoration and a special programme. The coincidence with the celebration of six hundred years since the discovery of the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira confers upon the 10th Madiera Organ Festival – with, as in 2018, the theme “six centuries of organ music” – an extra dimension.


As in previous editions, the festival this year displays the organ heritage of Madeira, making use of a diverse range of groups and repertoires: from solo recitals to concerts with symphonic orchestra; from internationally-known artists who are appearing here for the first time, to young Portuguese performers who find in this event a space to assist in promoting their careers; from some of the earliest works for organ to the music of our time (including the first performances of pieces written specially for this occasion) and improvisation – this art so rooted in the organ tradition which is, on account of being composition in real time, a true paradigm of contemporaneity.


Madeira has a diverse organ heritage (including new instruments and historic organs of various origins) and it was a consistent policy of ensuring the promotion of this heritage, begun at the end of the 1990s, with the restoration of the organ of Funchal Cathedral, which would make possible the organization of this festival from 2010 and which has continued until today. Since its first edition in 2010, it has been one of the chief concerns of the Organ Madeira Festival to include in its programmes all the functioning organs of the region, irrespective of their size or age.


At the end of this tenth edition, more than fifty organists from sixteen countries will have participated, including musicians of the highest calibre, such as Olivier Latry, Ludger Lohmann, Michel Bouvard, Martin Haselböck, José Luis González Uriol, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Catalina Vicens and Stephen Tharp. There will have taken place more than one hundred concerts in the churches of the districts of Funchal, Machico, Ponta do Sol, Porto da Cruz and Porto Santo, including solo recitals, concerts with orchestra, and even events in which the organ appears in a less obvious context: jazz, film, literature, bodily expression. Various sectors of society will have been mobilized, from official institutions to the Church, the press, musicians, to an audience of many thousands of people, including natives of Madeira and Portuguese and foreign visitors. All this will mean that the Madeira Organ Festival will have cemented its position as the most important organ event in Portugal. Above all, the heritage of organs in Madeira will have been defended and disseminated, definitely securing its place in the international organ landscape.


— João Vaz —
Artistic Director