The "Academia de Música de Lagos" (AML) is a Non-Profit Public Utility Association, with facilities in four municipalities of Western Algarve: Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Loulé. It celebrates annually Sponsorship Contracts with the Ministry of Education, Programme Contracts with the referred municipalities and also with the Directorate General for the Arts/ Secretary of State for Culture of Portugal, having received several medals of recognition for its work, including Manifest of Cultural Interest by the Ministry of Culture since 1989 and Superior Cultural Interest in 2006. Having built an universe of more than 1000 students and 70 teachers, it is today the biggest music school in the south of the country.
The AML is also very much acquainted and driven by International Project Partnerships. In September 2012, the AML won the application for the 2013-2016 Art Supports Programme from the Directorate General for the Arts/ Secretary of State for Culture of Portugal, standing out as a leader organiser in the whole South of Portugal. It has also developed several European partnerships, including an INTERREG Project (2007). It has recently won "Tales from The Sea", Cultural Footprint | Arts and Education – First Steps, under an EEA Grant funded Programme (April 2015-February 2016); the Fund for Bilateral Cooperation / Cultural Footprint - Arts and Education with Haugesund Kulturschole and Grieg’s Academy Bergen (March 2014), reaching second place for the final project. It is also at the verge of acceptance of a Erasmus Plus Guitar Orchestra exchange with Escuela Fundacion Solidaridad (Granada, Spain) . AML has also developed a Comenius Bilateral partnership Project (in reserve list) with the "Conservatorio Profesional de Musica Cristobal de Morales" from Seville : "Al'Gharb-Al'Andaluz: Musical Heritage of the South-West Iberian Peninsula" project.
The AML helds also Cooperation Agreements (hosting professional internships) with National Schools and Higher Music Education Institutions, including some international liaisons eg Royal Conservatory in The Hague (The Netherlands) and National Conservatoire in Tbilisi (Georgia).
One of the main cultural goals of the Institution is the entwined path between arts and education, mainly music education with a varied set of instruments teaching, in classic and early music fields, towards an age spectrum up to 18 years old and with a minor representation in adult education.
The main cultural drive is the valorization of the National and Regional Artistic production, through commissioning several works to Portuguese Composers, mainly: Bernardo Sassetti, Tiago Cutileiro, Pedro Louzeiro, Nuno Rodrigues, Armando Mota, Joaquim Galvão. The strongest concept in these music commissions is the enhancement and promotion of the Algarve's intangible heritage, through the orchestration of traditional pieces in an erudite way, e.g. "Concerto em Dó" for Piano and Orchestra, inspired by the regional theme "Baile mandado", (Armando Mota, 2011) , "Ti'Anita de Loulé", traditional music theme orchestrated for wind Instruments, voice and accordion, (Nuno Rodrigues, 2012), and “Gilda das Amendoeiras” (Nuno Rodrigues 2013), chamber music opera conceived in relation to the traditional Algarve tale (Lenda das Amendoeiras).
AML is also active in promoting Portuguese intangible heritage (fado and cante alentejano), putting together new emergent composers and ensembles such as Ana Pinhal, Manuel Maio (2014 and 2015) with traditional music groups such as Cantadeiras de Redondo and Grupo Etnográfico da Casa do Povo de Brinches (April 2015). It also aims at the internationalization of its ensembles, such as Ensemble Suest'Arte, with debut in Portugal and Spain for an INTERREG project in 2007 and a premiere in November 2015 in Georgia, for the EU Cultural Week, with a programme around Atlantic and Mediterranean Intangible heritage, including a partnership with the Georgian Polyphony IBERI Choir.
In these activities, the AML is responsible for the coordination of the commissioned works and the performances, putting together composers, students, emerging talents and professionals, and thus bringing together art and education as a whole.
The AML strives for keeping several orchestral ensembles, varying from 15 up to 100 musicians on stage, where professional musicians (teachers at the AML), are presented in stage along with their pupils, at a high quality level performance: Orquestra Clássica da Academia", “Orquestra de Sopros do Algarve”, “1001 Cordas”, “Orquestra de Percussão”, etc. Goal is to engage the youngsters, since early age, in professional performances, for audience reinforcement and education . AML has a wide portfolio meeting high quality standards of music playing with an intensive events annually agenda that includes music concerts, festivals, competitions, workshops and master classes (circa 300 events per year) with regional, national and international artists, namely : Festival Internacional de Percussão Cidade de Portimão [International Percussion Festival of Portimão], Concurso de Música Anatólio Cidade de Lagos [International Music Competition Anatólio Falé City of Lagos], Estágio Internacional de Cordas [International Strings Course], Estágio de Sopros (Winds Orchestra Course), Ciclo de Música Antiga [Early Music Festival] Sons Antigos a Sul.
One one hand, the AML has a strong track record in promoting Mediterranean Intangible heritage in the fields of Music, being the most active private Association in the fields of Culture in the Algarve region.
One the other hand, the Algarve - AlGharb AlAndalus - is the strongest Mediterranean driven region in Portugal, mainly because of the strong Arab influence.
We would like to contribute in engaging in professional partnerships with other cultural institutions to promote the intangible heritage (early and traditional music) of the Iberian Peninsula (mainly Portugal and the Algarve region) and viceversa, bringing Mediterranean artists to the region, in order to give public awareness on strong and still unknown cultural bonds.
We want to join Anna Lindh Foundation to be involved in likeminded individuals and organizations that share the same values and passion towards cultural bonds: the Mediterranean.
Music is the best anthidote for Historical Amnesia, in Jordi Savall's words. Music is also a way of bringing people together, through sharing the same cultural values. It is an essential path in the Mediterranean world of today.
"Why are we afraid of Strangers? - In the "1001 Nights" tale of Sindbad, meeting strangers was described as an enchanting experience worth the risks of navigating to faraway Indian and Chinese ports. Sindbad's positive vision of strangers led me to go deeper in researching 9th century Baghdad".