Portuguese contemporary music composers and ensembles: collective heritage preservation

The CESEM’s “Portuguese contemporary music composers and ensembles” project intends to digitize, study and preserve collections of some important composers and ensembles from the last 30 years of the 20th century whose heritage is dispersed and/or has never been treated. This project has gained relevance since most Portuguese works of that time is at many levels experimental (including unconventional instruments and artefacts, improvisation, electronics, etc.), and since its documentation is scattered, incoherent or lost, preventing new performances of these musical works.

The main goal is to make accessible documents, recordings and scores, keeping alive this important heritage and valuing the Portuguese Contemporary Music heritage, while allowing academics, musicians or other interested parties to access, study and re-stage the works of this relevant period.

To pursue with this goal, collaboration protocols have been made between the NOVA University and the owners of the collections (composer’s families or other heritage custodians, private and institutional).

This work needs a deep search in order to gather the dispersed documents, namely those in the possession of the musicians, performers or other participants in performances. The work needs also to meet the participants and to discuss with them collaborative strategies to find and access the documents as well as gather additional information about the works. This is a work conducted conducted by researchers from the CESEMs’ Contemporary Music Research Group (GIMC) with the close collaboration of Music Department students and trainees.

The project is currently working on the collections of the composers José Lopes e Silva and Constança Capdeville, but also the ensembles Quadrifonia, Opus Ensemble and ColecViva. The collections include manuscripts, personal papers, and sketches, recordings, photos and so on, and are being documented, digitized and registered at LIM (CESEMs’ Computer Music Lab). After treating the collections, and accordingly with the specifications of each protocol, these will be returned to their owners or, in particular cases, will be deposited at the National Library of Portugal.


Isabel Pires (PR)

Filipa Magalhães (co-PR)

Carolina Martins (M.A. student)

Roberto Oliveira (Doutorando), Universidade de Santiago de Compostela / CESEM


Previous team members (graduating interns)

1. Beatriz Amaral 2020-21 (1st Sem.)

2. Edgar Freire 2020-21 (1st Sem.)

3. Adriana Margarida de Jesus Lopes 2019-20 (1st Sem.)

4. Carolina Pacheco Alves 2019-20 (1st Sem.)

5. Rafaela da Silva Cavaco 2019-20 (1st Sem.)

6. Samuel Alexandre Fernandes Martins 2019-20 (1st Sem.)

7. Carolina Martins 2018-19 (2nd Sem.)

8. Mariana Marques Pedrosa 2018-19 (2nd Sem.)