Luís Bastos Machado
Luís Bastos Machado is a pianist and is currently a researcher at CESEM (Critical Theory and Communication group) and a PhD candidate at FCSH – NOVA. He was awarded an FCT doctoral grant for his research project on the evolution of performance practice in Brahms’s piano works during the first half of the twentieth century in the context of a transversal aesthetic paradigm shift in the arts, in which he is supervised by Prof. Dr Paulo Ferreira de Castro. Luís’s interest in early twentieth century recordings and performers developed during his Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied piano under Daniel-Ben Pienaar and chamber music under Andrew West. He has been performing regularly in Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom, both as a soloist and in chamber music groups. He has played in several international music festivals and has been featured in German public radio Deutschlandfunk and Portuguese classical public radio Antena 2 with live and recorded broadcasts. Luís began his music studies at the Instituto Gregoriano in Lisbon, with Maria de Fátima Fraga and Eurico Rosado, and was a private pupil of António Toscano for several years. He attended ESART for his Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance in order to study with Brazilian pianist Caio Pagano, and was the recipient of all the merit scholarships, prizes and trophies awarded by that institution, before heading to the Royal Academy of Music for his Master’s degree.
By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the emergence and consolidation of Modernism(s) throughout the arts constitute a transversal aesthetic paradigm shift. Amongst other aspects, a tendency develops towards objectivity and artistic autonomy. Music performance is not immune to these developments — early recordings suggest that there are changing practices in how performers approach the repertoire and the score. These seem to translate into a more literal relationship with the musical text and less tempo flexibility, and several performers and composers emphasise the need for an objective outlook on performance. Due to the perception of Johannes Brahms in his time — as the model of absolute music, as an intellectual “classical” composer amongst romantics, and as being close to Clara Schumann and the type of pianism she represents —, he occupies a special place in this transition of aesthetic values. We seek to investigate whether and how the performances of Brahms’s piano works become more modernist throughout the first half of the twentieth century, as they draw away from the original performance practice and create a new interpretative canon for the composer. This interdisciplinary research project is based on a detailed study of documents and a systematic analysis of recordings.