|Portuguese Youth Ensemble, Os Violinhos, Travels to Austria & the Czech Republic|
No music stands. No chairs. Just 31 young violinists and a lot of spirit were all this Portuguese youth orchestra needed to delight audiences in Vienna, Salzburg and Prague this past August. The well-known Lisbon ensemble, conducted by Filipa Poêjo, has toured previously to Italy and the United States, so these young musicians are no strangers to center stage. They represent one of the most prestigious music schools in Portugal, founded by Professors Poêjo and Rui Fernandes, currently serving over 140 students with a waiting list for admission.
Their 2005 tour was sponsored by his Excellency the President of the Republic of Portugal, and the unique performances uplifted audiences with nontraditional repertoire and unexpected choreography. Os Violinhos excels at performing classical music, but their programs also featured festive modern works such as Orange Blossom Special (Rouse), Polish Dance (Severn), "Brasilien Serenade" (Almeida), "The Sound of Music" (Rodgers), and Over the Rainbow (Arlen) - all while either standing up, lying down, or dancing.
The Ambassador from Portugal to Austria was in the audience in Vienna, where Os Violinhos performed at the beautiful Festival Hall. In Salzburg, they had the opportunity to fill Gothic Hall with the sparkling sounds of their musical instruments; this venue was unanimously selected the hall closest to their hearts, as it is located at the centre of the Getreidegasse, the street where Mozart was born. For their final performance they had an amazing success at Gregruv Hall, Municipal House in Prague, with a standing room only audience including the Ambassador of Portugal to the Czech Republic.
The musical focus of the tour allowed each of the young musicians to expand their performance skills and enhanced their musical
development. However, despite a schedule packed with concerts and rehearsals, members of Os Violinhos and their families all found time to enjoy themselves and explore Austria and the Czech Republic.