About Cistermúsica

A classic for all

Cistermúsica 2019

The raison d’être of Cistermúsica is to draw the public at large closer to classical music. The 27th edition of the Festival aims to give some of the best examples of the thin line between “erudite” and “popular”. Is there something most popular of an Il Trovatore aria or a Strauss waltz? The first Razumovski by Beethoven is not the best quartet that exemplifies the combination between erudite and popular? Why are Chostakovitch and Poulenc two of the most appreciated composers of the twentieth century? Classical music is always intended to be understandable without becoming banal. According to legend, it was following this way that the Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina “rescued” polyphonic music into the Catholic church. Likewise, Bach chose hymns that believers knew by heart for his genial sacred cantatas.

So, the programming merges famous, but also rare works, going through different styles and genres, from the Middle Age up to now. Following the Cistermúsica tradition, Portuguese music is represented, from the golden age of polyphony until today.

Besides the principal programme the Festival offers pedagogical activities in the Junior & Families section and also an Off selection, promoting a crossover between erudite music and other artistic expressions, especially contemporary dance.

As always, the Monastery of Alcobaça is the main arena of Cistermúsica, providing a multiplicity of spaces, some of them accessible to the public only during the festival. In addition to this privileged stage, spectacles take place also in other spaces of the city and the region, witnessing a perfect union between music, dance and historical heritage. In this regard, the Monastery of Santa Maria de Cós deserves particular distinction. It was one of the richest female Cistercian Monastery in Portugal and on the occasion of the Festival receives and astonishes thousands of visitors.

Over the years Cistermúsica has gained a national dimension and has established strategic partnerships. Part of the programming is moved to other cities that share the logic of the cultural decentralization at a regional scale. Here the Festival give privilege to heritage, following the Cistercian Route.

In short, Cistermúsica primary mission is to offer cultural and excellent programming, decentralized and accessible to all.

Alexandre Delgado and Rui Morais
Artistic Direction

The history of the festival

Cistermúsica - Alcobaça Music Festival started in 1992 with the organization of the Alcobaça municipality. Since 2002 the Festival is organized by the Alcobaça Band and produced by the Alcobaça Music Academy, with the institutional support of the Alcobaça City Hall and the Directorate-General of Arts (DGARTES).

Every year the Festival brings the best national and international musicians and dancers to the stages of its region. The Alcobaça Monastery, World Heritage Site, with the diversity of spaces that it offers, is one of its privileged location, as well as other stages of Alcobaça and its region, in a perfect union of music and dance with the historical heritage.

Cistermúsica has the mission to offer a decentralized, accessible and excellent program, promoting the heritage and so contributing for the touristic and cultural development of the region.

The Festival is “A Classic for Everyone”, like its motto says, more and more devoted to children, youths and families with the Junior and Families Section along with Off Section. So, it follows the interest of a diversified cultural offer, always appropriate to the formation of new audiences and to raise awareness of the need to study and promote arts.

Since 2015 the Festival has gained a National dimension, integrating several of its events throughout the edified heritage of the Cistercian Route and also in other cities that share the politics of the cultural decentralization on a regional scale.

Edition after edition, Cistermúsica is proud of giving the stage to music, offering memorable sound and artistic experiences.


Previous editions


Organization and Production



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