About Cistermúsica

A classic for all

Cistermúsica 2020

In 2020 Edition Cistermúsica Festival is marked by the continuation of the 500 years celebrations of the Circumnavigation of the Globe and by the 250th Beethoven birthday. The Programme follows three fundamental routes: music in Ferdinand Magellan times, taking advantage of the unique monumental environment of the Alcobaça Monastery; this Programme is drawn up in Luso-Spanish cooperation, replicating the model of this expedition organized by the Spanish Crown and headed by a Portuguese; in the other side, the celebration of the Beethoven genius: music for solo piano, cello and piano duo, string quartet, Symphonic Orchestra, and choir. In this way, the Festival's first concert will be with Sete Lágrimas, with a repertoire dedicated to the Diaspora, that plunges in musical forms from the five continents, of both yesterday and today, evoking the historical presence of Portugueses in the World.

Still regarding music in the Magellan times, Cistermúsica will host several Spanish proposals. Among others, the piece “El periplo de Magallanes y Elcano” will be executed by the Granada Chamber Choir and the Samsaoui Ensemble, and the Estremadura Youth Orchestra will perform a premièred worldwide work, commissioned for this exclusive event, in co-production with Estoril Lisboa Festival. On the other hand, in the field of contemporary music creation, Cistermúsica has commissioned to the young composer Daniel Bernardes an original jazz work for piano and choir, having as reference Beethoven’s’ arrangements of melodies from various countries. Moreover, regarding Cistercian heritage, the group Capella Sanctae Crucis will present “Requiem de Coimbra”, revealing a hidden treasure of 16th century Portuguese Music.

Of equal importance, La Grande Chapelle, one of the best Spanish groups specialized in the Baroque Period, will execute two real masterpieces of written music from the Iberian Peninsula of that age: the “Magnificat” by Antonio Soler and the “Stabat Mater” by Domenico Scarlatti. On the other side, the La Nave Va ensemble, under the direction of António Carrilho, will present “Árias de Bravura para Tenor”, with the participation of the Marcel Beekman excellent voice. This concert bridges Spain with Soler and Portugal with António de Almeida, and also remember great works by Mozart, Rameau and Gluck, some of them evoking the sea, and others the war, the ambition, and the courage.

Continuing in the Luso-Spanish ambit, the vanguard group Accademia del Piacere will present the concert “Música Mestiza”, reflecting the intermingling of cultures as a result of the historical Maritime Expansion. Such hybrid music will gain the zenith with the project “Classics meets Africa”, bringing African rhythms to young European students with a Western tradition, and bringing classical music to young African dancers.

“Do Barroco ao Fado” is another big project arising from the cultural encounter, that is also centered on an identitarian Portuguese phenomenon, even representing the occasion to celebrate another important event for the country: Amália Rodrigues’ birth. Músicos do Tejo will present a vast repertoire traveling along eighth centuries, combining oral tradition with written music and the distinctive sound of Portuguese guitar with medieval music, Arabic and Galician elements, baroque sonorities, fado, modinha, and lundu, finishing with a truly exaltation of poetry of music, as happened between Amália Rodrigues and Alain Oulman.

Apart from the commissioned work to the composer Daniel Bernardes, for celebrating the 250th Beethoven birthday, the Cistermúsica program aims to distinguish itself as the finest stage for Chamber Music. The excellent women’s quartet Esmé; the integral of the Beethoven “Sonatas and Variations for Cello and Piano” performed by Jed Barahal and Christina Margotto; and also the international recognized pianist Miguel Borges Coelho. This occasion would be incomplete without the Symphony Nº 9, also known as “Ode of Joy”, a hymn to Humanity and to the construction of bridges between people and cultures and a vibrant symbol of European identity, perfect for the conclusion the Cistermúsica 28th edition and the celebration that characterize its program.

In short, to provide excellent cultural programming, decentralized and accessible to all, continues to be the Cistermúsica core mission.

André Cunha Leal e 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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