Mirpuri Foundation builds cultural ties and offers musical opportunity with New Year concert

As 2020 got underway the Mirpuri Foundation has given musicians its support, with its sponsorship of the New Year Concert at Museu do Oriente.

The concert, which took place on Sunday, January 12, in the Museum’s main auditorium, featured around 50 violinists, from both the Fundação do Oriente and the Fundação O Século, who joined together to form an intergenerational orchestra, in which children, their parents, and their grandparents played side by side.

The New Year concert featured music from a wide range of backgrounds and influences: from Celtic to Jazz, to Tango and Classical. In keeping with the Museum’s raison d’être, the second part of the concert was dedicated to the Music of the East.

Goan singer Gonzaga Coutinho performed after Chinese musician Li Cheong had impressed the audience with his skillful play of the Erhu, an instrument widely known as the ‘Chinese violin’ because of its similar tone. The four-string violin is held horizontally, though, while Li’s two-string erhu was played vertically. The culture of Japan was also celebrated with a performance of authentic mura matsuri music.

Fundação do Oriente adult violin lessons began in April 2017, and have allowed scores of people with no background in music to take up the instrument. Mostly adult beginner students are taught in groups in three-month modules.

The Violins of the Century Project follows the same methodology but is geared towards children and young teenagers. The Century Project has been in operation for seven years and its young musicians regularly perform concerts.

The Museu do Oriente in Lisbon is a museum of Asian art. It opened in May, 2008, and is located in a refurbished industrial building on the Alcântara waterfront. The idea of opening in Lisbon museum dedicated to the Orient coincided with the establishment of the Fundação Oriente, in 1988. The Foundation was opened to build on links between East and West that have existed since Portuguese navigators found their way to the Orient when Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in the late 15th Century opened up new economic and cultural horizons for the Portugal.