António Pinho Vargas was born in Vila Nova de Gaia in 1951, and was awarded the Municipality Medal of Cultural Merit in 1998. He was decorated with the Infante D. Henrique commendation by the President of the Republic in 1995. Composer, musician and essayist. He graduated in History by the Faculty of Letters of the University of Porto, has the Piano degree from the Porto Conservatoire and a Masters in Composition by the Rotterdam Conservatoire.
Teacher of composition at the Lisbon School of Music since 1991 and Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra since 2006. Finished his PhD in Sociology of Culture at the University of Coimbra in 2010 with the dissertation Música e Poder.
Pinho Vargas recorded 10 jazz albums as pianist/composer including the two double discs Solo (2008) and Solo II (2009), and Improvisations (2011), recorded live at Instituto Superior Técnico. Six monographic albums with some of his works have already been published. He composed four operas, a Requiem and two sacred oratorios, ten orchestra pieces, nine works for ensemble, twenty chamber works, including three string quartets, seven pieces for soloists and music for five films, having twice received the award for best music in film festivals, for Tempos Difíceis (1986) by João Botelho and Cinco Dias, Cinco Noites (1994) by José Fonseca e Costa.
His works have been performed in several European countries (Spain, France, Italy, England, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Russia) and in the United States, Australia, China, Indonesia and South Korea. From his roughly fifty pieces, the following can be highlighted: the operas Édipo, Tragédia de Saber (1996), Os Dias Levantados (1998) and Outro fim (2008), the string quartets Monodia, quasi un Requiem (1993) and Movimentos do subsolo (2008), the Suite for Solo Cello (2008), Estudos e Interlúdios for 6 percussionists (2001), the orchestra works Acting Out (1998), A Impaciência de Mahler (2000), Graffiti [just forms] (2006), Six Portraits of Pain, for solo cello and ensemble (2005), Um Discurso de Thomas Bernhard, for narrator and orchestra (2007) and Onze Cartas for orchestra, three pre-recorded narrators and electronics, Judas (2002) Requiem (2012) and Magnificat (2013), for choir and orchestra.
He wrote the books Sobre Música: ensaios, textos e entrevistas (Afrontamento, 2002) and Cinco Conferências sobre a História da Música do Século XX (Culturgest, 2008) and, in 2011, the book Música e Poder: para uma sociologia da ausência da música portuguesa no contexto europeu (Almedina, 2011). In 2012 he was granted the José Afonso Prize for the album Solo II and the prestigious 11th University of Coimbra Award. In 2014 his work Magnificat, for Choir and Orchestra, was awarded the Prize SPA Autores.
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