Orchestra XXI celebrates a decade of existence with Mahler’s Fifth Symphony


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Orquestra XXI, composed of Portuguese musicians living abroad, will perform Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony to mark its 10th anniversary, in a national tour that starts today, at Casa do Música, in Porto.

After Porto, the orchestra performs in Alcobaça, on Thursday, as part of the Cistermúsica Festival, and on Saturday returns to the Marvão International Music Festival, for a concert in the Ruins of Ammaia.

The tour will end on July 30 at the Centro Cultural de Belém.

About 80 musicians will make up the formation on these dates, some of whom have been members since the beginning, the project’s founding conductor, Dinis Sousa, told the Lusa agency last week.

“There are more and more Portuguese musicians living abroad and the number of musicians increases from year to year, so the project has more and more people in its network and has grown every year,” he told Lusa.

Orchestra XXI celebrates a decade of existence with Mahler's Fifth Symphony

The choice of Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is a novelty in the repertoire of the collective, which wanted to do something special and different for the ten years of the orchestra.

“It seems almost surreal how we’ve made it to ten years already,” admitted Sousa, currently principal conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia orchestra in Newcastle, UK.

Non-profit, Orquestra XXI won in 2013 the FAZ Award – Ideas of Portuguese Origin, from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Orquestra XXI reflects the plurality of experiences of its members, who live in cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, Perm, Madrid or Amsterdam.

Some of its members are active in some of the world’s leading orchestras, such as the London Symphony, the French National or the Zurich Opera.

Dinis Sousa, a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, was appointed principal conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia orchestra in 2021, after having been assistant conductor of the Monteverdi Choir and the orchestras of conductor John Eliot Gardiner.


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