I was born in northern Portugal and started my formal musical training at age 12 at the Academia de Música de S. Pio X in my hometown of Vila do Conde. Before that, I attended a small music community school founded by the Parish’s priest whose main goals were to keep the kids away from the streets and have someone to play at the church’s services. I was far from knowing that those practices would give me rather crucial knowledge and tools for my future.
When I was 15 or 16, playing the famous A major Intermezzo by Brahms at a lesson with legendary pianist Vitaly Margulis, he wisely explained that our fingers should work as ten pencils of different colours: the magic starts when we mix them. These words still echo in my mind to this day. That was a turning point and I realised that I needed more than two to three hours a week of practice!
My studies led me to the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa with Tania Achot and to the University of Kansas, where I studied for nearly a decade with the person who played the most significant role in my artistic life: Sequeira Costa. There were several other teachers who also moulded my musical personality: Helena Sá e Costa, Luiz de Moura Castro, Andrei Diev, Vladimir Viardo, Aldo Ciccolini, Paul Badura- Skoda and Dmitri Bashkirov. After completing my Doctorate in the USA, I settled in Lisbon, where I began teaching. I’m currently the Head of the Piano Department of the National Academy of Orchestral Studies – Metropolitana. Most of my music studies were only possible due to the huge efforts of my parents and through several scholarships, particularly from the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.
I believe that my late, untraditional introduction to music created a healthier relationship between myself and the piano. I don’t feel bad if I go one week (or three!) without playing. I know it will always be there for me, but I enjoy many other things, especially spending time with my children Clara and Duarte and my wife Alice.