Vasco Mendonça

b. 1977

Portuguese

Summary

Vasco Mendonça´s music has been widely performed internationally by groups such as the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Axiom Ensemble, Remix Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), São Paulo Symphony [OSESP], Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica Casa da Música and Drumming GP. 

Mendonça has been commissioned works and featured in major music festivals such as Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh Music, Verbier Festival, Musica Nova Helsinki, Musica Strasbourg, November Music, Gaudeamus Music Week and Morelia Music Festival, and in venues such as the Philharmonie de Paris, Lincoln Center, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, La Monnaie, Kaaitheater, Grand Theatre du Luxembourg, Elbphilharmonie, Centro Cultural Del Bosque, National Sawdust, Concertgebouw Brugge, Kölner Philharmonie, de Singel, Mousonturm Frankfurt, Casa da Música and Gulbenkian Foundation.

Critical Acclaim

Vasco Mendonça is one of a rare breed of current composers whose personal style is instantly recognizable. - Phillip Scott Fanfare

Heralded by the percussion, string attacks and hammered notes on the piano, Step Right Up develops with great clarity, rhythmically driven and releasing cascades of contagious energy. In short, one of the most exciting premieres I have listened to in the last few years. - Jorge Calado Expresso

In musical terms, Bosch Beach is of the very highest level (...) with dark, restrained and sometimes plaintive tone. -  Bernard Uske Frankfurter Rundschau

Mendonça's The House Taken Over is refined and subtly orchestrated (...), with an interesting use of flugelhorns and imaginative combinations of the timbres (...). This world of worrying glissandos and disturbing percussion (...) was impressive for its refinement (...) - Stephen J. Mudge Opera News

The libretto provided Mendonça with a structure on which to expound infinite combinations of tones, colors and rhythms. One musical delight followed another in an astonishing array of variation elaborated by these instruments. - Michael Milenski Opera Today

Mendonça seems to have had at heart the materialization of his "school of fish" metaphor, playing all possible percussive colours, directly tapping not on the heroes' fears but on their doubts, their screen-memories, on the unformulated, on the swampy mind. The reduced ensemble (almost an instrument by part) serves a shimmering and tectonic fabric, each timbre, each colour being both a clutch and a point of the harmonic framework. - Eric Loret Liberation

By its subject and its atmospheres, The House Taken Over evokes Debussy´s unfinished opera, or Béla Bartók´s Bluebeard´s Castle. A prestigious lineage in which you want Vasco Mendonça to fully enroll soon in his own right. - Gilles Massacar Télérama

Written for a chamber ensemble (thirteen instruments), Vasco Mendonça´s elegant score seems to reproduce the strangulation of the space on stage. Allusive or repetitive forms, dark coloured continuums, passages of lethal harmonies, all are in agreement with the confinement ceremony. But structure escapades, a sometimes very free lyricism, and unusual sounds such as those of the melodicas (...) talk of a possible elsewhere - Marie-Aude Roux Le Monde

Music of exquisite lightness and textural plasticity - Steph Power Wales Art Review

Biography

Vasco Mendonça´s music has been widely performed internationally by groups such as the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Axiom Ensemble, Remix Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), São Paulo Symphony [OSESP], Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica Casa da Música and Drumming GP. 

Mendonça has been commissioned works and featured in major music festivals such as Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh Music, Verbier Festival, Musica Nova Helsinki, Musica Strasbourg, November Music, Gaudeamus Music Week and Morelia Music Festival, and in venues such as the Philharmonie de Paris, Lincoln Center, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, La Monnaie, Kaaitheater, Grand Theatre du Luxembourg, Elbphilharmonie, Centro Cultural Del Bosque, National Sawdust, Concertgebouw Brugge, Kölner Philharmonie, de Singel, Mousonturm Frankfurt, Casa da Música and Gulbenkian Foundation.

His interest in composing for the stage has led him to collaborate with some of the most cutting-edge music-theatre companies in Europe, such as Music Theatre Wales, Muziektheater Transparant and LOD Muziektheater, and with directors such as Katie Mitchell, Michael McCarthy and Luis Miguel Cintra.

Vasco Mendonça's music has been recorded by labels Naxos and Classic Concert Records. Mendonça studied with Klaas de Vries and George Benjamin, and his distinctions include the Lopes Graça Composition Award, ROLEX Mentor and Protegé Arts Initiative (with Kaija Saariaho), Composer-in-Residence at Casa da Música, several artistic grants from the Ministry of Culture and representing Portugal at UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers.

 

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