A degree in music education and a postgraduate qualification in musical sciences (Popular Music Studies). Today Nelson Conceição is one of the most important Portuguese composer and performer with several awards and a success career as a teacher with more than 40 first prizes won by his students in several competitions.
He has studied accordion with Joaquim Machado, Anabela Silva and Aníbal Freire, attended masterclasses and established direct contact with international musicians such as Viatcheslav Semionov and Peter Soave. He has played many times with groups, bands, in shows, on TV, accompanied singers or as a soloist in France, England, Canada, Italy, Spain, USA. He has also recorded soundtracks for English TV series.
1. Why have you choose the accordion, among so many instruments and what kind of studying have you done?
I grew up listening accordion, because I was born in Bordeira-Faro, a land with a strong accordion tradition. José Ferreiro (Father), the first Portuguese accordionist, was born there in 1898. Since then, there were other important accordionists such as José Ferreiro (Son), João Bexiga, António Madeirinha, Daniel Rato, Hermenegildo Guerreiro, Joaquim Contreiras. My parents, although were not musicians, were great accordion lovers and made me start to study accordion when I was 8 with Prof. Joaquim Machado, my guide for 10 years. Then I studied with Prof. Anabela Silva and finally with Professor Aníbal Freire, who had a great influence on my growth. Because of many troubles in my life, I was forced to do several different works and finally I took a degree in music at 23.
2. What are your main sources of inspirations?
Everyday situations, feelings and emotions inspire me, as well as musicians I have just mentioned. But, to me, João Bexiga is a very special composer too since he has created over 200 works in spite of his very limited musical knowledge. Then there are Ilda Maria, Fernando Ribeiro, Fernanda Guerra, Álvaro Carminho and Eugénia Lima.
I look at Varietè, Jazz and Classical music and as for the International scene I think about the French accordionist Eric Bouve whose accordion I saw in 1993 for the first time. Finally there are Astor Piazzolla and Richard Galliano, timeless sources of inspiration for everyone.
3. You were born in Portugal, where you still live today. Which kind of studying and working opportunities does your Country offer to musicians?
Yes, I was born in Bordeira-Faro and now I live in Loulé. Today, young people can find a good teacher accordion anywhere in the country. The Accordion has entered and developed in conservatories and there are several Universities with degrees in accordion. Unfortunately It’s not the right moment to talk about our musicians’ working opportunities because every Country in economical crisis cuts cultural field. On the other hand the artists represent out society’s hope.
As for the accordion in Portugal, it has entered all styles, unthinkable 20 years ago when it just represented the folk tradition. Today we have several young talented musicians in different genres such as João Frade or João Barradas.
4. What’s your relationship with Italy?
I visited Italy in 2002 when I went to Castelfidardo and started to work with kind Fausto Fabi. Since then, I have been visiting Castefidardo almost every year taking my students to the Accordion Competition.
Today I´m distributor for some companies and in particular for Beltuna.
5. What are you working on in this period?
I’m working on several projects: preparing my CD which includes “The girl who liked Amalia” (1st prize in Italy as best modern composition); I am preparing students for different national and international contests and working with them on our second CD; in my studio I’m also working on the accordionist and composer Ilda Maria’s CD.
Then I’m coordinating the project “Terra de Acordeão” to celebrate the great Bordeira-Algarve accordionists and composers. This project includes books of music sheets, a Tribute CD with special guests and a Grand Gala Accordion in November in order in honor of Antonio Madeirinha. I am also coordinating my students’ orchestra project we hope to bring to Castelfidardo soon.
Finally I`m composing the instrumentals for the “March Bordeira”, a traditional dance which takes place very summer.
6. What are your next performances?
With groups and bands I have several performances with groups and bands scheduled during the summer as a guest musician. As a soloist hopefully be in September in Canada and perhaps more so in a year in Argentina, as yet not fully confirmed. October / November I will have some concerts with my quartet (accordion, guitar, violin and voice). And of course, in November I will be in Big Gala Homage to António Madeirinha in Faro. In December I will present my new CD in different places and TV channels.
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