Óbidos International Piano Master Classes & Festival

Semana Internacional de Piano de Óbidos – SIPO 2019 – International Piano Master Classes and Festival

Semana Internacional de Piano de Óbidos – SIPO 2019 – International Piano Master Classes and Festival

The first edition of SIPO took place in August 1996.

Since its beginning and without interruption, the SIPO Master Classes and its Festival have turned Óbidos into the meeting point of piano students from around the world and internationally renowned pianists. The master classes aim at perfecting the technical and musical knowledge of all participants through stimulating and intense work with great masters. The charming environment and warm welcome of the medieval town of Óbidos www.obidos.pt, a national monument, has greatly contributed to the success of this event.

For almost two weeks, piano music completely fills the medieval borough of Óbidos: both through the master classes, which take place during the day in numerous places, as well as through the evening concerts that are part of the Festival, which attract a music-loving and enthusiastic audience. Throughout its years of activity, SIPO has managed to create a new audience made up of all kinds of age and social groups in a region otherwise poor of cultural events of this nature.


Due to its pedagogical structure, this event is considered unique in Portugal: a group of internationally acclaimed pianists, potentially supported by an assisting teacher, make up the pedagogic nucleus throughout the SIPO event.

During the entire duration of the courses, this nucleus is dedicated to teaching all participants. The latter are allowed to attend all courses and to work with more than one teacher. This philosophy enables each student to profit as much as possible from diverse teaching methods of each master-teacher they can observe.

To ensure a greater and more effective learning experience, the participants work in a rotating system since their number is limited to forty. Due to their pedagogic quality and diversity, these meetings have also largely contributed to the professional development of young Portuguese musicians who participate in ever growing numbers.

The courses are likewise opened to the public and take place simultaneously in three locations (Auditório Municipal da Casa da Música, Casa da Barbacam, Igreja da Misericordia.

At the end of the courses the participants obtain a diploma which is of particular importance for their curriculum.

In 2004, the “Prémio Maria de Lurdes Avellar” was awarded for the first time in the history of SIPO. The award was established by the Avellar family, residing in Óbidos and is a tribute to the memory of D. Maria de Lurdes Avellar. It has been created to stimulate the work of young musicians and is attributed to outstanding students in a joint vote of the audience and the master class faculty during the final recital of the participants.

Since 2011, it been replaced by the Antena 2/ACIM Prize which is jointly awarded by RDP/Antena 2, the national classic music radio station and the organizer of SIPO, ACIM, the Association of International Master Classes, in the form of a concert recorded and transmitted live by RDP Antena 2, as part of the series “Concertos abertos”, in Lisbon. 2 additional concerts in Portugal and a cash award worth 1000,00€ are equally part of the Prize.


Along with the courses, the SIPO Festival offers a series of high quality concerts and recitals taking place at the Auditório Municipal da Casa da Música in Óbidos, the baroque church Santuário Jesus da Pedra, the Cultural and Conference Centre of Caldas da Rainha, the Theatre Eduardo Brazao in Bombarral and Sá da Bandeira in Santarém.

All teachers of the faculty and internationally acclaimed artists invited specifically for the Festival as well as selected students from the master classes participate in a series of concerts in and around Óbidos. The Festival gathers a music-loving and knowledgeable audience in and around the town of Óbidos.

This initiative has greatly contributed to the cultural dynamism of the Western Region as well as to the national and international recognition of Óbidos.

The Festival’s programme, encompassing several centuries of music, with emphasis on Portuguese composers and interpreters, invites the audience to share unforgettable moments of music.

Both the high number of master class participants as well as the gathering of enthusiastic audiences prove the cultural interest of this project, which has involved representatives from numerous countries besides Portugal: Germany, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, China, South Korea, Denmark, Spain, USA, France, Greece, England, Iran, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the Ukraine.


Since 2000, numerous painters, sculptors and photographers have exhibited their works at the Pavilhão da Casa da Barbacam and the Municipal Museum in Óbidos. This initiative is integrated into the SIPO Festival with the goal of spreading the work of less renowned artists in Portugal, joining music and fine artes and thus enriching the cultural experience of all festival visitors.

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