It is time to sum up the 2nd edition of the Festival Itinerante de Percussão (Percussion Itinerant Festival).
At Teatro Garcia de Resende, in Évora, we spent four very busy days with percussionists coming from every corners of Continental Portugal, both professors and students from the seven Portuguese higher education institutions where percussion is taught. Some of these participants shared their impressions about the project [only in Portuguese].
Good reasons to continue: soloist recitals with full room, all vacancies filled for the master classes, and a closing concert with a vast audience to hear the premieres of the septets composed for the occasion. FIP 2019’s variety of aesthetics mainly resulted from the singularities of the guest musicians and their own preferences.
Here performing Pierluigi Billone‘s Mani. Matta  Mário Teixeira also played the Exercises 26 and 27 of Christian Wolff’s Snare-drum peace march .
At the same Noble Hall where Mário Teixeira gave wide range to virtuosity and complexity, Nuno Aroso tended, as usual, to a kind of musical poetics, performing a work for helical springs – Ricardo Ribeiro‘s Recit I  – and another for suspended cymbal and electronics by Jaime Reis.
That first concert on the 27th December had its end in the Main Room of the Theatre, with Pedro Silva and a group of students of the Metropolitana, conducted by Mário Teixeira.
In the night of 28th December, André Dias and Jeffery Davis presented the audience a very differentiated vibraphone program.
André Dias made use of some more instruments for the performance of mixed works by two Portuguese composers: Proyector I [2009-2014], by José Alberto Gomes, and Drive_! , by Igor C Silva.
Finally, with the expected groove, Jeffery Davis revisited Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Manning Sherwin and Steve Swallow.
In addition to two world premieres – Fondre’s , for vibraphone, by Miquel Oliu, and Improviso , for marimba, by the Brazilian Arrigo Barnabé -, Miquel Bernat invited two Spanish composers to listen to the works they have composed for him, alternating marimba and vibraphone: Bernat performed Pollo Vallejo‘s Marimbridanza , for marimba and hybrid mallets, and En Suspensió , by Octavi Rumbau (here with the performer, after the world premiere), for vibraphone, vibratones and electronics.
Completing the third concert of the 2nd FIP, Eduardo Lopes installed himself behind his drums, performing two works: his own Sid also waltzes (remembering MR)  and the world premiere of Essay XX (for six-piece Drum Set) , by Christopher Bochmann, a (almost Portuguese) British composer whose septet, which we would listen to at the final concert of FIP 2019, Eduardo Lopes had been rehearsing with seven students.
As announced, FIP 2019 was not only made of soloist recitals and rehearsals for the final concert with the world premieres of the commissioned septets. There were also master classes with students from secondary to higher education, coming from many schools across the country. On December 27th, Jeffery Davis gave a master class on vibraphone; the following day, it was time for Timpani with Mário Teixeira, then marimba with André Dias and, finally, snare drum by Pedro Silva.
The idea of gathering percussionists from the seven Portuguese higher schools of percussion in a joint work with ‘no borders’, which was the origin of FIP project, in 2017, has been materialized in the preparation of percussion septets, commissioned by Arte no Tempo and premiered under the experienced professors.
Miquel Bernat rehearsed and conducted the premiere of the septet composed by Pedro Berardinelli. dentre  was composed for quartet and trio, in which the quartet involves the audience in a sonic universe made of Tibetan bowls and car dampers, and the trio, in front of the audience, enlarges and enriches the metallic universe generated by the quartet.
The septet composed by Cristopher Bochmann, which is supposed to be performed without conductor and occasionally led by one of the percussionists, was rehearsed under Eduardo Lopes. All the world’s a stage is divided into seven sections, expanding the ‘stage’ at different times. It begins with the performers surrounding the audience, with unpitched sounds, then moving to the stage, with four percussionists performing in one single vibraphone.
After preparing it for three days, assisted by de composer, Nuno Aroso conducted the septet composed by Luís Carvalho. Concertino is a vibrant work composed for a variety of unpitched instruments, consistently exploring metric modulation and irrational measures, in which each of the seven instrumentalists have the same relief.
The 2nd Festival Itinerante de Percussão would not happen without the support of Direcção Geral das Artes and the Municipality of Évora, and also of the seven institutions of higher education from where the professors/percussionists and young instrumentalists came from, specially Universidade de Évora, Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra and Universidade de Aveiro, that kindly provided all the instruments we have used during the festival.
We are grateful to all who participated and made possible the 2nd FIP, with professionalism and dedication, from the most visible to the most invisible, including the Teatro Garcia de Resende staff, who made us feel at home since the very first moment. Last, but not least, we are deeply grateful to Marco Duarte e Diogo Mota – the most wonderful production duo, who did his job in the most exemplary way over the days of setting up, performance and disassembly of the FIP, anticipating problems and solutions, solving some unforeseen troubles without anyone noticing them: so invisible that no obvious photographic record could be found, but yet we could feel their comforting presence.
After Aveiro and Évora, the 3rd FIP will be “landing” at Casa da Música, Porto, on 27th – 30th December 2020.
[17th January 2020]