Artur Santos (1914-1987)

Artur Álvaro dos Santos Correia de Sousa (1914 - 1987)) is remembered by many for the unquestionable quality of teaching he held at the National Conservatory of Lisbon. His professional career has developed in the context of classical music as a pianist, composer and teacher, and in traditional music, as ethnomusicologist.


A. Santos completed the Higher Courses of Piano and Composition with 20 points (1935 and 1936), received composition awards (1935, 1937 and 1944), he studied brilliantly in London and Paris, was recognized as apianist,  y oung composer and teacher of exceptional competence and received national and international praise for his work as a folklorist.


Once illustrious figure of the cultural environment, artistic and scientific Portuguese, was falling by the wayside. He abandoned the composition in the 40s to devote to ethnomusicology that after big hits, eventually bring many disappointments. The death of his wife, Túlia Santos [1], coincided with the end of the ethnomusicological career, right from the early 60s, it was exhausting to A. Santos: requests for support for field work without positive response, collections discs that used to take years to be edited, his ethnomusicologist status without official recognition, frustrated expectations for the creation of a Portuguese traditional music file and a school of ethnomusicology.


A research project completed in 2001 [2] disclose his personal and professional life and reconstitutes the ethnomusicological work including written documentation of production, recordings, photographs and ethnographic films and record collections (Beira Baixa and Beira Alta, Ilha da Terceira,  S. Miguel and Santa Maria). The documentation produced, its commitment to institutionalize ethnomusicology in Portugal, the international publicity that made the Portuguese traditional music and the recognition that their work had the national and international levels, stand out as the precursor of modern ethnomusicology in Portugal.


As a composer he only saw published twelve songs for voice and piano in the collection Portuguese Folk Songs (EN 1944 and 1948).


Is published now the Sonata in Mib Major (Prize Beethoven 1937) that with the Rondo Op. 3 for Piano (1931), the Rondo (classic style) for Symphony Orchestra (1st Composition Prize 1936), the Old Suite for orchestra (1941) and the eight Portuguese Folk Songs for Soprano and Symphony Orchestra, included in the group of his most representative works.


The estate (now deposited in the Angra do Heroísmo Museum and INET) also found dozens of harmonization of traditional Portuguese melodies for voice and piano and some choral works. They are to edit and, for many years, for playing and recording.


Although A. Santos have only made public some of what he composed and seem not to have interested in the dissemination of his work, the Eight Portuguese Folk Songs and the Old Suite  were directed by Pedro de Freitas Branco in Portugal and abroad, at least in France, Belgium, England, Germany, Switzerland and Brazil.


The harmonization for voice and piano were also repeatedly shown in concert in Portugal, France, Germany and Italy and recorded. It will be certainly worth rediscover the works that  A. Santos wrote and distinguished personalities who have marked as Vianna da Motta or the brothers Pedro and Luis de Freitas Branco, validated and released.


Cristina Brito da Cruz

Music School of Lisbon

(student of Prof. A. Santos 1973-1980)



[1] Tulia Ascension Ribeiro dos Santos Correia de Sousa (1914-1969) died at age 55. Out co-course A. Santos, in the piano class of Marcus Garin, and it was a diploma in piano at CN, but presented in lectures as a singer, accompanied at the piano by her husband. Respondents report having been an intelligent and outgoing woman who was fluent in four languages. The 18 who survived him, A. Santos did not field work, not published ethnomusicological work despite the collected material to enable the pursuit of studies.


[2] Cruz, Cristina Brito's (2001) Artur Santos and ethnomusicology in Portugal (1936-1969). Master's dissertation in Musicology, Ethnomusicology, under the guidance of Prof. Salwa Castelo-Branco, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, New University of Lisbon (unpublished).

This composer has 12 works on AvA:

Orchestra (10)

Ensemble (1)

Brass (1)

Voice (1)

Piano (1)