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foto Fernando Cerqueira
Fernando Cerqueira (Vila de Rio do Braço - Ilhéus, 8.9.1941)

FERNANDO BARBOSA DE CERQUEIRA is a composer and educator, who also acted as professional clarinetist and singer. In the Music School of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), he studied composition with Ernst Widmer, clarinet with Walter Endress and Wilfried Beck and singing with Sonia Born. He started to compose in 1959 and graduated in composition in 1969.

His professional career started in 1970, in the Music Department at the University of Brasilia, where he taught until 1974.

Cerqueira returned to Salvador in 1975 and became professor of the School of Music at the Federal University, teaching in the undergraduate and graduate levels until 1993. At UFBA he was also Coordinator of the “Composition and Conducting” course and Chairman of the “Composition & Theory”Department. In 2000 he started working for an NGO (Axé Center) which develops music and art education projects for children and youngsters under social risk. There he works as consultant and music director.

Cerqueira was founding member of the Composers Group of Bahia (1966) and of the Brazilian Contemporary Music Society (1972).

He created a esthetically diverse work, where the new music experimentalism frequently interacts with materials taken from northeastern folk themes and indigenous motives. An intimate relationship between music and Brazilian poetry may be found in his works on poems by Haroldo de Campos, Jorge de Lima, J. C. de Melo Neto, Manuel Bandeira, C. D. de Andrade, Cecília Meireles, Antônio Brasileiro, Milôr Fernandes and J. C. Capinam. This interest led him to conceive a compositional system derived from the text, which was developed in his dissertation for the Master’s degree in Literary Theory (UFBA, 1993): "Musicality and Poetry: Anxiousness and Rejection of Sense". Theorizing upon correspondences between structures of music and poetry and analyzing poems by Manuel Bandeira and C. D. de Andrade under the perspective of its fundamental music, he proposed a basis for an optimized treatment of poetic texts in musical creation.

Vocal music, therefore, has a considerable weight in Cerqueira’s work, in his pieces for a cappella choir, chamber ensemble with voice, choir and orchestra or orchestra, choir and solo voices. Another notable tendency is his preference for chamber ensembles of non traditional formations. His collaborations for the Modern Dance Group of UFBA and the Experimental Dance Group of Bahia, resulting in some audiocomplements for choreography, side by side with his soundtracks for films (Inventions and The Stone of Richness) and music for the theater (Say Yes, Say No, Family Album and Yerma) also point toward a third weight in his work: incidental music.

Cerqueira has been presented in many editions of the Brazilian Contemporary Music Biennial in Rio de Janeiro since 1975. Eight of his works were prizewinners in Brazil, three of which won first prizes: Parable (1976), Obstinations (1977) and Lampião’s Entrance in Hell (1984). He also won “Audience Prizes” with the works Decantation (1970) and Ruptures (1981). Presently, besides acting as art educator, Fernando Cerqueira continues developing his compositional work with special interest for the interaction of characteristic structures from contemporary music and other artistic languages with elements from popular culture.

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