Baritone Jorge Chaminé receives Helena Vaz da Silva European Award 2023 at moving ceremony in Lisbon
The Baritone Jorge Chaminé, President of the Centre Européen de Musique, received the Helena Vaz da Silva European Award for Raising Public Awareness on Cultural Heritage 2023 at a moving ceremony held on 23 October at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. In his eloquent acceptance speech, Jorge Chaminé emphasised the power of music to build bridges between cultures and peoples. “Today, more than ever, we need music as a social link and an instrument of peace,” he stated in front of an audience of 160 people.
The ceremony was attended by high-level representatives of the partners of the Award – namely the Centro Nacional de Cultura, Europa Nostra, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Tourism of Portugal and the Ministry of Culture of Portugal –, Members of the Jury, the Mayor of Lisbon, and many other colleagues, friends and relatives of Jorge Chaminé, who travelled from various European countries to Lisbon for this special event.
The Helena Vaz da Silva European Award 2023 pays tribute to Jorge Chaminé as one of the greatest artistic and intellectual ambassadors of European cultural heritage, both intangible and tangible. “After a highly successful international career as a baritone, during which he presented and promoted the cultural heritage of Europe in many opera houses and concert halls, not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world, Jorge Chaminé decided to dedicate the last 20 years of his life to promoting the European spirit and identity through classical music, working mostly on a voluntary basis,” noted the Jury of the Award.
In his acceptance speech, Jorge Chaminé emphasised the power of music to build bridges between cultures and peoples. Quoting the Greek philosopher Heraclitus ‘Music is the only human manifestation that manages to marry opposites’, he stated: “Today, more than ever, we need music as a social link and an instrument of peace. (…) So let’s use music as a driver of dialogue and democracy.” He concluded: “I’m sure that Stefan Zweig’s marvellous words will come true: ‘In the history of wars, we are all enemies; in the history of culture, we are all brothers’.”
The Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, wholeheartedly thanked Jorge Chaminé for all the extraordinary work that he has done, and will continue to do, to make Europe and the world better and more peaceful. “Thank you on behalf of all of us. You are the real European voice of cultural and cultural heritage. It has been an immense pleasure for all of us to honour you with this prestigious European Award.”
The President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, congratulated Jorge Chaminé – who was born in Porto and studied Law at the University of Coimbra – on this well-deserved European recognition. In a video message broadcast at the event, the President of the Republic of Portugal stated: “We need artists and perhaps musicians more than any other. We also urgently need men and women of goodwill for whom culture is both aesthetics and humanism.”
In his address, Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, Trustee of the Gulbenkian Foundation, in his capacity as Member of the Jury, spoke about Jorge Chaminé’s impressive career and contribution to promoting Europe’s values and identity. He thanked the baritone and all the winners of the Helena Vaz da Silva Award – from the Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv (winner of the 2022 edition) to the Italian writer Claudio Magris (winner of the first edition in 2013) – “for making cultural heritage a living reality”.
In her address, Maria Calado, President of the Centro Nacional de Cultura and President of the Jury of the Award, paid homage to Helena Vaz da Silva (1939-2002), Portuguese journalist, writer, cultural activist and Member of the European Parliament, for her work promoting “culture as a driver of development, freedom, creation and citizenship”.
In her address, the Secretary of State for Culture, Isabel Cordeiro, congratulated the winner of the Helena Vaz da Silva European Award 2023 as well as the Portuguese winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2023 on their remarkable achievements.
Tribute to the Portuguese winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2023
During the ceremony in Lisbon, the Portuguese winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2023 were also celebrated.
The rehabilitation project of the Mudéjar Ceilings of the Cathedral of Funchal in Madeira was presented by Francisco António de Clode Sousa, Director of Cultural Heritage Services at the Regional Secretariat of Tourism and Culture. The restoration of these rare Mudéjar style ceilings, covering 1500 m2, was carried out using the best practices in wood conservation and involved an interdisciplinary team of top professionals of various nationalities.
Pedro Cardoso, Vice-President of Cantanhede City Council, spoke about the Research project Safeguarding of the Artisanal Fishing Technique “Arte-Xávega”. Through the transfer of knowledge and know-how, this project showcases exemplary practices of safeguarding “Arte-Xávega”, one of the last examples of artisanal and sustainable fishing in the European Union.
The ALMADA Project, Lisbon, winner in the Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness-raising category, was outlined by Milene Gil, Researcher of Heritage Science at HERCULES Laboratory. This multidisciplinary project utilises scientific research to present the mural art of Almada Negreiros, one of Portugal’s most influential artists of the 20th century, in a new light. Its public outreach to diverse communities is exemplary.
Ana Paula Amendoeira, Alentejo Regional Director for Culture, presented the outstanding work of the archaeologist Cláudio Torres and the research centre that he created in Mértola, which have played a pivotal role in fostering the appreciation and conservation of Islamic heritage in Portugal.
Cláudio Torres, who attended the entire event, thanked Europa Nostra and the European Commission for the Award and highlighted the key role of heritage as a driver of social and economic development.