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Details as performer
Born in Liège (Belgium), on the 8th of April 1906, to a family who originated from Oporto, Berta Alves de Sousa returned to this city when still very young and there she spent all her life as a teacher and composer. She graduated from the Oporto Conservatory in 1942, having studied with Bernardo Moreira de Sá, Luiz Costa, Lucien Lambert and Cláudio Carneyro. From 1927 to 1929, she studied in Paris with Wilhelm Backhaus and Theodore Szantó (piano) and George Migot (composition). In Lisbon, she improved her piano with Vianna da Motta. Having later became interested in conducting, she studied in Berlin with Clement Krauss and, in Lisbon, with Pedro de Freitas Branco. She later attended interpretation courses with Alfred Cortot (piano) and musical teaching with Edgar Willems. Berta Alves de Sousa entered the Oporto Music Conservatory in 1946 as a professor of the chamber music class. In 1949, she took over the Advanced Course of Piano in the same conservatory. At the same time, she took part in many recitals and concerts, as a soloist, as an accompanist and also as a conductress. She was member of the Board of the Institute of High Culture, has given numerous lectures and was active for many years as a music critic for the Oporto newspaper “O Primeiro de Janeiro”. As a composer, her works are mainly made up of chamber music, choral religious and symphonic music, adopting an impressionist aesthetic movement and making use of polytonality on a large scale in her compositions. She also carried out experiments in Sound Symmetry, which she worked on together with its creator, the composer Fernando Corrêa de Oliveira. In 1941 she was awarded the Moreira de Sá Prize, instituted by the Orpheon Portuense. Berta Alves de Sousa died in Oporto on the 1st of August 1997. Her musical legacy is currently held by Oporto Music Conservatory. (Biography based on the Catálogo Geral da Música Portuguesa, coord. Humberto d'Ávila)