Constança Capdeville

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Constança Capdeville (16 March 1937 – 4 February 1992) was a Portuguese pianist, percussionist, music educator and composer. She was born in Barcelona and lived in the village of Caxias as a child, writing piano compositions at an early age. She studied piano and composition at the Lisbon Conservatorio Nacional.

After completing her musical studies, Capdeville taught music at the National Conservatory and the New University of Lisbon. She was a member of the Portuguese Council of Music and the Catalan Composers Association of Barcelona. She won the Portuguese Medal of Cultural Merit in 1990, and the Insignia of the Order of Santiago da Espada posthumously in 1992. She died in Caxias.[1] [2] [3]


Constança Capdeville came from a family closely knit to many of the arts. In her youth she was exposed to creative geniuses including Salvador Dalí.

Capdeville began her music studies in Barcelona before having settled down permanently in Portugal in 1951. She pursued further studies in piano with Varela Cid and musical composition with Jorge Croner de Vasconcellos, having received her dimploma for Higher Education in Music from the National Conservatory of Lisbon. She thenceforth specialized her studies in music by applying herself to the "Study of Ancient Music" (paleography/transcribing, organology, clavichord and Performance practice) with Macário Santiago Kastner.

A prolific Portuguese composer, already having begun her musical studies at an early age at the National Conservatory of Lisbon, she had composed many pieces of which were mostly for her instrument, the piano. By 1969 she had begun to have her works commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for its orchestra.

Before having her life cut short at the age of 54, she was an active writer having produced approximately 100 pieces for: orchestra, chamber ensembles, a variety of soloists using different instruments, music for films and plays, Ballet / Dance, 'dramatized' staged performances and an assortment of other types of pieces. From early on her music revealed close ties to the dramatic arts and to the imagery of the Human status evoked though sound and Mise en scène.

Always deeply and profoundly moved by the various Arts her work and mode of conduct in Music was, and is, laden with multiple artistic perception. It is thus not surprising in the least that she had been throughout her life a close artistic and personal friend of music genius Jorge Peixinho who had himself been a towering influence upon the contemporary Portugal of the latter half of the 20th century (in many fronts of music creation, development and divulging among other activities).

She was also a talented percussionist but as a musician her main instrument was the piano.

She taught at the above mentioned conservatory, at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa and at the Academia de Musica de Santa Cecilia (in Lisbon). Having taught in said institutions as well as at the Musicology department of the 'Universidade Nova de Lisboa' (New University of Lisbon) 's Faculty of Humanities ( UNL- FCSH ) she therefrom exerted high influence upon many, some of which not only pursued the life of music and composition but are themselves recipients of prestigious national and international awards (Eurico Carrapatoso among others).

Among other groups and entities Capdeville was an esteemed member of the Portuguese Music Council and also the Catalan Composers Association of Barcelona. By 1990 she had won the Portuguese Medal of Cultural Merit. The Insignia of the Order of Santiago da Espada was bestowed upon her posthumously in 1992.

Her life had been cut short that same year on February 4 due to Cancer. She was still residing in Caxias at the time.


Capdeville composed about a hundred works, including orchestral music, theater works and film soundtracks. Selected works include:

  • Diferenças Sobre o Intervalo' (1967) for orchestra
  • Libera me (1979) for ensemble (choir, piano, percussion, tape and lights)
  • Cerro Maior (dir. Luís Filipe Rocha, 1980) film music
  • Don't Juan (1985), anti-opera, musical theatre
  • Solo de Violino (dir. Monique Rutler, 1990) film music
  • Take 91 (1991), musical theatre
  • "Que mon chant ne soît plus d'oiseau," (1991) for orchestra

Groups and ensembles[edit]

  • Convivium Musicum, ensemble
  • ColecViva, musical theatre
  • Opus Sic, music for films and performances
  • Palavras por dentro, theatrical[4]


  1. ^ Sadie, Stanley; Tyrrell, John (2001). The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians: Volume 14. 
  2. ^ "Portuguese Music Research & Information Centre". Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers (Digitized online by GoogleBooks). Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Constance Capdeville (1937–1992)". Retrieved 19 January 2011.