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João Paulo Santos was born in Lisbon and studied piano at the city’s Conservatório Nacional with Adriano Jordão. He also worked with Helena Costa, Constança Capdeville, Lola Aragón and Elisabeth Grümmer. Thanks to a Gulbenkian Foundation bursary, he was able to continue his studies in Paris, with Aldo Ciccolini (1979–84). In 1984 he was appointed assistant chorus director at Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, becoming chorus director six years later. Having begun his conducting career with Walton’s The Bear, he later conducted the world première of Pinho Vargas’s Édipo, tragédia de saber at Lisbon’s Culturgest. At that same venue he performed the complete Hindemith Piano Sonatas and conducted Menotti’s Help, Help, the Globolinks!. At the Teatro de São Carlos he gave the Portuguese première of Stravinsky’s Renard and world première of Pinho Vargas’s Os Dias Levantados, and he has also conducted productions of Henze’s The English Cat (which earned him the ACARTE prize), Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto and Britten’s Albert Herring.

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