Composer, pianist and percussionist, Constança Capdeville’s musical theatre is a combination of music with scenical elements, which she put into practice with the various music groups she founded.
She started her musical studies in Barcelona before permanently establishing herself in Portugal after 1951 due to the social and political circumstances that emerged from the Spanish Civil War. Constança Capdeville carried on her higher studies at Lisbon’s National Music Conservatory, where she took piano classes with Varela Cid and composition classes with Jorge Croner de Vasconcellos. She graduated in ancient music interpretation (transcription, scoring, clavichord, piano accompaniment) by attending Macário Santiago Kastner’s classes.
Constança Capdeville participated in some musicology projects with Gulbenkian, the National Library and the Ajuda Library. She also collaborated with Mário de Sampaio Ribeiro in a study concerning Domingos Marques Durán’s treatise Lux Bella. In the summer of 1962 she held a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and took composition classes in Galicia with Philip Jarnach. This led to the piece Variações sobre o nome de Stravinski (Variations on Stravinsky’s name), which earned her the National Conservatory’s Composition Prize. Countless seminars and improvement courses led to the presentation of her works in national and international festivals. She followed closely the performance of Lisbon’s University Orchestra, in which she participated many times as a composer and interpreter. She was also a member of Lisbon’s Minstrels, of the chamber group Convivium Musicum and of Lisbon’s Contemporary Music Group.
In 1969, after a request from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Constança Capdeville participated for the first time in Gulbenkian’s Music Festival, which allowed her to follow her own style. Throughout the years she particpated regularly in these festivals.
Constança Capdeville was a forerunner in the writing of musical theatre pieces in Portugal, a genre to which she dedicated herself more and more, especially after 1980 with the group ColecViva, founded and directed by her. Constança’s creation therefore mirrors an aesthetical reflection on the impossibility of separating life from the arts, without ever forgetting the importance of the work’s sound, gesture and literary research. One should also underline the use of scenical elements in some of her chamber pieces and also the writing of music for film.
Constança Capdeville also distinguished herself in the teaching of composition, namely at Santa Cecília’s Music Academy, Lisbon’s Higher School of Music and the Musical Sciences Department of Lisbon’s Universidade Nova . In 1992 she was awarded the posthumous honourable state title Grau de Comendador da Ordem de Santiago de Espada.