Rui Massena, a Portuguese musician and composer, has been playing the piano since the age of five and has been a conductor since he was 27. When he released his second album of originals "Ensemble", he immediately reached number 1 on national sales charts in Portugal.
With a solo career of only three years, two original albums and a third coming out at 3rd november 2018, he is now heard in more than 60 countries and has been chosen by the publisher Deutsche Grammophon as a contemporary global talent.
His songs convey tranquility punctuated with moments of great emotion.
His career indicates that we can trust him.
Massena has been selected to become a part of publisher Deutsche Grammaphon’s music compilation, which pinpoints the trends and talents of the last 20 years. This current of neoclassicism is entitled “Expo 1” and is a double compilation including 29 compositions by authors like Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, John Cage, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Arnold Kasar, Philip Glass, Ólafur Arnalds, among other names. Rui Massena joins the compilation with the theme "Valsa", from his second album "Ensemble".
His first album of originals, "Solo", released in 2015, reached number 2 on the sales charts in Portugal with an intimate and moving language, conveying a focused tranquility. After 14 years conducting various orchestral ensembles, Rui Massena appears here playing his own piano compositions as well as a duet with violin.
The composer considers "Solo" as a “spiritual retreat" necessary in maintaining his artistic equilibrium, which surprisingly launched him into a solo career, ensuring the strength of his name.
His second album, released in 2016, rose to the top of the charts, occupying number 1 in Portugal.
This album by Rui Massena embodies an artful reconciliation between the mellow and the frenetic as his inspiration or necessity demand.
"Ensemble" begins with an "Abraço" (hug) and ends with a "Valsa" (waltz).
It is poetic and positive music, but also structured and engaging. After listening to "Ensemble", a new dimension is born with the help of the string section of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
The much anticipated third album of original themes is more progressive and will be released on November 3, 2018 with the label of Universal Music.
On one hand, it is clear that electronics and the avant-garde were incorporated along the way. Simultaneously, we realize after a few seconds of listening that the values of his music are present: calm, stimulating and full of emotion.
His training as a conductor afforded him the opportunity to lead more than 30 orchestras in 14 countries over more than a decade. He superbly played the great repertoire of the history of symphonic music: he was the first Portuguese conductor to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York and, for two seasons, was principal guest maestro of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma. He created a symphonic orchestra - "Fundação Orquestra Estúdio" - when he was musical programmer of "Guimarães 2012 - European Capital of Culture", and was artistic director and chief conductor of the Orquestra Clássica da Madeira for 12 years.
His career reveals a sense of great responsibility and respect for the classical symphonic repertoire, as proven by the release of the collection of five albums "Mozart 252 years", published by EMI Classics, where he played the composer’s orchestral works.
But his constant restlessness and search for purpose have always led Rui Massena to find new languages. His innovative energy attracted the best musicians to accompany in his projects, with clean arrangements and orchestrations. He directed and recorded "The Zephyrtine", a disc edited in association with American composer David Chesky, with binaural technology.
After 18 years of a musical life, solid training, and a supreme desire to intimately communicate with his adoring audience, Rui Massena follows the tri-fold path of composer, conductor, and pianist.
And we are here to listen to him.