CIMS - Cidnay International Masterclass Series ®

Cidnay Festival & Academy


CIMS – Cidnay International Masterclass Series, Festival & Academy, is an event that promotes musical excellence, of an international character, and inspires the community and younger generations through Art.

CIMS affirms a holistic vision, providing players and listeners with undeniable moments of musical subtlety, accompanied by time for relaxation and meditation, time to visit local cultural and environmental heritage, and time for sharing and debate, relating music with architecture, with sculpture - with the arts; with the life of the community, from different spatial and chronological contexts.

Thus, CIMS has as core concept the CONTACT. Contact between musicians, artists, between teacher and students, between participants of different latitudes, with other expressions and artistic languages, with fields of knowledge and experiences complementary to music, with a variety of audiences, partners, between presential and digital. This way, we fulfill the purpose of offering an inspiring program, rich in content, and that positions itself as an obligatory stop-off point for the most talented musicians.

Held in a city bathed by the Ave river, CIMS' Academy inspires young musicians through contact with a deep mark of the Baroque architecture, São Bento Monastery. In addition, Santo Tirso is, today, one of the European capitals of contemporary sculpture, with artworks distributed around the city, in spaces of enjoyment, such as squares, gardens and parks. The architectural work of Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura, Pritzker Prizes, can also be admired, particularly the MIEC, Museu Internacional da Escultura Contemporânea (International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture).

© Carlos Vilela

It is within this context, of contact between historical and artistic periods, that fit the spaces where the Academy masterclasses and rehearsals are held, with openness to the local community. Fábrica de Santo Thyrso, Centro de Arte Alberto Carneiro and Quinta de Fora are spaces with privileged views, close to the river and, the last one, property of an Agricultural School.

The main accommodation facility for musicians is also a privileged space, a charming unit, Cidnay Santo Tirso – Charming Hotel & Executive Center. ➥ more

Finally, CIMS assumes a vocation of social responsibility, by establishing a partnership with a reference entity, in Portugal, in the childcare for children suffering abuse, to provide, within the program, awareness building amongst the younger generations to the importance of music in their recovery for life.

CIMS stands in the national and international panorama of the events of artistic and cultural valorization, with a regular character.


Cidnay Festival & Academy 2023



OPENING CONCERT Mischa Maisky & Maisky Trio @ Nave Cultural - Fábrica de Santo Thyrso // SEP 03 18h00 | TICKETS

ACADEMY CONCERT Cello & Chamber Music @ Centro de Arte Alberto Carneiro // SEP 05 21h30

Eszter Haffner with Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro & Juventus Ensemble @ TNF, Riba d'Ave // SEP 08 21h30

ACADEMY CONCERT Violin @ Centro de Arte Alberto Carneiro // SEP 09 16h00

ACADEMY CONCERT Viola @ Centro de Arte Alberto Carneiro // NOV 25

CLOSING CONCERT Nobuko Imai @ Palácio da Bolsa, Porto // NOV 26


Cidnay ACADEMY @ Centro de Arte Alberto Carneiro






Santo Tirso, Portugal

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Mischa Maisky - Guest Professor

Mischa Maisky has the distinction of being the only cellist in the world to have studied with both Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky. Rostropovich lauded Maisky as "... one of the most outstanding talents of the younger generation of cellists. His playing combines poetry and exquisite delicacy with great temperament and brilliant technique."

Born in Latvia, educated in Russia and later repatriated to Israel; Maisky has been enthusiastically received in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Tokyo and many other major music centres.

He considers himself a citizen of the world: “I’m playing an Italian cello, with French and German bows and Austrian and German strings, my 6 children were born in 4 different countries, my wife is half Sri Lankan-half Italian, I’m driving a Japanese and an American electric car, I wear an Indian necklace and a Swiss watch, and I feel at home everywhere where people appreciate and enjoy classical music.”

Truly a world-class musician and a regular guest at most major International Festivals, he has collaborated with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Yuri Temirkanov, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev, Kirill Petrenko, Paavo Järvi and Gustavo Dudamel.

His musician partnerships have included artists such as Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Nelson Freire, Evgeny Kissin, Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen to name just a few.

One of the highlights of his career was the year 2000. It was mainly devoted to a world-wide Bach tour of over 100 concerts! An expression of his deep admiration for this great composer is that Maisky has recorded Bach's Solo Suites three times, with his Cello Suite No. 1 being viewed more than 45 million times on YouTube.

As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist for more than 30 years he made over 35 recordings with such orchestras as the Vienna, Berlin and Israel Philharmonics, the London Symphony, L‘Orchestre de Paris, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and others.

In 2018, the very personal album ‘Adagietto’ was released with his pianist daughter Lily, and featuring bonus live recordings with Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin and his violinist son Sascha. Included is a multi-track arrangement of Mahler’s Adagietto from his 5th Symphony with Maisky playing all parts (except the harp), a project the cellist had dreamed of for many years.

His latest recording is entitled ‘20 th Century Classics’ and includes a Bonus CD of the world premiere of Benjamin Yusupov’s cello concerto (dedicated to Maisky) as well as a multi-track recording of ‘Bachianas Brasileiras’ by Heitor Villa Lobos.

In June 2021, DG released a set of complete recordings with over 40 CDs.

Maisky’s recordings have enjoyed world-wide critical acclaim and have been awarded the prestigious Record Academy Prize in Tokyo five times and the Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis three times, as well as the Grand Prix du Disque in Paris and the Diapason d’Or of the Year, as well as receiving several coveted Grammy nominations.

His long and illustrious career has brought Maisky many honors and awards, just some of which include:

In 2018, as Maisky was awarded the 46th Istanbul Music Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, he was lauded as ‘one of the greatest living cellists of our time’ for his ‘profound artistry and devotion to music’.

In 2019, he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music. This honor is limited to 300 living persons at a time, recognising Maisky alongside such greats as Mendelssohn, Liszt, Stravinsky and Casals.

In 2021, Maisky was appointed Honorary Academician of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia; founded in 1585, one of the oldest and most prestigious musical institutions in the world. The title of ‘Accademico Onorario’ is awarded to “the most outstanding foreign musicians and musicologists” and Maisky is only the second cellist ever to receive it.

In June 2021, Maisky received the Honorary Fellow Award of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.


Lily Maisky - Guest Professor

Lily Maisky was born in Paris, moving to Brussels soon after. She began playing the piano at the age of four, with Lyl Tiempo, also studying with Hagit Kerbel, Ilana Davids and Alan Weiss. Lily was a pupil at the “Purcell School of Music” from 2001 till 2005 where she also studied jazz piano. She has received master classes and musical advice from renowned artists including Martha Argerich, Dmitri Bashkirov, Joseph Kalichstein, Pavel Gililov and Vitalij Margulis, to name a few.

Concert appearances have taken her throughout Europe and she regularly tours the Far East, North and South America. Lily has been invited to many of the great festivals such as the Verbier Festival, Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, the Edinburgh Festival, Miyazaki Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bergamo-Brescia, the Beijing Piano Festival, the Franz Liszt festival in Austria, Julian Rachlin and Friends in Dubrovnik, Rencontres de Bel Air in France, Gstaad Festival, the Schlesswig-Holstein Music Festival as well as the Berlin Festival and many others.

She has had the privilege of performing concertos under the batons of maestros Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Sanderling, Gerd Albrecht, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Daniel Raiskin, Alberto Veronesi, Jack Martin Händler, Josep Caballé-Domenech, Enrique Diemecke and Charles Olivieri Munroe, amongst others. She has also performed in such prestigious venues as the Royal Festival Hall in London, Vienna’s Musikverein and Concerthaus, Munich’s Prinzregentheatre, Hamburg’s Leiszhalle and Elbphilarmonie, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Venezia's La Fenice, Bonn's BeethovenHalle, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, Rome's Teatro Olimpico, Moscow Conservatory, Saint Petersburg Philarmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Seoul’s Performing Arts Center, Athens Megaron, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Essen Philarmonie, Auditorium de Lyon and Teatro Colon in Argentina, among many others.

Lily has released several recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI and Belgian label Avanti Classics, has been frequently broadcasted on radio and television worldwide as well as featuring in several documentaries. Her latest releases on Deutsche Grammophon, “Adagietto” and “Twentieth Century Classics” were vert well received and there are many more projects in the making.

Lily has a predilection for chamber music and forms a regular duo with Mischa Maisky, as well as the Maisky trio with her brother. She has also performed with such artists as Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen, Dora Schwarzberg, Renaud Capuçon, Maxim Rysanov, Gérard Caussé, Chantal Juillet, Sergey Krylov, Martha Argerich, Nicholas Angelich, Frank Braley, as well as Yossif Ivanov, Marc Bouchkov, Rosanne Philippens, Philippe Quint, Alissa Margulis, Hrachya Avanesyan, Geza Hosszu-Legocky, Boris Andrianov, Isztvan Vardai, Alexander Mogilevsky, Alexander Chaushian, Orfeo Mandozzi, Alena Baeva, Boris Brovstyn and the Szymanowski Quartet.

Lily is a Steinway Artist and the proud owner of the last instrument of the legendary Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

"Lily Maisky establishes her credentials as an exceptional pianist" BBC Music Magazine

"Lily Maisky played with grace, vigour and composure proving how well rounded a musician she is." Musical Criticism, Edinburgh International Festival

"As an experienced, sensitive but independent young pianist, Lily Maisky presented herself in Munich’s Prinzregententheatre as highly talented." Süddeutsche Zeitung

Sasha Maisky - Guest Professor

Sascha Maisky was born in Brussels on the 11th of May 1989 and began his violinistic studies at the age of three. His early professors include Leonid Kerbel, Leon Souroujon and Igor Oistrakh. At the age of twelve, the course of his musical education led him to the Purcell School in London where his Professors were Macej Rakowski and Evgueny Grach.

Sascha performs Solo and Chamber works at prestigious venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, Musikverein Vienna, Tonhalle Zürich, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall as well as at the Verbier and Lugano Festivals alongside artists such as Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen and Yuri Bashmet. Sascha appears regularly in Trio with his father Mischa and sister Lily, also performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.

Sascha has had the privilege of receiving musical guidance from Julian Rachlin, Maxim Vengerov, Felix Andrievsky, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Vadim Gluzman, Edvard Grach, Nam-Yun Kim and Dmitri Sitkovetsky. Having completed his studies in England with honors, Sascha then moved to Vienna where his Professor was Boris Kuschnir.


Eszter Haffner - Guest Professor

"...Viennese Elegance and Hungarian Temperament.." Die Presse, Austria

The Austrian artist with Hungarian roots, Eszter Haffner is one of the most exciting and respected violinists of our time. Over the last 30 years, she has been captivating audiences around the world with her distinctively rich sound, superb musicianship and outstanding interpretations. She has established close relationships with the most prestigious conductors and orchestras. Always willing to expand her musical horizons, Eszter is also much sought after as a violist. Her social mission in the Papageno organization in Chile and her tireless commitment of the arts to the Republic of Austria was rewarded in summer 2021 with the federal award "Golden Decoration of Honor“ for artistic services to the Republic of Austria".

Since 2000 she has been a professor for violin at the Royal Academy of Music Copenhagen (Denmark), at the University of Art in Graz, at the MDW in Vienna, Austria, as well as a visiting professor at the Royal College London, the Sibelius Academy Helsinki, the Franz Liszt Academy Budapest, at the Academy of Music Oslo, Shanghai Conservatory, Shanghai Middle School, JMC Jerusalem and Tijanjin Conservatory.

She was a Jury member at many international violin competitions as: Spohr Competition Germany, Isang Yung Competition Korea, Piccolo Magico Violin Competition Italy, Andrea Postacchini Competition Italy, Szymanowsky Competition Poland, Baczewich Competition Poland, Serguei Azizian Competition Denmark, LIVE Music Now Austria, Singapur Violin Competition, Brahms Competition Austria etc.

Eszter plays the "ex Hamma Segelmann" Violin by Nicola Bergonzi 1780 on loan to her courtesy of the National Bank of Austria. Her strings are kindly sponsored by „Larsen Strings“, her bow by Mr.Charles Shih and her CD recordings by NEIRO Productions, Vienna. Her latest recordings of the Mozart violin concertos’ with the Salzburg Soloists were released in 2021.

She works as a consultant for the organization “Live Music Now” in Vienna founded by Lord Yehudi Menuhin; the Aurora and Old Ox Festivals Sweden and the “Virtuoso Belcanto” Festival in Lucca, Italy. As the organizer of the “Serguei Azizian” competition in Denmark and as a member of the jury faculties for major international competitions, she promotes young talents from all over the world.

She is a faculty member of the “PE-Förderkreis der Studierenden” Mannheim (Germany) and lecturer at the “Villa Musica” Mainz (Germany).

Since 2017, Eszter is curator of the Arts at the Austrian Embassy in Copenhagen. Eszter is member of the Ensembles Haffner Strings, Haffner Trio and the Aurora-Old Ox Ensemble Sweden.

After studying with Prof. Gerhard Schulz, Sandor Vegh, Philippe Hirshorn, György Kurtág and Thomas Kakuska at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Budapest and Utrecht, she played her debut in 1991 in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein under the direction of Karl Österreicher. Since then she has been at home in the world's largest concert halls. She is winner of numerous international competitions and awards, as well she participates in countless music festivals around the world.

She devotes herself enthusiastically to the works of contemporary composers.

Countless compositions by Alfred Huber, Peter Eötvös, Aleksey Igudesman and Volker David Kirchner have already been written for her.


Nobuko Imai - Guest Professor

With her exceptional talent, musical integrity, and charisma, Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding violist of our time.

After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, Yale University and the Juilliard School, she won the highest prizes at both the prestigious international competition in Munich and Geneva. Formerly a member of the esteemed Vermeer Quartet, Ms. Imai now combines a distinguished international solo career. She has appeared with many of the wolrd’s prestigious orchestras such as Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London, Boston, and Chicago Symphonies, among many others.

A keen chamber musician, Ms. Imai has often performed with world’s renowned artists at numerous world’s most distinguished music festivals, including Marlboro, Pablo Casals in Prado, Ravinia, and Verbier. From 2003 to 2020, Nobuko Imai was founding member of Michelangelo String Quartet. The quartet achieved numerous acclaimed projects such like the Beethoven quartet cyle in Scotland and Japan and the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s “Goetia. 72 – In umbra Lucis”, among others.

Nobuko Imai has dedicated a large part of her artistic activities to explore the diverse potential of the viola. In 1995/1996 she was artistic director of three Hindemith Festivals in London, New York, and Tokyo. She is the funder of the annual “Viola Space” project which is dedicated to “celebrating the viola, introducing outstanding works and new works for viola”. And also, since 2009, the Tokyo International Viola Competition is held every three years as part of the Viola Space. She is also keen to expand the viola repertoire and has given a number of first performances of the composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Toshio Hosokawa, Ichiro Nodaira, Michael Tippett, among many others.

An impressive discography of over 40 CDs shows Nobuko Imai’s recordings for prestigious labels such as Philips, BIS, Deutsche Grammophon.

Her many prizes include the Avon Arts Award, the Education Minister’s Art Prize for Music awarded by the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs, the Mobil Prize, the Suntory Music Prize, and the Mainichi Art Prize. Ms. Imai received the Purple Ribbon Medal and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette from the Japanese government.

Ms. Imai now teaches at Amsterdam Conservatory, Kronberg International Academy, and Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid.




Eszter Haffner - Guest Professor




Máté Szücs - Guest Professor

Máté Szücs & Isolda Crespi LIVE @ CIMS FINALE 2021




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Difficulties submitting the application form? Please email or call +351 961 454 331 (Francisca Azevedo - Academy Application's Manager)


at CIMS' core


Santo Tirso is a city located 24 km from Porto and Guimarães. The nearest airport is less than 20 km away and there are good railway and road connections available. Still from a geographic point of view, this city is located in a point of transition between the Atlantic coast and the inland part of the north of the country.

The historical origins are related with the existing monastery, founded (or rebuilt), during the 10th century, by the Benedictine monks. Santo Tirso has held the title of county seat since 1834, keeping a current population of about 70,000 inhabitants. Economically, the textile and clothing industries are well implanted in this region. In terms of areas of interest worth being mentioned, we cannot ignore the Ave river and the countless waterfalls, as well as natural parks and forests, thermal baths, and tourism farms. Additionally, you can also find Romanesque and Baroque monuments, local handicrafts, attend popular festivals and taste the local gastronomy and wines as well as the conventual sweets.

San Rosendo, who spent the last part of his life as a bishop in the already notorious cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (968-977), and was the founder of the Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova, which stimulated culture and the development of Christian kingdoms at the threshold of the year thousand, was born in the territory of Santo Tirso, in the current parish of São Miguel do Couto.

© Carlos Vilela

The quality of life in Santo Tirso is undeniably good and this idea is reinforced by the substantial cultural offer available. Amongst the existing cultural organizations, we can highlight MIEC - International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture (➥ more), Alberto Carneiro Art Center, the Municipal Museum Abade Pedrosa (with a vast archaeological collection), the Municipal Historical Archive, the Municipal Library, the Interpretative Center of the Monte Padrão (Archaeological Station), ARTAVE - Artistic Professional School and countless other schools. In addiction, there are also spaces of exhibition and enjoyment, such as the Fábrica de Santo Thyrso and its Nave Cultural, or the Vila das Aves Cultural Center, together with sporting facilities and nature related activities.

Santo Tirso can also be proud of having a living heritage of musical ensembles, folklore and theater groups, dance academies, numerous local cultural spaces and festivities. There are several plastic artists who were born or currently reside in this city, amongst whom we name Tomaz Pelayo and José Cavadas, in addition to a vast group of great photographers. On this website, you can take a look at some beautiful shots by Carlos Vilela.

Santo Tirso hosts, annually, an International Guitar Festival, an International Organ Festival and regular International Cello Masterclasses, promoted by the Franz Schubert Foundation.




Please use the contacts below for extra information!


Academy application inquiries:

Call: +351 961 454 331 Francisca Azevedo

Artistic inquiries:

Call: +351 932 786 766 João Álvares Abreu

CIMS Headquarters: Rua José Cavadas 72, 4780-486 Santo Tirso, PORTUGAL

  • Executive Director: João Álvares Abreu
  • Artistic and Pedagogical Director: João Álvares Abreu
  • Artistic and Pedagogical Coordinator: Henrique Constância
  • Stage Manager: Henrique Constância
  • Production Coordinator/Academy Manager: Francisca Azevedo
  • Production: André Reis, Verónica Costa, Ana Castro, Tiago Mirra, Luana Cunha
  • Photography: Ângelo Moreira
  • Design: Nuno de Sousa
  • © Carlos Vilela