The Aga Khan Master Musicians (AKMM) delivered a stunning performance on 23 March to conclude the Madeira Music Festival at the Congress Centre in Funchal, Portugal. The concert generated significant enthusiasm in Madeira, resulting in a sold-out venue and the presence of the island’s highest authorities, alongside AKMM’s patrons Prince Amyn and Prince Aly Muhammad.

Among them were José Manuel Rodrigues, President of the Legislative Assembly, and Mr Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Regional Government. Additionally, several members of the Regional Government attended, representing various sectors such as Education, Science and Technology, Tourism and Culture, Finance, Agriculture and Environment, as well as Inclusion and Youth Development. The concert also attracted prominent figures from the local business community, academia, and civil society organisations.

The roots of AKMM stretch back to 2013, when the Aga Khan Music Programme envisioned a project that would celebrate “East-East Fusion” bringing together gifted musicians from historically connected regions, encouraging them to converse in their distinct musical languages. The Master Musicians are renowned performers and composer-arrangers who appear on the world’s most prestigious stages while also serving as preeminent teachers, mentors, and curators. On this occasion, the ensemble was comprised of Feras Charestan (qanun), Wu Man (pipa), Basel Rajoub (saxophone and duclar), Jasser Haj Youssef (viola d'amore), and Abbos Kosimov (doira). They performed alongside the Madeira Classical Orchestra led by Maestro Pedro Neves - Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, as well as Principal Conductor of the Espinho Classical Orchestra. 

At the concert, the Master Musicians performed pieces from their debut album, Nowruz, which reached number one on the World Music Charts Europe in February 2024, a testament to its broad appeal with its unique blend of folk, jazz, and classical influences. Their recent performances in Portugal include a concert at the São Joge Castle in Lisbon on 8 July 2022 in the presence of the President of Portugal, at the Forum2030 in Porto’s Alfandega, and at the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon on 31 July 2023, prior to His Holiness Pope Francis's visit to Portugal for World Youth Day 2023.

While rehearsing for the concert, the Masters conducted a well-attended composition and improvisation workshop at the Madeira Conservatory, Conservatório - Escola Profissional das Artes da Madeira.

Earler in the day, Prince Amyn and Prince Aly Muhammad visited the Cathedral of Funchal, with its impressive ceilings made of local cedar wood and inspired by Mudéjar design. The structure, with its mixture of Manueline, Morrish and other local influences, has been listed as a national monument.

AKMM is a project of the Aga Khan Music Programme, whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for artistic innovation inspired by Muslim musical heritage and tradition. AKMP provides vital support to talented artists and arts educators working to develop contemporary expressions of musical heritage through an extensive network of performance and arts training platforms that extends across the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as through the Aga Khan Music Awards.