Eugénio’s interest in writing music started when, already working as an auto mechanic, oily fingers and all, he began taking piano and music lessons.
Today, of his work it has been said that it is “of a rigorous writing, fresh and unencumbered by the various schools” (James Manheim – Allmusic.com); “a music which is at the same time powerfully rhythmic and highly lyrical” (Ivan Moody – composer/musicologist); “his works come close to an aesthetic that could be considered post-minimalist, yet they refuse the simplistic side by drawing upon a rich universe of references and elaborate manipulation of the musical materials” (Cristina Fernandes – Público).
His works have been premiered in a wide range of venues including at a correctional institution, at a church, at a grade school and even on a floating stage. He has written for children as listeners and as performers including works for child soprano and string orchestra (fontis amorum), for adult and children’s choir (each minim mote), and an opera, which includes children performers ( oriana), based on the tale, A Fada Oriana, by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.
He is interested in working with dramatic and non-dramatic texts and has a special interest in works that can be performed on stage or in other settings, such as gardens, town squares, historic sites or at a café.
Eugénio enjoys composing for dance and has collaborated with choreographers Fred Darsow (kicking up sand, oda al mar y otras odas, cernicalo) and Hillel Konan (tormenta e harmonia).
He was awarded a First Prize by the Washington International Competition for Composers for his string quartet mata hari and an Honorable Mention in the Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Competition for his choral work matutinal. His work dança was selected for the ISCM World Music Days in Essen, Germany.
Among the organizations which have performed and commissioned his music are the American Dance Festival, the Arditti Quartet, the Ciompi String Quartet, The Chicago Ensemble, The Dale Warland Singers, the Ives Chamber Orchestra, The Minneapolis Vocal Consort, The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, England, the Ricercare Choir, the Lacerda Quartet, the Cheng Quartet, and the National Orchestra of Porto, among others.
He has received the generous support of the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Phillip Morris Companies, American Composers Forum, National Endowment for the Arts, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Helen W. Buckner Trust and the Luso-Americana Foundation.
His works have been performed in Europe and throughout the United States including performances at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, at the Lincoln Center and the Kitchen in New York City, and at Expo ’98 (Word’s Fair in Lisbon, Portugal). The Portuguese National Ballet commissioned and premiered his dance work tormenta e harmonia. The Music Festival of Cistermúsica, in Alcobaça, Portugal, has commissioned and premiered two of his work: fontis amorum for soprano and string orchestra, based on the theme of Inês de Castro, and tágides, for symphonic band, based on a poem by Camões about the mythical creatures of the Tagus River. The oboist Andrew Swinnerton commissioned and premiered escape velocity, during a Gulbenkian Foundation Chamber Music Series concert.
Born in Lousã, Portugal, Eugénio began playing folk music on the accordion, as a youngster, and in his late teens, upon arrival in the United Sates, founded and directed a traditional music ensemble, “Os Romeiros”, performing throughout the New England area. He went on to pursue a career in music composition and received his training at the Western Connecticut State University (-1989), Yale Summer School of Music (1990), Duke University (-1993) and at the Royal Conservatory of Music at the Hague, in The Netherlands (-1994). He studied with composers Richard Moryl, Howard Rovics, Martin Bresnick, Scott Lindroth and Louis Andriessen.
He is a member of ASCAP and MCPS and his works have been recorded on the Hyperion and Etcetera labels.