ANTÓNIO FRAGOSO was born on 17 June 1897 to Viriato de Sá Fragoso and Maria Isabel de Sá Lima Fragoso, in the locality of Pocariça, in the municipality of Cantanhede. He would also die there on 13 October 1918, a victim of pneumonic influenza which had spread throughout Europe in that period.
His vocation towards music became evident at the ealy age of six when he began to learn how to read music sheets and playing piano with António dos Santos Tovim, his uncle and a doctor in Cantanhede. He was someone with an enormous musical culture who had a very strong influence on Fragoso’s first years of musical training.
Between 1907 and 1914 he completed his general high school course in Porto and the first two years of a Higher Education Course in Comerce. This was done without ever abandoning his piano studies, now under the guidance of teacher Ernesto Maia. At the age of 16 he published and gave a first audition of his first musical composition – “Toadas da Minha Aldeia” – to great acclaim from the musical reviewers. Some biographical notes indicate that he had to overcome a certain resistance from his parents in order to register at the National Musical Conservatory of Lisbon, which he would attend until 1918, when he received a Higher Education Diploma in Piano with 20 marks, the highest mark achievable.
From this point onwards Fragoso began an artistic career which was widely recognised amongst the cultural sectors of the country, not only as an outstanding pianist, but also as a composer, to the point being considered by the critics as ‘one of the most powerful talents of his generation’. João de Freitas Branco even goes so far as to say that ‘there are surprising pages by a composer who is under 21 years of age’.
Out of his work, musicologists tend to highlight his “Prelúdios e a Petite Suite para piano”, the leider for singing, the musical partitures for chamber music and the Nocturnals, being the “Nocturno em Ré bemol Maior” his most embelematic piece of his immense talent as a composer.
In 2009, António Fragoso’s inheritors formed the António Fragoso Association, which has as its main objective to leave for future generations all of his musical and literary legacy, to teach music in any way it can and to commemorate in a dignified manner the centenary of his death.