Erica Mandillo

Erica Mandillo holds a master's degree in biophysics from the Faculty of Science in Lisbon, studied piano and received singing lessons at the Lisbon National Conservatory of Music. She was a member of the Gulbenkian choir and the choir of the São Carlos National Theatre.

In 2008, she was invited to direct the artistic activities of the 2nd cycle of the Saint-Joseph College in Lisbon. In 2012, she joined the teaching staff of the National Conservatory of Music of Lisbon, where she was responsible for teaching the choir and body expression class.

She is the founder and artistic director of the association Voz em Movimento, the Camerata Fiorentina and the CIUL - Coro Infantil da Universidade de Lisboa (Children's Choir of the University of Lisbon). With the latter group, she gives numerous concerts in Portugal and abroad.

I am the director of the choir of the University of Lisbon. Although it is called "Choir of the University", my choir is composed of children. I started to sing at the University, before I distanced myself. But after a while, we realised that many children were gravitating around the choir: it was the children of the singers who came to attend the rehearsals. So I was called and asked to make these children sing. At that time, I had never choreographed, nor had I imagined working with children. I must say that patience was never my forte. But I happened to be the mother of a four-year-old girl, and I had noticed she was singing incredibly. I do not say that because she's my daughter. I speak as a musician. At the time, I was a light soprano. When I sang the Queen of the Night Aria, she was able to reproduce it perfectly, in key, in German. That was when I became aware of the infinite possibilities of a child's voice.

I started with 8 children, then 20, then 40... Currently we are over 180. We work once a week, on Sunday, for two and a half hours. The sectional rehearsals are held once a month. We are fortunate to benefit from the University Hall, one of the largest halls in Lisbon, which has one thousand six hundred seats and a grand piano.