Luís de Freitas Branco (b. Lisbon, 12th October 1890; d. Lisbon, 27th November 1955) is an outstanding personality in the 20th century cultural scene in Portugal, who stands alongside the writer Fernando Pessoa. His powerful and multiform output could be placed among the best and most innovative work being done in Europe and, in certain cases even anticipated it; he was prolific in all genres and established a new platform of excellence in the Portuguese repertoire. An exceptional case of precociousness, Freitas Branco composed the first work of his catalogue at the age of thirteen: the song Aquela Moça is premonitory by its modal contour (Dorian mode), and discloses the influence of one of his most important composition teachers, Tomás Borba. Another important teacher was August Machado, a composer of high quality operas such as Lauriane and La borghesina. Of significance also proved the lessons that Freitas Branco had with Désiré Pâque, a Belgian composer who was a precursor of atonalism and came to Lisbon in 1906 to teach organ to the Prince D. Luís. At the beginning of 1910, Luís de Freitas Branco left for Berlin with his uncle to study composition with Humperdinck, but the conservative ways of the Hochschule were not in accordance with his character. The most fruitful event for him there was the attendance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande; in his own words, it was a revelation that changed the entire course of his career. In the same year, he wrote the symphonic poem Paraisos Artificiais, with which he established the introduction of modernism in Portuguese orchestral music. The premiere of this piece in 1913 caused a huge scandal in Lisbon. In the following year, Freitas Branco met Debussy in Paris and studied impressionist aesthetic with Gabriel Grovlez. Between 1910 and 1911, Freitas Branco introduced the impressionist aesthetic into the Portuguese piano repertoire with his Mirages. This tendency culminated with the Ten Preludes dedicated to Viana da Mota, written between 1914 and 1918. He was director of the National Conservatory between 1919 and 1924. During this period, together with Viana da Mota, he effected a historical reformation of that institution (neutralized in the 1930s by the Dictatorial Regime). It consisted of the adoption of sung solfeggio and the introduction of the subjects General Culture and Musical Sciences, divided into Acoustics, History of Music and Musical Aesthetics. Freitas Branco committed himself to the teaching of these subjects and dedicated several works to this purpose, such as a Treatise on Harmony. Amongst his disciples can be found António Fragoso, Armando José Fernandes, Fernando Lopes-Graça and especially Joly Braga Santos. In addition to the many books he had published, his work as writer and critic of music includes thousands of pages that, along with the Diário (Dairy), are still unknown and they reveal one of the most brilliant minds of his time.