Mario Franco is a double bass player, composer, dancer from Lisbon, Portugal
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Born in 1965, he started music lessons at the age of 4 in Centro de Estudos Gregorianos.
He studied music theory with Maria José Godinho and after moved to Academia de
Amadores de Música where he continued his studies in music theory with Cristina Brito da
Cruz, started to study double bass and chamber music with Fernando Flores and
composition with Pedro Rocha.
In 1986-87 attended double-bass courses given by Ludwig Streicher in Estoril and in
1988 won 1st prize in the Prémio Jovens Músicos (Young Musicians Competition); later
became a member of Orquestra Sinfónica Juvenil where he worked on classical repertory
with conductor Christopher Bochmann.
Also worked with conductors Silva Pereira, Miguel Graça Moura, Roberto Perez and Michel
He subsequently became interested in Jazz. After having bass guitar lessons with António
Ferro he began taking Double bass lessons at Hot Club Jazz School with David Gausden
and playing in jam sessions; also took part in workshops with
Rufus Reid, Niels Henning, Orsted Pederson, Eberhard Weber, Dave Holland, Gary Burton,
Roland Hanna, David Liebman among others…
In 1990 presented his first project based on original compositions and was awarded 1st
prize for his group and 2nd prize for composition in the competition“ A Juventude e a
Música“ (Young People and Music).
His eclectic musical education has enabled him, since the 90’s, to work in many different
projects, within diverse musical contexts, with artists such as:
Pedro Caldeira Cabral, Miguel Amaral, Ricardo Rocha, António Chaínho,
José Peixoto, Early and Contemporary Music Consort “Sete Lágrimas”,
Miguel Azguime, Carminho, Camané, Sérgio Godinho, Vitorino, Uxia, Lura,
José Manuel Barreto, Sofia Vitória, Maria Ana Bobone, Filipa Pais, Bernardo Sassetti, Mário
Laginha, Luis Figueiredo, Luis Barrigas, João Paulo Esteves da Silva, Dan Hewson, António
Pinho Vargas, Jarmo Savolainen, Júlio Resende, Carlo Morena, Carlos Martins, Tomás
Pimentel, Maria João, Tommy Halferty, John Wadham, Luigi Waites, Sérgio Pelágio, André
Sousa Machado, André Fernandes, António Pinto, Desidério Lázaro, Andy Sheppard, Daniel
Erdmann, Ralph Peterson Jr., Markku Ounaskari, Myra Melford, Jon Irabagon, Peter Epstein,
David Binney, Paolo Fresu, Ralph Towner…
Has performed outside Portugal in some of the most important music festivals in China,
Japan, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Russia, Brazil…
In 2006 Tone of a Pitch Records edited his first CD as a leader, “This Life”, with Jesse
Chandler, André Fernandes, João Lencastre, João Gomes and includes NY based David
Binney. This recording was well received by the Portuguese public and critics, and was
considered by the American magazine All About Jazz, to be the second best CDs of 2006.
“Our Door” is Mário Franco’s new album for TOAP Records as a leader realized in 2013 and
includes Sérgio Pelágio (guitar) and André Sousa Machado (drums).
He composes for Dance and Theatre, and since 2013 also for Cinema.
Mário Franco is also a professional dancer.
In 1986 started his professional activity in Companhia Nacional de Bailado CNB, first as an
apprentice then promoted progressively to corps de ballet, demi-soliste and is currently a
principal dancer since 1995.