Maestro Aurelio Porfiri among most influential people in 2021

Marco Carvalho

The American magazine Inside the Vatican has included Italian conductor, composer and writer Aurelio Porfiri in its list of ten most influential people in the world in 2021, alongside scientists, human rights activists and religious and political leaders. A contributor to O CLARIM, Mr. Porfiri lived and worked in Macau between 2008 and 2015.

Italian musicologist, conductor and composer Aurelio Porfiri, who lived for seven years in Macau, has been chosen by the prestigious American magazine Inside the Vatican as one of the ten most influential people in the world in 2021, alongside the likes of personalities such as the president of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, or the patriarch of the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, the Lebanese Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï.

The publication said that Aurelio Porfiri has been “working intensively to defend the tradition of the faith in these times” and argues that the Italian composer and conductor “has become a point of reference for Catholics in Italy and around the world.” The magazine also claimed that the Catholic Church owes a debt of gratitude to Aurelio Porfiri “for the careful work he is doing with great patience and with great attention to detail” in areas such as the defence of the musical heritage of the Church. 

A regular contributor to O CLARIM, Aurelio Porfiri expresses surprise at having been included in a list that features political and religious leaders, scientists, doctors and human rights activists. The composer, who in Macau was in charge of both the Children’s Choirs of Saint Rosa of Lima School and the Choir of Our Lady of Fatima School, claims that there is no shortage of people developing a much more influential work. 

He still considers, nevertheless, that the distinction constitutes an acknowledgment of the work he has been conducting: “I was very, very surprised when they told me. I think there are much better people than me to be considered in that list,” stressed Aurelio Porfiri. “Honestly, I don’t think I can be as influential as them [some of the other personalities]. I think it is the recognition of a continuous effort that I am making to fight for certain ideas,” the conductor added. 

A prolific composer, Aurelio Porfiri has published over 200 musical compositions in places such as Macau, Italy, the United States of America, Germany and France. The 53-year-old Italian musician also authored more than six dozen books and is a regular contributor to several newspapers, magazines and digital publications. 

A stronger presence over the last few years on social media may have been, Mr. Porfiri claimed, what caught the attention of the American Magazine: “Now I am in my seventh year since I left Macau. So, I did do many things and I am doing many more. I focus on writing and composing. I develop my social media presence and, probably, this is what caught the attention of the magazine,” Aurelio Porfiri acknowledged.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the draconian contingency plans that were adopted in Italy in the first half of 2020 have led the composer to a deeper commitment to digital platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. The confinement of hundreds of thousands of people in Rome, the city where Mr. Porfiri lives and works, inspired him to create a digital forum. The platform quickly became a popular discussion platform, where not only major concerns of the Church are addressed, but also topics as diverse as geopolitics, movie premieres or even flying saucers: “The pandemic affected me personally on a very deep level. As you know, in Italy we were hit strongly by that and we still are. The pandemic changed my perspective on several issues,” he told O CLARIM.  

“During the confinement to which we were subjected, the idea came to me of using modern technologies and the power of social media. I created a series of broadcasts on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I discuss, usually with guests about many topics, not always directly related with religion, but most of the time, yes.  We discuss mostly issues around the Catholic Church, but we have also discussed Netflix series, UFO or geopolitics. So you can find there a lot of things being discussed with guests from all over the world,” Aurelio Porfiri underlined. 

The initiative was so well received that the composer and musician currently promotes three weekly debates, two in Italian and one in English. Authors, scientists, artists and members of different religious congregations joined Mr. Porfiri to debate old and new questions, such as the dignity of the Catholic liturgy or the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the future of the Church: “The pandemic has magnified problems that were already developing for years. In Italy the people that dropped church attendance is quite impressive. It is maybe a change of paradigm,” the composer pointed out. 

The prominence Mr. Porfiri achieved on social media over the last two years did not distract him from his greatest interest: liturgical music and the musical tradition of the Church. The Italian maestro continues to write and compose almost compulsively. His latest book was recently published in the United States of America: “There are so many projects, but I will just mention the book that I co-authored with Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the Catholic Mass and that has just been released in the United States of America,” Aurelio Porfiri added.