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Opinion

Spanish grants to RP / Conductor Quach returns

SUNDRY STROKES -
The tenth anniversary of the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation (SPCC) will be marked this morning at the Instituto Cervantes in Ermita. Jose R. Rodriguez, IC director, is its general coordinator.

The SPCC is a collaborative effort of the Spanish Ministry of Culture which gives financial grants to deserving projects and researches in the humanities, social sciences and the arts in the Philippines and former Spanish territories in the Pacific.

This morning’s event will present the plans for the Grant Year 2007, and will showcase significant projects that have been undertaken by the SPCC through the years.
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Music lovers will both be surprised and delighted at the return of internationally acclaimed Chinese conductor Helen Quach who conducted the Manila Symphony Orchestra 16 years ago at the Metropolitan Theater.

Quach will again direct the MSO on April 22 at St. Cecilia’s Hall at 4 p.m. to celebrate St. Scholastica’s College School of Music Centennial Year (1907-2007), and on April 26 at 8 p.m. at the CCP main theater.

Both programs, as announced by Manila Symphony Society President Carlynn Manning, will consist of Beethoven’s Leonora Overture No. 3 in C Major, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor in commemoration of the Norwegian composer’s 100th death anniversary, with Cristine Coyuito as soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor.

Quach was taken to Australia at age 10. At 19, she graduated at the Sydney Conservatory and in 1959 won a conducting contest in Australia and a scholarship to study advanced conducting with Nicolai Malko. Her conducting debut with the Sydney Symphony in 1960 made her the first woman to achieve the honor.

She attended master classes under Carlo Zecchi and Sir John Barbirolli who "was impressed not only by her knowledge and musicianship but above all by the natural flair she has for conducting, which is a very rare gift."

After winning first prize in the 1964 D. Mitropoulos Competition, she became assistant to Leonard Bernstein, and conducted the NY Philharmonic Orchestra during its 1967-68 season. Commented Bernstein on Quach: "Her rhythmic sense is sharp, her reflexes quick, her address to the orchestra captivating, and if there can be such a thing as a Maestra, Miss Quach could well be it."

Dubbed by critics "The Lady Tyrant of the Podium" and "Queen of the Baton", Quach has directed the Sydney Symphony, Washington’s National Symphony, the American Symphony, Germany’s Gottinger Symphony and other orchestras in Europe and Asia. In 1978, Quach founded the Taipei Philharmonic.

The brilliant Coyuito, described as the "pianists’ pianist" and "the poetess of the piano," furthered her studies under such renowned pianists as Gaby Casadesus, Nikita Magaloff, Fou Ts’ong and Philippe Entremont. She has given recitals in the US, Canada, UK, France, Switzerland, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and has appeared as soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, New Westminster Orchestra, Orchestre du Toulouse, among others.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1926 by Dr. Alexander Lippay, is Asia’s oldest classical symphony orchestra.

With the exception of WW II years, it has given annual concerts of classic, contemporary and Filipino compositions, presented choral works, operas and ballets, giving national recognition to almost all leading instrumentalists including Cecile Licad and Raul Sunico.

Among its many "firsts" are Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s Gianna Schicchi in Tagalog, and free Rizal Park concerts of light classics and pop. The MSO has performed with such famed artists as Ernesto Vallejo, Montserrat Caballé, Oscar Yatco, Yehudi Menuhin, Eugene Istomin, Ben Tupas, Igor Oistrach, George Barati and Mendi Rodan.

Proceeds will go to the MSO fund.
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On March 19, the Alliance Francaise headed by Olivier Ditinger, and the embassies of Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Lebanon and Switzerland will present an evening of poetry "Lettera Amorosa" (Love Letters) at the AF at 7 p.m. Guest poets include Rio Almario, Krip Yuson, Geminiano Abad, Virgie Moreno, Maxine Syjuco and Asha Macam.

A MINOR

ALLIANCE FRANCAISE

AMERICAN SYMPHONY

MANILA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

QUACH

SYDNEY SYMPHONY

SYMPHONY

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