Quach, Coyiutos in a concert for all seasons/ Other striking artists


(First of 2 parts)

Having heard the Sept. 28 concert of conductor Helen Quach, pianist Cristine Coyiuto and her flutist daughter Caitlin on CD —I missed the live performance — I thought the event a concert for all seasons.

Quach wielded the baton over the PPO like the titan she is on the podium, bringing Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor to life in an electrifying manner through tremendous drive, daring and dynamism. Pianist Coyiuto was the epitome of elegance, refinement, sensitivity and restraint in Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor, infusing it with the subtlest nuances. Flutist Caitlin, young though she is, brilliantly rendered Poulenc’s Flute Sonata orchestrated by Sir Lennox Berkeley, her tones full, firm, assured. Her vibrant performance was an eloquent augury of the brightest future.

As in past years, 2008 saw a profusion of supremely talented pianists. This listing will start with the youngest. Lorenzo Bueno Medel, 13, was an immense surprise, his August recital at F. Santiago Hall showing exceptional gifts which, one might presume, will eventually be appreciated by international audiences if he perseveres.

Angelo Ortiz, 24, who garnered two 2006 world championships in Hollywood — one as pianist, the other as composer — played his beautifully lyrical pieces at F. Santiago Hall. Given the power, technical skill and intensity he exhibited, he certainly overshadows many of his older confreres.

Rudolf Pelaez Golez and Mary Ann Espina were a superb piano duo as they complemented each other’s outstanding qualities in a recent concert of Viennese compositions at F. Santiago Hall. In solo recitals, Golez has been consistently virtuosic, conveying flair and aplomb.

Pianist Greg Zuniega and his violinist twin brother Sim distinguished themselves in “A Night of Classics” at the residence of Japanese Ambassador and Mrs. Makoto Matsura. Greg demonstrated fiery virtuosity and finely controlled dynamics. His rendition of the popular song “The Autumn Leaves” led me to momentarily call him “a younger Raul Sunico”.

Sim’s interpretations were solid and vigorous, and rapport between pianist and violinist was impeccable.

Although one might concede that of our concertists Cecile Licad has the most international exposure, it is extremely difficult to give her, Raul Sunico, Jiovanney Emmanuel Cruz, Nena R. Villanueva and Albert Tiu — here listed at random — proper ranking or classification by their concerts last year.

Perhaps one might just identify them as among our top or leading pianists, along with Cristine Coyiuto, Reynaldo Reyes and Ingrid Sta. Maria. The latter two have been on their Romantic Music Journey for years, leading sundry listeners throughout the archipelago to appreciate romantic music, with Ingrid assuming the role of soloist; Rey, that of orchestra in the formidable concertos.

In this regard, virtuoso violinist Gilopez Kabayao and his pianist-wife Corazon Pineda, have likewise been spreading the gospel of classic music in their native Iloilo, Manila and its environs, and as Ingrid and Rey do, in some of the most unlikely venues. Further, they and their children — violinists Sicilienne, Farida and Gilberto — perform as the engaging Kabayao Quintet.

Another virtuoso violinist, Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata and conductor Quach gave a triumphant concert at the Bel-Air Park early in 2008. Quach’s exuberance, vitality and élan as she directed the MSO, were matched by Coke’s mind-boggling technique and glowing artistry.

In a program of Bach concertos at F. Santiago Hall, Vienna-based pianist Aries Caces highly impressed listeners in his role as conductor.

I began this brief citation — another will follow — with 13-year old pianist Lorenzo Medel and shall end it by citing the incredibly gifted 17-year old violinist Jimmy Tagala. At his Philamlife recital last month, he rendered full-length daunting compositions by Beethoven, Ysaye, Paganini, Sarasate and Bruch without a score. His dazzling technique awed the audience even more!











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