Ochanine, Liviocos perform/Lippay, Zipper, Yatco, Molina: The MSO through 88 years

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Olivier Ochanine on Jan. 17 at the Meralco Theater, 8 p.m. The concert will feature violinists Ruth Livioco and Jonathan Livioco, and include Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From The New World”.

Ruth Livioco studied the piano at age 6 and the violin at age 10 through the Extension Program of the UP College of Music where she pursued a violin degree (bachelor’s) under Prof. Arturo Molina with a UP Extension Program Scholarship. A consistent College/University Scholar, she graduated cum laude in 2009. She performed as soloist, chamber and orchestra musician both here and abroad playing with the Metro Manila Community Orchestra (2000-2002), the Manila Symphony Orchestra (2002-2012), the Asian Youth Orchestra — 6 week music camp and Asian concert tour (2010 and 2011) — and with the PPO (2012-present). Ruth was also soloist in Paco Park concert’s (2009). She won 3rd place in NAMCYA in 2008. She has attended workshops and masterclasses at the NAMCYA Summer Camp under Coke Bolipata (2001), UP Summer Workshop under Prof. Sergio Esmilla Jr. (2002), and the Starling-Delay Symposium in Juilliard School (2003). Currently, she is studying with Joseph Esmilla and is PPO’s Assistant Concertmaster.

Jonathan David Livioco was named Concertmaster of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. He started playing the violin at 8, in the UP Extension Program under Ferizal Midoro. He finished his Bachelor’s Degree, cum laude, also in UP, under Prof. Arturo Molina. Jonathan has also participated in music festivals and competitions, both here and abroad. In the Asian Youth Orchestra, he served as the 2nd Violin Principal, and in the Starling-Delay Symposium as participant, and the NAMCYA Summer Camp in 2001, where he took lessons with Prof. Sergio Esmilla. In 2008 and 2011, Jonathan was a prize winner in the NAMCYA. Before joining the ABS-CBN Philharmonic, Jonathan was the MSO’s 2nd Violin Principal. Currently, he continues his studies under Joseph Esmilla.

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As a young colegiala, I listened at the Met Theater to the Manila Symphony Orchestra in its last year under Alexander Lippay. Herbert Zipper then took over while his wife Trudl Dubsky presented her impressive modern dances.

Mrs. Benito Legarda (nee Trinidad Fernandez) closely saw to the growth of the MSO; the Manila Symphony Society she headed was the orchestra’s major sponsor and patron.

Bernardino Custodio was the MSO’s highly competent assistant conductor who had a firm grasp of the music rendered.

Years later, Oscar C. Yatco became the MSO conductor. He was then having a prodigious and protean career as violinist. At age 16, having receiving the UP Teacher’s Diploma, he proceeded to be a brilliant scholar at Juilliard in NY and at the Munich State  Academy.

To German audiences, he was the epitomé of Filipino talent as winner of the only violin prize in a Hannover international tilt, as virtuouso soloist of major German Philharmonic Orchestras, as two-time dynamic concertmaster of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, and outstanding member of the Stross Quartet whose international tours included Manila (CCP).

Before retiring, Yatco was professor for decades at the Hannover Hochschule where he enabled hundreds of international music students to reach their fullest development.

As conductor and music director of the MSO, Maestro Yatco introduced contemporary masterpieces while honing the musicians’ skill in symphonic music and making the ensemble Asia’s best in his time. Eventually, the MSO disbanded for economic reasons. Years later, Sr. Placid Abejo and Arturo Molina recruited young talents to form MSO II.

Molina is now the MSO’s regular conductor and music director. At 11, he studied violin under Basilio Manalo, then years later, honed his talent in Moscow and Kiev conservatories. He won the annual String Department Competition, the first non-Russian to gain the honor which led to concerts in Russia’s prestigious halls.

In 2000, he became a fellow at the Conductor’s Institute in S. Carolina U. The year previous, together with cellist Wilfredo Pasamba and pianist Greg Zuniega, he formed the Battig Trio  which concertized in Germany, France and Italy.

On Jan. 18, 8 p.m., the MSO performs at the F. Santiago Hall, Makati, rendering works by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven to mark the ensemble’s 88th year.


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