Great musical events

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

We’re fortunate to have many musical artists who  have made good in other countries and return here to perform before their appreciative countrymen. Last Saturday, we had the privilege of watching and listening to US-based pianist Hiyas Hila perform Beethoven’s Emperor, Concerto No. 5,  one of the greatest piano concertos, at the Far Eastern University auditorium.  We saw what critics said of Hiyas — of her having “dazzling tones and well-nuanced keyboard artistry.”

The occasion marked the opening of the 14th Metro Manila Concert Orchestra (MMCO) concert season. Aside from accompanying Hiyas, the MMCO, under the baton of composer-conductor Josefino Chino Toledo,  performed four pieces.

Hiyas, who has a doctorate in musical arts, holds degrees from the University of Minnesota School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is a recipient of several scholarships and fellowship awards, such as the Sergei Barsukov scholarship for piano, the Asian Cultural Council fellowship grant; the GlaxoSmithKline scholarship grant, and the University of Centennial Piano Fellowship. She has won the top prize in several piano competitions, including the 2005 University of Minnesota  concerto competitions; the 2006 and 2007 Elinor Bell Piano Competition, and first prize in Piano, graduate division, at the 83rd annual scholarship competitions of the Schubert Club in St. Paul, Minnesota in April 2006.           

The MMCO performed Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber’s “Bronze Horse: Overture”;  Nicanor Abelardo’s “Mountain Suite”; Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and Sir William Turner Walton’s “Crown Imperial.”

The  MMCO is a full symphony orchestra composed of 50 gifted artists who have performed in concert halls, malls, schools, churches, town plazas, thus fulfilling its mission of reaching out to communities, especially the underprivileged. A feather in its  cap is its music development program. With the support of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, it launched the music Underkonstruction Orchestral Reading project which produced 30 new compositions by young composers.

Renato “Boysie” Villavicencio, MMCO Foundation chairman and president, says MMCO “more than it has ever been, is determined not only to share but also dedicate its music – any time and all the time – to people who love music.”

MMCO  was born in 2000, as the brainchild of music visionaries —  then Miriam College president Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, violinist Alfonso Coke Bolipata, music educator and pianist Teresita M. Serrano, and composer-conductor Toledo. They envisioned “to provide the highest standards of education and training to aspiring musicians while enriching the sound  environment of the communities they performed at.”

Boysie adds that with conductor  Toledo, Jonathan Cruz, Cristina Galang Caedo and Chingay Lagdameo having become members of MMCO’s board of directors, “this assure the orchestra’s members and musicians of their greater participation in the direction the orchestra is taking for the future.” The other trustees are Rafael Benitez, Michael Toledo, and Chico Diaz.

The MMCO concert season proceeds with the following performances: August 23, “Schumann Plus,” Jose Artemio Panganiban, pianist, and the music of Beethoven, Holst, Shostakovich and de Leon; October 4, “Music Underkonstruction 8”  original works for orchestra and woodwind,  and the world premiere of “Maharlika Concerto for Orchestra and Woodwind,” featuring Alfredo Buenventura, composer, and Maria Cristina Santiago, clarinet; November 29, “Gershwin Plus,” an all-American concert program featuring pianist Cristine Coyiuto, and January 20, Finale! Carlos Ibay, pianist. 

Music lovers in the south will be honored with performances by Cristine Coyiuto, at the University of St. La Salle, in Bacolod City, November 19, and Silliman University, Dumaguete City, November 21 and 22. Back  in Greater Manila, she will play at the Audi Global City, Taguig City, November 28.

 (For tickets, contact [email protected], or call (02)816-7477, and 0915-524-4085.

*      *      *

The world-famous pianist Corazon Kabayao is giving a helping hand to promote the coming performance of two US-based Filipino pianists, Rene Dalandan and Marites Fernandez. They will perform at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, CCP Little Theater, on August 23.

The duo  will give the premiere performance of the three major works in the program: “Points of Jazz: A Ballet” by Dave Brubeck, “Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story’ by Leonard Bernstein, arranged by John Musto, and “Symphonic Dances, Op. 45,”  by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Rene Dalandan holds the distinction of winning  the first prize, piano category B, in the 1st NAMCYA competitions in the Philippines. He has a bachelor’s degree, major in piano, from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music under Aida Sanz Gonzalez and a master of music in piano  from the Mannes College of Music. He has a  doctorate in musical arts at the Manhattan School of Music, and gave his solo debut recital under the tutelage of Nina Svetlanova. At  Carnegie Hall, he won the 1984 Artists International Competition in New York.

Marites Fernandez was known as “the child genius of the ivories” since she was three years old. Enjoying full scholarship from the Foundation of Gifted Children, she completed her bachelor of music and artist’s diploma at the UST  Conservatory of Music under the virtuoso pianist, Benjamin Tupas, with special coaching from Aida Sanz Gonzalez. She earned her masters  in music in piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland, studying with Walter Hausig and Ellen Mack.

Proceeds will go to  the Aida Sanz Gonzalez Memorial Fund to preserve and promote the legacy of a committed and dedicated piano mentor to the present and future pianists and teachers, through  sponsorships of scholarships, workshops and the production of a book on Piano Pedagogy based on her teachings. Tickets are available at P500 and P1,000, through Cora  (09178327992) and Liene (09173000755) and (09985414531).

*  *  *

My colleague Belinda Olivares Cunanan has been helping promote the career of young Filipino classical violinist named Joaquin “Chino” Gutierrez. According to Belinda, with the help of friends, Chino was able to go back to his music studies in Munich, Germany, which were interrupted twice owing to his family’s lack of funds.

Chino was recently accepted to the very prestigious Keshet Eilon International Summer Mastercourse in  Western Galilee, Israel---where the best and brightest violin, cello and viola students, rigorously selected from all over the world, will undergo a three-week training and tutoring from some of the most renowned masters in their field.

Chino is the first Filipino to be accepted to this renowned Summer Mastercourse in Israel, established 25 years ago and said to be the launching pad for many great careers in the violin world. It is a tribute to Chino’s talent that the Mastercourse organizers have assigned as Chino’s mentor a Russian violin icon named Edward Grach and a renowned Czech pianist as his accompanist.

That Mastercourse , which can be considered the “Olympics” of the Strings world,  was scheduled for July 20 to August 7,  this year. Unfortunately conflict broke out over the Gaza Strip between Israeli and Palestinian forces, and many participants, including Chino’s mentor and pianist, and ultimately himself, chose not to participate anymore. 

Belinda writes that  Oscar Yatco described  Chino as the “Cecile Licad of the Violin.” Chino will have a concert on September  13, at 8 pm. at the Francisco Santiago Hall, BDO Tower, Makati City.  He is  looking forward to joining a series of international violin competitions next year.  We can help support such a gifted artist through contributions for his air fare, hotel, event fees, etc. Call Belinda at 0917 792 8810, Ching de las Alas Montinola, at 8975239, and Lambert Gutierrez, at 2181864 and 1915 189 2998.

*  *  *

 My email:[email protected]


vuukle comment









  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with