by Nickie Wang
There have been many misconceptions a propos classical music. Some say the form is reserved for the rich and upper class in society, and others say it is already dead.
A great number of people are inclined to patronizing only popular music, reason being, it is the main musical form that is available on the radeio. Little did they know, most musical forms including pop, are heavily influenced by classical music, which is the base foundation of any musical composition.
“Classical music is like a type of food. Some people didn’t have the chance to experience or taste it but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will not like it,” says Victor Coo, a virtuoso cellist.
Coo, a former principal cellist and soloist of the New England Youth Ensemble and currently a faculty member of several music schools in Taiwan, has travelled the world over and seen how classical music is appreciated in different cultures. The renowned Filipino cellist, who is now based abroad, is here in the Manila to give local audience a taste of his expertise that has been honed in prominent schools such as the Philippine High School for the Arts, University of Maryland, and Columbia Union College, also in Mary Land.
In a press conference held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Coo was joined by other Filipino classical music artists Joseph Esmilla (Violinist) and Rudolf Pelaez Golez (pianist). The three music masters team up to keep classical concert circuit alive through a performance slated Sept. 5 at the Philam Theater. It is called Tri Con Brio.
During the open forum, Coo, Esmilla, and Golez were asked about their ultimate goal as performers. They all answered that to perform in a huge audience is every music artist’s goal.
“But it takes time for us to experience that because in the country classical music is perceived as the genre for the elite. Contrary to this misconception, it is made for everyone. It can only be realized if government would focus more on music education,” affirms Golez.
The pianist, who started piano lessons at age four, emphasized that promotion of classical music has something to do with economics. He furthered that in developed countries, pop and classical music are given equal value.
“That’s why to achieve our goals as musicians, and to educate the audience, we have to unify our resources. We just have a very small community, thus we need to work together,” says violinist Esmilla.
Coo, Esmilla, and Golez share the same sentiments when it comes to state of classical music in the country. The three artists were honed through long years of learning and perfecting their respective craft.
Esmilla, at age 14 was granted with a scholarship grant at The Juilliard School in New York, and did his post-graduate work in violin and chamber music at the Mannes College of Music. Golez, on the other hand, pursued serious music training at the Juilliard School as well, and completed his Master in Music Performance degree at the University of the Philippines.
“Classical artists study for many years, they even go abroad to further their knowledge on music but back in the country they are underappreciated. We need the generous support of more individuals to promote great talents and educate the audience about the importance of classical music in developing culture and arts,” MCO official Baltazar Endriga appeals.
Trio Con Brio (with life and spirit)
Trio Con Brio repertoire will include the piano trio works by Joseph Haydn, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Astor Piazolla.
“Don’t expect a real tango music because what am I going to do is a classical piece that captures the essence of tango. It’s more of a crossover sound,” he says.
Meanwhile, scribes were trapped in the old times when Coo and Golez joined together for a sample of their rendition of a Nicanor Abelardo original. It was a gripping experience hearing the combination of two classical instrument, what more when three instruments were played together in a big venue and a better acoustics engineering.
For tickets to Trio Con Brio, call TicketWorld at 891-9999 or MCO Foundation at 750-0768 or (0920) 954-0053.
Great performance series
Trio Con Brio is part of MCO Foundation’s “Great Performances Series,” a season of events that features another top caliber concert called Duo Concertante featuring young Chinese cellist Qin Li Wei and Singapore-based Filipino pianist Albert Tiu. The duo will stage the concert on Oct. 10 at Philam Theater as well.
Before the musical extravaganza, also dubbed as an evening with Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, Li Wei will conduct a rare masterclass to top 5 young Filipino cellists on Oct. 8.
These events are in line with MCO Foundations 25th anniversary celebration.
“MCO is no longer an orchestra but we still promote classical music in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, we stage 55 shows in a year even though we temporarily lost our venue where we stage these performances,” says Baltazar Endriga.
The Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation, Inc. (MCOFI) is a non-stock, non-profit institution first established in 1985 dedicated to the promotion of classical music and the cultural arts. The Foundation has had countless and notable performances in various concert halls, schools, universities; and lecture-series on the arts for business executives, etc. Throughout the years, MCO Foundation has remained active in the cultural arts scene. Hence, it has earned the high esteem and regard of the Arts-loving Community, and has been acclaimed as “Makati’s Cultural Oasis” and “Hall of the Classics.”