The Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is celebrating its 88th anniversary. Established in 1926 by the Viennese conductor, Alexander Lippay, it is one of the first orchestras founded in Asia.
It counts some 60 dedicated musicians, and continues to be one of the country’s vibrant symphony orchestras, under the baton and musical directorship of Arturo T. Molina.
Its third concert, “Konzertfest,” for the 2014 season, Sound of Life, is slated on Aug. 19, 8 p.m., at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Little Theater.
It will feature three of the orchestra’s principal players as soloists—violinists Christian Tan and Sara Maria Gonzales, and cellist Antoni Josef Inacay. All three are winners of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Namcya), and have had training abroad.
The program is a powerhouse. Tan and Gonzales will play Mendelssohn’s E Minor Concerto and Bruch’s G Minor Concerto, respectively.
Inacay will play Tchaikovsky’s Rococco Variations; Glinka’s “Ruslan and Ludmilla” overture.
MSO manager Jeffrey Solares said MSO had made its “presence through it sincerest effort to strive for excellence; it gives the country an edge in today’s increasingly competitive environment.”
For its 88th anniversary, it has put up the MSO Music Academy, which seeks to “discover and train young Filipino musical talents,” Solares said.
The program consists of individual lessons, technique and chamber classes. Qualified participants are given the opportunity to perform in the MSO Music Academy recitals.
MSO’s concert season has helped create a thriving environment in music and the performing arts in the country. It has featured outstanding Filipinos as well as foreign artists as soloists. Outstanding foreign conductors have also been invited to collaborate and interact with the MSO.
Tickets to the Konzertfest production are available at Ticket World, tel. 8919999, and CCP box office, tel. 8321125.
The MSO has also mounted the Rush-Hour Concert series in partnership with Ayala Museum. It is designed to develop an audience for the appreciation of classical music among professionals in the Makati Business District. Concerts have annotations.
The series recently featured pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria. In collaboration with the MSO, she has cut three glossy CDs featuring six Romantic piano concertos.
Two of the concertos included on the CDs were performed in the Ayala Museum concert: Tchaikovsky’s and Schumann’s.
Leyte Rep. Imelda R. Marcos, the former First Lady, was the guest of honor during the concert. She unveiled the photo that served as the cover of the CD.
Santamaria explained it was Marcos who had urged her to cut a recording. Marcos said her conversation with Van Cliburn shortly before he died prompted her to tell the pianist about the idea.
The recording, she said, would serve as a lasting legacy of Santamaria’s consummate artistry.
The concert was well applauded. With Molina conducting, Santamaria played on a brand-new Kawaii GX-7, whose well-rounded and brilliant resonance many of the listeners did not fail to admire. The piano was lent gratis et amore by Lyric Piano and Organ Corporation.
Indeed, a big factor in successful piano concerts is the instrument itself. Sadly, our theaters, even schools of music, do not have brand-new pianos; Lyric responded to this reality by lending pianos for recitals.
The CDs were sold on the lobby. Solares told the audience Santamaria had donated to MSO proceeds of the sale of the first 100 copies of the CDs.
Sta. Isabel College
The following night, MSO played again in the piano recital of Laarni Dawn Ilan, at Sta Isabel College’s Sto. Cristo del Tesoro Auditorium.
Ilan showed much promise. For her finale, she played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467.
She earned a degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from De La Salle University-Manila, and took up piano lessons with Cecile Basilio Roxas.
She displayed adequate technical command and brought out the required temperament of works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Abelardo, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.