When prize-winning classical guitarist Ramoncito Carpio debuts in Virac, Catanduanes, April 21, at Kemji Resort, he will become he first classical guitarist to stage a full-length recital on the island using an instrument made by Japanese luthier Yuichi Imai.
Winner of the Philippine International Guitar Competition, Asian International Guitar Competitions (Thailand), Singapore International Guitar Competitions and Taiwan International Guitar Competition, Carpio will use a Yuichi Imai 2011 limited-model guitar noted for its well-balanced tone and a big round sound.
“This classical guitar has other unique features not found in ordinary guitars,” said Carpio. “The high notes are also very clear, and it has a very good projection. The guitar is a big factor in playing in concerts and competitions. It is virtually the ‘voice’ of the artist’s musical ideas. Ordinary guitars can limit the artist’s expression. When trying out a guitar, I always look for the balance and quality of tone, projection and playability.”
The classical guitarist said a guitar recital was the toughest concert to hurdle.
“Aside from the technical difficulty of the pieces,” he said, “it’s also a challenge to maintain focus during performances. You should be able to do on stage what you’ve been doing in the practice room for four to five hours a day. Even though most of the pieces I play have been part of my repertoire for a long time, it’s still a work in progress. But the good thing about doing concerts is that you always strive to be better than your last performance.”
The guitarist believes the classical guitar remains the most accessible musical instrument. “But many are still not familiar with the classical guitar,” he said.
“So I make it a point to connect with the audience. I play pieces that people could easily appreciate. For example, I always include a piece or two by Piazzolla during concerts because, even with the complexity of his music, people who are not musically inclined can still relate to his works.”
Carpio said that one of his goals was to bring more converts to the beauty of classical guitar. “By watching live recitals, which are now very rare even in Metro Manila, music-lovers will realize the instrument is something they can easily understand. It is not anything boring or alienating. After listening to live guitar concerts, they can turn to recordings of legendary guitar masters like Andres Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream and David Russell, who remain on top of my list. Classical guitarists have their own sound and interpretation, so it is very hard to pick which one is your favorite.”
Carpio has released his first solo album “Pahinungod” under Independent Philippine Arts Venture. He is working on his second CD, which consists of popular and well-loved OPM songs arranged for the classical guitar.
“Pahinungod” will be available on the Kemji Resort lobby during the concert.
Carpio took master classes with world-renowned guitarists such as Jorge Luis Zamora (Cuba); Aniello Desiderio (Italy); Berta Rojas (Paraguay); Elena Papendreou (Greece); Roman Viazovsky (Ukraine); and Shin-Ichi Fukuda (Japan).
He also takes special lessons with Philippine–based German guitarist Carsten Linck.
The April 21 Catanduanes recital program includes Francisco Tarrega’s Fantasia on Theme from “La Traviata”; Johann Kaspar Mertz’s “Variations Mignonnes” from “Bardenklange,” Op. 16, No. 7; Agustin Barrio’s “La Catedral”; Astor Piazzolla’s “Primavera Porteño,” Ramoncito Carpio’s “Pahinungod”; Angel Pena’s “Iyo Kailan Pa Man”; José Valdez’s “Fantasy Variations based on Potenciano Gregorio’s “Sarung Bangui” and Carlo Domeniconi’s “Koyunbaba.”
The Catanduanes concert has the support of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp; National Commission for Culture and the Arts; and Catanduanes Tribune.