TRIPLE Fret, an all-female guitar trio composed of Jenny de Vera, Iqui Vinculado and Marga Abejo, won the first prize in the 27th Japan Guitar Ensemble Festival recently at the Kyurian Hall in Shinagawa, Tokyo.
The trio bagged two other awards: Japan Guitar Association Award and Harumi Award for best performance of an original contemporary composition for guitar ensemble.
Last year, the trio had won the first prize in the Guitar Ensemble category of the 2014 Tarrega Malaysia International Festival.
“We did not expect to win,” said Marga in an interview off stage during their recent performance in “Beats and Hues” at The Podium in Ortigas Center. “We just played our best, considering that the guitarists from the other four Japanese guitar ensembles had their formidable schooling in the best music schools in Europe.”
All the three guitarists are graduates of top music schools in the country: Iqui Vinculado from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, and Jenny de Vera and Marga Abejo from the University of the Philippines College of Music.
All soloists in their own right, they formed the trio in 2011. They have since been noted for their versatile and extensive repertory of classical and contemporary works.
In “Beats and Hues,” the trio showed versatility in rendering well-crafted arrangements of classical and contemporary works.
They forged an ensemble that was sensitively kept, infused with a musicality that revealed the work’s peculiar style. Their tone was resplendent and solidly revealed singing, legate lines that were meticulously phrased—all done with spontaneity.
Everyone showed her soloist caliber as they took turns in playing principal melodic lines. Throughout, they showed formidable focus and stayed connected with the pieces.
Triple Fret never failed to allure—from Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major and Mozart’s Turkish March; to even more demanding works by Isaac Albeniz and Joaquin Turina (“Asturias” and “Danza,” from “Jardin de Oriente”); and on to the more familiar pulsating beats of Philippine folk and love songs; as well as the classic melancholic sound of the Beatles (“Here, There and Everywhere”) and bubbly tunes from pop icon Michael Jackson.
The trio has traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, giving concerts that included a performance in Spain’s Guitarra Festival held in honor of the world-renowned luthier Jose Romanillos.
The group has also performed at Palacio de la Guitarra in Japan.
Clarissa Saavedra, Triple Fret secretary, said the trio was preparing for a thanksgiving concert after their Japan triumph.