Piano prodigy’s counsel: ‘Love what you do’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

HANSEL Harel Ang by a handcrafted Seiler piano ELIZABETH LOLARGA
HANSEL Harel Ang by a handcrafted Seiler pianoELIZABETH LOLARGA
HANSEL Harel Ang by a handcrafted Seiler piano ELIZABETH LOLARGA

HANSEL Ang, 13, still has that whiz kid look, especially with his geeky glasses. He gained national recognition after years of endorsing a milk brand that is said to enhance brain power.

Yes, he did drink his milk. But years of practice, focus and a balanced life of academics and sports, the support of his family also readied him for the dream he nurtures in his mind and heart.

Five years from today if he keeps winning big in national piano competitions like the Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines annual tilt, he sees himself as perhaps playing at Carnegie Hall. He wants to meet piano greats like Lang Lang, Evgeny Kissin, Daniil Trifonov.

Ang is the featured soloist in “The Mozart Effect” on April 30 at Hill Station inside the heritage building Casa Vallejo on Upper Session Road, Baguio. Together with the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra under Jeffrey Solares, he will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in A Major, K.488.

This is part of the 2016 Baguio Summer Music Festival that begins April 26 with “Summer Out There,” a music camp of the Manila Symphony Orchestra Music Academy at the ICM House of Prayer. The camp climaxes with a concert series from April 29 at the University of the Cordilleras (“Baroque and Filipiniana Works”), at 4 p.m., to May 1, at 4 p.m., at the Ayala Technohub at Camp John Hay, featuring classical, Filipino and popular works to be performed by young artists and the MSO Music Academy’s faculty.

Enhanced brain power

Apart from having Tchaikovsky as his favorite composer, Ang likes Mozart and his life story. Mozart started playing music at a young age like him and within his short lifetime wrote more than 600 pieces of works that are still being played until now.

Asked if he believed in the Mozart Effect wherein brain power is supposed to be enhanced by repeated listening to Mozart’s music, he said, “It’s not yet fully scientifically proven, but I hope it works.”

He said, “Mozart is hard to master. He is transparent which makes him hard to learn. It took me from two to two and a half weeks to learn the piece but another three to four months to say I have mastered it.”

He is also the prized student of Carmencita Arambulo of the Greenhills Music Studio. It doesn’t make him nervous that his teacher will be present at the Baguio concert. He learned from a Mozart masterclass of seasoned pianist Carmencita Sipin Aspiras that Mozart is “supposed to be simple,” he said. “Underneath the simplicity there are meanings in the piece that you have to express in a simple, disciplined way. You cannot exaggerate those meanings the way you do with Romantic music.”

To the music camp participants or anyone taking music lessons this summer, he has this message: “The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary musician is practice. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to practice. You also have to love what you do. If you love what you do, you’ll do your best in both practice and in performance.”

His week day schedule runs thus: from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., academic subjects (he’s enrolled in online classes with the University of Nebraska High School); 3-4 p.m., piano practice; 4:30-7 p.m., swimming; then depending on whether he’s tired or not, more piano practice from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Ang considered his father’s strictness as a way of helping him and his younger brother Harel become “better persons.”

Other featured young soloists at “The Mozart Effect” are violinists Emanuel John Villarin and Jeanne Rafaella Marquez.

The Baguio Summer Music Festival is made possible by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Genesis Transport Services Inc., JoyBus, Smart Telecommunications, Iggy’s Inn, Hill Station and the University of the Cordilleras.

For tickets to the April 30 dinner-concert, call Hill Station at (074) 4242734 or 0915-8292166, e-mail [email protected] com; or the Cultural Arts Events Organizer at 9979483, 0918-3473027, 0920-9540053.