Friday, October 19, 2018
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Licad joins PPO in Carnegie; sets San Francisco date

IT WAS a hectic week for pianist Cecile Licad.

She flew to Manila in the last week of May, rehearsed at one school with an orchestra, and later flew to Hong Kong for a performance with Lea Salonga and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) under Gerard Salonga for the 35th anniversary of First Pacific.

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The guest conductor said Licad’s Rach 2 gripped the audience, while the pianist was all praises for the conductor: “I don’t want to play that concerto the same way I did the last time. It has to be different to make it worth my time. The thing is, every time I have a musical idea, Gerard executes it without my telling him. It was as though he could read my mind.”

The music news of the week is that Licad (Rach 2) and violinist Diomedes Saraza Jr. (Sibelius violin concerto) are the soloists for the PPO when the national orchestra makes its first historic performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

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While Licad has performed at that highly revered venue many times, the June 20 engagement is the Carnegie Hall debut of Saraza.

Legendary musicians

A year after her Town Hall recital in New York in the late 1940s, Filipino mezzo Conchita Gaston found herself face-to-face with the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, who found her good enough to sing with Beverly Sills in the “Rosenkavalier” duet “The Presentation of the Rose” at Carnegie Hall in 1948.

Filipino violinist Gilopez Kabayao debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1950.

It was at Carnegie Hall where Licad was greeted by eminent musicians Bernstein and Isaac Stern. The main hall of Carnegie Hall is now named Isaac Stern Hall to remember the violinist who fought for the venue when it was threatened with demolition in the 1960s.

A popular Carnegie Hall joke on its webpage is attributed to the wife of violinist Mischa Elman: “One day, after a rehearsal that hadn’t pleased Elman, the couple was leaving Carnegie Hall by the backstage entrance when they were approached by two tourists. ‘How do you get to Carnegie Hall?’ Elman simply replied, ‘Practice.’”

Elman helped Filipino violin prodigy Ernesto Vallejo get a US scholarship after hearing him in Manila in the late ’20s.

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Filipino pride

A press release says the concert aims to bring pride to Filipinos living in the United States and to celebrate the Filipino spirit through music. Proceeds from the concert will be given to the Philippine Disaster Relief Corporation to assist with the organization’s housing projects.

Licad is headed for San Francisco after her June 18 Carnegie Hall engagement for a solo recital dubbed a Philippine Independence Day concert on June 24.

Here are the box office links to the Licad engagements:

June 18: www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2016/6/18/0800/PM/Philippine-Philharmonic-Orchestra/

June 24: www.cityboxoffice.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=2186

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TAGS: Carnegie Hall, Cecile Licad, Gerard Salonga, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco
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