The July 2 concert of clarinetist Andrew Constantino and pianist Gabriel Paguirigan at Hill Station in Baguio promises not to be stiff in setting and beat. Since it’s billed as “Jamming with Bach and Friends,” friends being other Masters like Gershwin, Piazzolla, Saint-Saens and Paul Reade, the musicians don’t mind if the audience hum, sing along as they play, or bring out their own instrument and get into the swing of things.
Constantino, a fourth-year Music major at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, invited “all singers and musicians to adlib or (do) anything at the last piece of the show, if they’re willing to jam with us.”
Let not their being grand prize winners in the National Music Competition for Young Artists (Namcya) in their respective categories be cause for intimidation.
To Paguirigan, the Namcya recognition means seeing “that all efforts put in the preparation have paid off. I’m reminded that winning doesn’t mean I’m in top shape. I have to work harder than I did yesterday to play well. Winning puts a lot of pressure on me every time I play. But it feels good when people appreciate my playing.”
To Constantino, the victory “was truly wonderful and happy. I felt in tears in my eyes because all of those hours of practice paid off. I consulted other musicians so I could understand all of my pieces. It was worth it.”
Their coming gig, last event of the Baguio Summer Music Festival and a production of Hill Station, Cultural Arts Events Organizers, Smart Telecommunication, Genesis Transport Services Inc. and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, marks their first time to jam together. Constantino said, “Classical musicians can be jazz musicians, too. It’s cool to have jazz pieces because you can express and interpret new things, the way you hear and feel the jazzy chords.”
Paguirigan, on his fifth year as a University of the Philippines piano major, calls his collaborator “an amazing artist with lots of insights to the pieces he plays.”
Constantino is excited about his Baguio visit because it is a chance to present the clarinet as an instrument that can hold its own. He noted how in some regions or provinces, people haven’t heard of the clarinet and only know the flute, piano and voice. He said, “We’re doing this because we want to educate people on what classical music is, how music can save or help lives of each individual.”
Paguirigan agreed: “More outreach concerts should be done. Imagine how music can inspire aspiring musicians in the provinces. The possibility of piano concerts in provinces is really always small though since not every town has a piano. It’s not easy to transport one. So chamber music concerts are more possible.”
Hill Station is inside Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio. Call (074) 4242734 or 0915-8292166; e-mail [email protected].