Cecile Licad has just wrapped up her seven all-Chopin recitals in 10 days nationwide. The series ran Nov. 28 to Dec. 8.
She got standing ovations at Nelly Garden, Molo Church and SM City in Iloilo.
She got the same tumultuous reception in Nueva Ecija and Baguio City. In the latter, there was a long queue of autograph seekers at Camp John Hay.
In Roxas City, Licad paid a moving tribute to her first piano teacher, professor Rosario Acuna Picazo.
Before the concert, Licad and Judy Araneta Roxas cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the exhibit in honor of Picazo. “When I was only 5 years old,” Licad told the crowd, “I got a very important piece of luck in my life. That was studying with Miss Picazo. Even though I was still very young, she understood me and taught me no other teacher ever did. She knew I had the talent and she nurtured it like a flower.”
After the concert, Licad got four standing ovations led by Judy Roxas and Capiz Gov. Antonio del Rosario.
National Artist for Music and former Cultural Center of the Philippines president Lucrecia Kasilag had called the Licad and Picazo tandem “a perfect example of an ideal pupil-teacher relationship.”
Kasilag said she “greatly admired” the two, calling them “an interesting example for our teachers and pianists to learn from—for lessons in humility and humanity, discipline, dedication and the handiwork of God’s own plans for our young and developing country now entering and being recognized in the universal world of culture.”
Rosario Licad, mother of Cecile, also once said that she and Dr. Jesus Licad had made the right decision in choosing Picazo.
At the time, Licad’s mom knew that the piano teacher was half-sister of President Manuel Roxas and connected with the College of the Holy Spirit, University of Santo Tomas, Santa Isabel College and the newly formed University of the East School of Music and Arts.
At the time, she noticed that most of Miss Picazo’s pupils had strong fleet fingers and correct hand positions and they played very close to the keys in a clean and accurate way.
Licad’s mom requested Picazo to listen to her daughter, and the latter obliged. Picazo later accepted Licad as her personal scholar.
Mrs. Licad recalled: “From her first lessons, Cecile instantly liked Miss Picazo. She soon learned to love and trust her teacher second only to me and her father.”
One could imagine how Miss Picazo fired the young Licad’s love for Chopin.
Chopin is now 208 years old and it is amazing how Cecile Licad connected with the Polish composer’s music as though she had known him all her life.
In her first recital in Poland, Licad used a Paderewski (noted Polish pianist and statesman) piano after which the critics hailed her as one of the “best Chopin interpreters in 15 years.”