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Palawan as a concert destination

By Pablo Tariman
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:15:00 07/19/2009

Filed Under: Arts and Culture and Entertainment, Tourism, Music, Environmental Issues

PALAWAN was recently bustling with visitors for the annual ?Pista Y?ang Kagueban? (Feast of the Forest).

In Irawan village in Puerto Princesa City, I saw what looked like a replica of the Edsa People Power with long lines joining a tree-planting ceremony. Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn said the city government had planted close to two million trees in 19 years and reforested close to 3,000 ha.

The event was witnessed by ambassadors, beauty queens and a large entourage of local and foreign media.

Mike Molina brought in a motley of musicians (Noel Cabangon, Chikoy Pura, The Jerks, Gary Granada, Cookie Chua and Wency Cornejo) to reinforce the environmental message at the newly built Palawan Coliseum.

It was obvious Cornejo had popular following but the numbers of Cabangon and Chua brought in much needed substance. Granada brought in some of his compositions on the environment and made a fairly good impact. Pura and The Jerks performed rousing numbers.

Also performing were Puerto Princesa?s cultural groups. The concert was a hodgepodge of music of various persuasions, but on the whole it sent a serious message reiterated by Hagedorn in his closing number.

To be sure, Palawan needed a much wider musical landscape because of its burgeoning tourism program attracting high-end tourists.

Eleven years ago, I brought cellist Victor Michael Coo and pianist Mark Carpio to Asturias Hotel and got a wild reception from Puerto Princesa music lovers.

In recent years, pianists Cecile Licad, Murray Perahia, and violinist Alexandru Tomescu had performed in Palawan?s famous resorts.

On our last night in Palawan, poet Marne Kilates brought up a possible Licad concert in the province to Hagedorn.

It would be nice to package a Palawan tour that would start with a Licad concert and end in a tour of the famous Underground River in Sabang, Puerto Princesa. Classical music would reinforce the environmental message that Palawan, an environmental showcase, has taken as its advocacy.

Dechosa concert

The one recital you shouldn?t miss during the month is the recital of United States-based pianist Ariel Dechosa, prize winner of the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition and two other national competitions in the United States.

A former prize winner of the National Music Competition for Young Artists (Namcya), Dechosa will play at Philamlife Theater on July 31 with the following program: Bach?s Prelude in B Minor, BWV 855a, as arranged by Alexander Ziloti; Brahms? Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5; Prokofiev?s Prelude in C Major, Op. 12, No. 7 and Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82.

His program is insightfully constructed to frame and compare two monuments in the history of piano sonata.

Recently, after a collaborative performance with soprano Stefka Estatieva, The Washington Post noted his ?solid playing.? Another Washington paper declared: ?He played with an incredibly clean articulation at a breakneck tempo.?

The concert is sponsored by the UP Alpha Sigma Fraternity Alumni Association to raise funds for its scholarship program. Call 9007023 or 09065104270 for tickets.

Paganini violin concerto

On August 1 , 8 p.m., at Philamlife Theater, Christopher Poppen will conduct the Manila Symphony Orchestra, with violinist Diomedes Saraza in a Paganini violin concerto.

The other parts of the program are Haydn?s Symphony Op. 104 and Beethoven?s Symphony No. 5.

For tickets, call 9007023 or 09065104270.

Licad concert

Meanwhile, it was a hectic month for Licad in May. She was the soloist of a Swiss festival orchestra in rarely heard works: Carl Maria von Weber?s Konzertestucke and Schumann?s Introduction and Allegro Op.134.

The big surprise was, she was conducted by David Stern, son of violinist Isaac, who made Carnegie Hall famous.

She flew to California for another well-received concert with Santa Rosa Symphony, as soloist in the Ravel G Major concerto.

One of those who watched her in California was Chris P. Gaugler, a former piano prodigy who gave up the piano in his 20s. Gaugler wrote to Licad?s manager thus: ?I will see her [Licad] in Santa Rosa. I gave up in my early 20s, but continue to love and follow piano performers. Ms Licad is the best I have heard in my 59 years on earth....And that is a strong statement.?

Last week, Licad was in Rome for another chamber-music engagement.

Licad returns to Manila in September for her much-awaited team-up with German cellist Alban Gerhardt. For tickets, call 9007023, 3573811 or 09065104270.



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