Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura shared the stage with fellow Japanese musician and world-renowned pianist Noriko Ogawa on September 13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, as the latter shared her musical prowess to a wider Filipino audience as a guest soloist for the 37th season-opening concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.
Earlier, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Koji Haneda hosted a mini-concert at his residence on September 11 that featured Ogawa, who is based in London.
The eloquence and mastery of Ogawa thoroughly radiated in her performance of a curated selection of famous classics: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Turkish March,” Frederic Chopin’s “Waltz Op. 18,” Robert Schumann’s “Traumerei” [from Kinderszenen], Franz Liszt’s “La Campanella,” Toru Takemitsu’s “Rain Tree Sketch,” Edward Elgar’s “Salut d’Amour,” George Gershwin’s“Rhapsody in Blue,” and an encore performance of Erik Satie’s “Je Te Veux.”
A longtime friend of Haneda, Ogawa has an illustrious career spanning across multiple appearances with major European, Japanese and American orchestras.
“Her various stints as competition judge and active involvement in her advocacy for the welfare of children with autism comprise her impressive résumé,” according to the Embassy of Japan in Manila.
Hungary, UP fete composer
Recently, the Embassy of Hungary in the Philippines, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music, presented Károly, Jenő And Franz: An Evening of Chamber Music of Goldmark, Takács and Liszt, which featured the Lozada Piano Trio on September 25 at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.
The concert commemorated the 117th birth anniversary of Hungarian-born composer, pianist, conductor, music researcher and educator Jenő Takács, who served as chairman of the Composition and Piano Department at the UP College of Music from 1932 to 1934. His achievements and efforts to preserve Philippine culture, as well as his contributions to Philippine music pedagogy and research, according to the embassy, “reflect the cultural diplomacy between Hungary and the Philippines.”
Said cultural ties between the two countries were immortalized in a historical marker unveiled by Ambassador Dr. József Bencze and UP officials at the UP College of Music before the concert.
The Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv sent Takács to research on Philippine indigenous music and instruments. These collected works, which are archived in Berlin, are included in Unesco’s Memory of the World Programme since 1999.
The concert served as the Philippine premiere of “Trio–Rhapsodie, op. 11” by Takács, “Piano Trio in E Minor, op. 33”by Károly Goldmark and “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 9 in E Major, S. 379” by Franz Liszt.
Violinist Ralph Waldo Taylan, cellist Giuseppe Andre Diestro and pianist Ena Maria Aldecoa of the Lozada Piano Trio took centerstage and brought to life the aforementioned enduring piano trios, which were played in celebration of the 103rd anniversary of the UP College of Music and the life of Takács, who also lived for the same number of years.
Belgian, German pianists in town
Upon the invitation of Ambassador Michel Goffin, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium on September 8 also hosted a master class and salon recital of Librecht Vanbeckevoort, a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition.
An official “Steinway artist,” Vanbeckevoort has performed worldwide in major concert venues, and with first-class artists as a soloist. His solo repertoire includes more than 35 music concertos, featuring all Beethoven works for piano with orchestra, as well as piano concertos with Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms, Saint-Saens, Ravel, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, among others. He has released 11 albums, with two piano concertos by Liszt and other live recordings.
Hosting her first Concert at the Residence, German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel introduced renowned German pianist Moritz Ernst on September 5, who was in Manila to conduct master classes in UP.
The embassy described the engagement with Moritz as an evening “filled with mesmerizing classical and contemporary music played elegantly.”
Filipina soprano in Portugal
Meanwhile,inLisbon, Portugal, the municipality of Cuba in the Alentejo region played host to the unique musical duo of Filipina soprano Aniway “Manila” Adap and Spanish concert pianist Alberto Urroz in May at the Cuba Municipal Auditorium.
The full-house concert, Coração Viandante: Canções de Amor e de Embalar no Oriente e no Ocidente (Traveller Heart: Songs of Love and Lullabies from the East and West), revealed to the audience the tradition of lyrical singing in the Philippines throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and placed it in parallel with European and North American music.
Under the auspices of Portugal’s famous itinerant festival, Terras Sem Sombra (Lands Without Shadow), the duo wowed the audience with their varied repertoire, which included Filipino kundimans and lullabies, as well as European operatic favorites.
Adap, who is currently based in Madrid, has won several Philippine and international singing contests beginning in 2002. She studied singing at the Conservatorio Profesional de Musica in Madrid, and has since triumphed in the world of opera where she distinguished herself as one of Montserrat Caballé’s favorite disciples.
The Filipina soprano is also well known for her composition Unidos por La Diversidadthe anthem of the campaign against racism in football, which premiered at the 2004 Barcelona Olympics.
Image credits: Terras Sem Sombra/DFA