Meredith Monk’s A Celebration Service Premieres in the Philippines

The Office of the Chancellor of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and the UP College of Music, in cooperation with the Musical Arts and Research Management Foundation and the Philippine-American Educational Foundation, present a rare music ritual-concert of Meredith Monk’s A Celebration Service on Friday, 30 January 2015, 6:00 PM at the lobby of Quezon Hall (Central Administration Building of UP Diliman), Quezon City, following the flag retreat at 5PM. To be directed by Tom Bogdan of Bennington College in Vermont, USA, who is in Manila under the Fulbright Specialist Program, the work will be interpreted by the UP Madrigal Singers, UP Junior Music Education Guild, and the UP Dance Company, with Elders Ramon Acoymo and Daisy Valenciano and singers Mark Carpio, Camille Bianca Lopez, Riva Ferrer, Terrence, and Tom Virtucio. Allison Easter, another protege of Meredith Monk, will choreograph the show.

As a composer, Monk is considered an extraordinary visionary in the field contemporary art music in the USA today and the premiere of her piece in the Philippines is a momentous event for the UP College of Music, which is celebrating its 99th year. The performance also kicks off the Arts Month of UP Diliman campus.

A Celebration Service is a participative ritual performance that goes beyond passive listening and spectatorship for it fosters a profound musical contemplation on the human experience of connectedness and relationality with various Others in the world–with nature and with the Ineffable. Monk’s work is minimalist, abstract, open-ended, processual, transcendental in terms of time, simple but holistic, mysterious, and it illuminates relationships of presence that ritual is in essence. While songs in this piece are mostly made up of vocables, the mostly ancient texts–to be spoken by ritualist Elders–come from world spiritual traditions. For this performance in the University of the Philippines Diliman, these texts will be recited in Filipino, as translated by poet Pete Lacaba.

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Krina Cayabyab arranges Handel’s Messiah, Christmas Portion, to Jazz in Tagalog Language in UP Diliman

The University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music ends its faculty concert series, First Semester of Academic Year 2014-2015, with a jazz arrangement of beloved Handel’s Messiah done by Krina Cayabyab, with translation in Tagalog by famed poet laureate of the Philippines, Pete Lacaba. The concert will be done on 5 December 2015, 6:30 PM on the steps facing the amphitheater beside Quezon Hall–the administrative center of UP Diliman–as a way of celebrating the last day of classes in the said campus and ushering in the festive Christmas season. The first of its kind in the history of Philippine music, Jazz Messiah in Tagalog, innovates tradition with a view to futurity in which world local cultures combine in a spirit of cosmopolitanism.

The event will feature Prof. Rayben Maigue’s well-known UP Jazz Band accompanying the famous choirs of UP Diliman such as Philippine Madrigal Singers (Mark Carpio, director), UP Concert Chorus (Jai Sabas-Aracama, who is the main choirmaster of the event), UP Singing Ambassadors (Ed Manguiat, conductor), and UP Staff Chorale (Chris Reyes, director). Each of these choirs will render two Christmas songs in the first part of the show, which is free to the public.

Translating this musical masterpiece by Handel, which comes from mid-18th century into 21st century popular music and language comes as a way of paying homage to art as well as destabilizing the myth of authenticity that has generated many inter-ethnic conflicts around the world. By situating an expression that sits comfortably both *inside and outside cultural-linguistic particularities,* the College and the university hope to convey a message that beyond cultural borders, a heterogenous social world harmony is achievable if alternative voices–jazz and Tagalog–are heard in the global ecumene. The evolution of music for a million years has witnessed how music has been one of the most potent symbols in human behavior that has been fostering solidarities that are necessary for human adaptation and survival.

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UP Madrigal Singers Sing José A. Estella’s Bird Songs in Abelardo Hall

Music lovers in Manila will have a rare opportunity to listen to José A. Estella’s other “Ang Maya” songs that have been specially arranged by Chris Borela for the UP Madrigal Singers concerts on 9 and 10 October, 2014, 6:30PM, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, Quezon City. Dubbed “Panorama,” the concerts on the theme of picturesque music will be directed by Mark Carpio, as part of the College’s on-going faculty concert series. Mark Carpio is one of the best choral directors the Philippines has ever known.

José A. Estella (1870-1943) was a Spanish insular, a creollo, a Filipino composer who was not a mere gig musician who composed waltzes but an important public intellectual who filipinized Spanish zarzuelas from 1890s to 1900s and a nationalist artist who asserted the beauty of Philippine folk songs and dances in his large works such as Cancionero Filipino, Filipinas Symphony (1928), the first symphony written by a Filipino, Ultimo Adios (symphonic ode), and the opera Lakambini (Maiden). These works are all preserved in a collection that Estella’s granddaughter, Mrs. Mariles Teotico had donated to UP Music Library in April 2014. The scope of preserved music manuscripts and prints in the Estella collection is unique for it chronicles a wide time period (late 1880s to 1938), the cultural history of which is yet to be written. Practically all of José Estella’s music creations–arrangements, transcriptions, and original compositions based on Cebuano balitaw, Hiligaynon Lulay, Tagalog auit and condiman, Waray Curacha–are intact in this collection having been safeguarded from the many wars (1896 revolution, 1898 Filipino-American war, and 1945 Liberation of Manila from the Japanese) that were a prelude to the first Philippine Republic in 1946.

The “Ang Maya” waltz was a piece in Estella’s 1905 sarsuwela–with Severino Reyes as librettist– Filipinas para los Filipinos, which critiqued the racist bill forbidding Filipino men to marry American women, a double-standard in colonial policy. “Maya” is rice bird, a typical object in Philippine landscape. Estella consciously represented the everyday life of common tao in the Philippines, thus predating some works by composers who graduated from UP Conservatory of Music in 1920s.

Tickets are at 500 pesos each, with discounts to students and senior citizens. For details, please contact the UP College of Music (02) 926.0026.

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Full Philippine Premiere of Dvorak’s Rusalka at Cultural Center of the Philippines and UP College of Music

The University of the Philippines College of Music will bring to life Antonin Dvorak’s heart-rending lyric fairy tale opera Rusalka on 11 and 12 September, 7:30pm at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Little Theater, Pasay City, and on 23 and 24 September, 6:30pm at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, Quezon City. The show is directed by Alegria Ferrer with chamber orchestra to be conducted by Josefino Toledo and with sets and lighting design by Dan Silvestre and David Ohm, respectively.

In the cast are brilliant young Filipino sopranos Fame Flores and Bianca Camille Lopez, who will alternate in characterizing the difficult main role of a water sprite (serena) named Rusalka who aspires to love a human being but, in the process, was rejected and who, therefore, learnt the hazards of loving a fleshly creature that a human being is.

A full premiere of the work in the Philippines, UP’s Rusalka will be adapted to a Filipino setting, particularly to the time of Isabelo de los Reyes (1864-1938), whose contribution to knowledge of Philippine folklore is pioneering. An ilustrado intellectual of late 19th to early 20th centuries, de los Reyes documented narratives of living Philippine folk beliefs and practices of his time in order to build an archive of Philippine culture so as to understand the uniqueness of Philippine society in relation to universal truth and science.

The love that Rusalka learns in dealing with a human being in this fairy tale opera, though originating far from the Philippines, is one such truth and Isabelo de los Reyes would have easily understood its universal message. As a homage to him being a cosmopolitan Filipino nationalist who is celebrating his 150th birth centenary this year, UP College of Music juxtaposes, without translating, the original music of this opera that will be sung in English with characters whose names are familiar to Filipinos such as the spirits of the environment like diwata, hukluban, serena, nuno ng lawa, etc.

Tickets at 600 pesos each for the CCP shows and at 500 pesos each for UP are now on sale, with discounts to senior citizens and currently enrolled students. For further details, please call UP College of Music at 926.0026 or 9296963 or through UP trunkline at 981-8500 local 2639. One may also visit http://www.facebook.com/UPCollegeofmusic or twitter.com/UPCMu2014

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UP College of Music Tribute to National Artists Ramon Santos and Francisco Feliciano

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES – Marking its 98th anniversary, the UP College of Music opens its faculty concert season for academic year 2014-2015 with Ipagdiwang! Tribute Concert to National Artists Ramon P. Santos & Francisco F. Feliciano at 6 pm on Thursday, 4 September 2014 at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP College of Music. Admission is free but limited seats are available on first come first served basis.

Formerly known as University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music, formally opened on 4 September 1916 on Calle R. Hidalgo in Quiapo, Manila, UP College of Music has continuously nurtured the nation’s artists, scholars and teachers, and composers and has produced a number of alumni and faculty who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine musical art, and who were later on declared National Artists for Music by virtue of a proclamation from the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. These include Antonio Molina, Antonino Buenaventura, Lucio San Pedro, Felipe de Leon, Andrea Veneracion, Jovita Fuentes, Jose Maceda, Ramon Santos, and Francisco Feliciano.

The concert will honor Dr. Ramon P. Santos and Dr. Francisco Feliciano, noted Filipino contemporary composers and celebrated pedagogues, who have been recently proclaimed National Artists for Music 2014. Both have received various international awards and their works are critically acclaimed. UP university professor emeritus Santos is known for his significant contributions in studying Philippine traditional music and for his search for new directions in music, focusing on non-Western and Southeast Asian traditions. He was former dean of the UP College of Music and is currently teaching at the Theory and Composition Department of the same college. Feliciano is known for his significant contributions in bringing global awareness to the indigenous musics of the Philippines and for his leadership in liturgical music in Asia. He was a faculty member of the UP College of Music, founded the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM), and is currently the president of Samba-Likhaan Foundation.

The program will be highlighted by tribute addresses from their noted colleagues and will feature performances of some of the composers’ celebrated works to be rendered by UP Cherubim and Seraphim to be conducted by Dr. Elena Rivera-Mirano, guitarists Lester Demetillo and Nathan Matimtim, AILM Chorale and AUIT under Mary Katherine Trangco and Eudenice Palaruan, UP Rondalla Ensemble, sopranos Bianca Camille Lopez and Jade Rubis Riccio with pianist Albert Roldan (pianist), and UP Dance Company with choreography by Steve Villaruz, which will be restaged by Herbert Alvarez for the event. UP Dance Company is under the direction of Angel Baguilat and partially consists of dancers Sarah Maria Samaniego
, Angella Betina Carlos, 
Michael Barry Que
, Minette Caryl Masa. The UP Contemporary Music Ensemble (CONEMUS) and Department of Musicology’s Tugtugang Musika Asya (TUGMA) will complete the show.

For more information and reservations, please call 926-0026/ 981-8500 local 2639 or visit http://www.facebook.com/UPCollegeofmusic or twitter.com/UPCMu2014

One can also call UP Diliman Telephone: +(632)981-8500 loc. 2629, Telefax: +(632)929-6963

A Priceless Gift of Music Heritage

The University of the Philippines College of Music library received a valuable donation of music scores on 10 April 2014, which adds to its music library’s Filipiniana collection of Rare Philippine Music Manuscripts. The donation was given by the youngest granddaughter of the famed Spanish criollo Filipino composer Jose A. Estella of late 19th century, Mrs. Ma. Angeles (aka Mariles) Estella Teotico. Once catalogued and accessible to performers and scholars, the gift will fill in our knowledge on the music cultural history of the country during the late Spanish colonial period onto the early American occupation.

Jose Estella (1870-1943) composed the ever famous soprano masterpiece “Ang Maya” and, as Dr. Kasilag wrote the bionote of the composer in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the first Philippine symphony in the Philippines titled “Filipinas,” which unfortunately is missing from the donation, along with the tone poem “Ultimo Adios” that was inspired by Jose Rizal’s poem of the same title, are milestones in Philippine history for they were composed before the rise of UP Conservatory of Music in 1920s. Estella studied music in Madrid Conservatory of Music.

With Asst. Professor Alegria Ferrer, librarian Lita Estipona, and the dean of the College Dr. Jose S Buenconsejo the boxes were picked up from Mrs. Teotico’s house.

The College now plans another Philippine music heritage concert in August this year with “concierto testimonial” for the Estellas who must be thanked for because of their caring act in safeguarding Philippine cultural patrimony.

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Ambat Conducts Modern and Postmodern Works for Symphonic Band in UP Music

The University of the Philippines College closes its second semester concert season 2013-14 with the UP Symphonic Band on March 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM. Abelardo Hall Auditorium, Quezon City. Billed “Extreme Make-Over,” the concert will be conducted by Prof. Rodney Ambat and will feature original contemporary symphonic band compositions by world composers. The concert is Ambat’s third since 2012, in which modern and postmodern symphonic band music is offered to the Filipino public.

The seven works on 20 March are all Philippine premieres and are some of the most challenging contemporary symphonic band repertoire.

The programme will start with “Banja Luka” composed by Jan de Haan (b. 1951). This piece portrays the composer’s feelings about the civil war in the Balkans in early 1990s. This will be followed by “Theme and Variations, op. 43 by Arnold Schoenberg and Alfred Reed’s “Divertimento for Flute,” the solo part of which will be played by Lester Armenta, a senior member of the band and a prize winner in Flute NAMCYA competition. “Saga Candida,” a concert suite by Bert Appermont ends the first part of the concert.

Symphony in B-flat for Band by a German composer Paul Hindemith will start the second half. This will be followed by the highlight of the evening, a piece titled “Extreme Make-over” by Johan de Meij. “Extreme Make-over for Wind Orchestra” is a neo-classical piece that transforms, as in postmodern parody and quotation, famous themes from Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky such as “Andante Cantabile,” Fourth and Sixth Symphonies, and Fantasy-Overture “Romeo and Juliet .” The evening will end with “Fanfare-Hayabusa” by Satoshi Yagisawa.

Tickets are at 200 pesos each, with 25% discount to students and senior citizens. For details, please contact the UP College of Music (02) 929-6963.

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