Richard Bamping With FILharmoniKA April 18 2010

Last Saturday’s concert was nothing short of amazing. FILharmoniKA, under the baton of Gerard Salonga, played Scheherazade (with Rechelle Alcances on violin solo) and Dvorak Cello Concerto featuring Richard Bamping, principal cellist of the HKPO. For the event, I was the designated score-reader. Net 25 had a fantastic 7-camera setup, and I assisted the director in cuing the shots, especially of soloists and important sectional highlights. It has been my second time to do this (the first was FILharmoniKA’s Inaugural Gala), and I must say I had a great time studying the scores, attending the rehearsals, and learning this new skill.

Now I don’t really feel compelled to write a music review; it would be much better for you guys to watch the concert instead. It will be aired on Net 25 in a few weeks, and I will just post the schedule here. In the meantime, I’d like to ruminate on a few things I’ve learned, or been reminded of, from the time that FILharmoniKA started rehearsing for the concert, up to the event itself, and the lovely dinner we all had with Rick afterwards.

1. Orchestral activity is on an upswing here in the Philippines. My colleague/boss/mentor/friend Gerard mentioned this a few weeks ago. While FILharmoniKA has been busy these past months with some recordings for teleseryes, and a few live shows, plus this season’s two first concerts (Inaugural Gala and Dvorak Cello Concerto), other orchestras like the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra have held several concerts and mall shows this year.

2. The masters in any field, the really REAL ones, are not the ones who are jaded, who scoff at the rest of the world, and have puffed-up egos. The real ones, even after having achieved so much success in their field and critical acclaim, are always outside of themselves.. They don’t have their ego in the way. In musicians, it’s all about the music. Hence, they retain a childlike quality. Having Richard Bamping over was an indication of this. The breadth and depth of his knowledge in classical music was such that he knew all of the pieces that anybody asked him about during his stay here.. and could even play the other orchestral parts on his cello! And his playing is so transformative that I think even the orchestra’s playing went up several notches while playing with him. Yet never once did we witness an “it’s-all-about-me” attitude. In the Philippines, I’ve observed this in the masters I’ve come to admire: Tots Tolentino, Maestro Angel Peña, even younger masters such as Gerard. It’s all about the music. Maestro Angel Peña, in his 80’s, came to my graduation recital in the early 2000’s, and told me he wanted to learn more about that kind of music that I was into.. This, from the composer who started the Pinoyjazz movement! Again, it’s all about the music.

I hope you all watch out for the remaining concerts of this season. We’re going to have Cecille Licad over for the next concert! Stay tuned for more updates..

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