KOREAN CONDUCTOR SHINES IN LAUNCHING OF VISAYAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

View From The Wings – Cebu City
KOREAN CONDUCTOR SHINES IN LAUNCHING OF VISAYAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
By Pablo A. Tariman

A new Cebu City-based symphony orchestra was born Saturday night (January 10) with the launching of the Visayas Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Korean conductor Juliet Kim at the Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center.

An ecstatic audience gave the newly launched Visayas Symphony Orchestra a spontaneous standing ovation.

An ecstatic audience gave the newly launched Visayas Symphony Orchestra a spontaneous standing ovation.

The launching program opened with the first movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and closed with Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor with pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria as soloist.

The first movement from the Mozart symphony and the two movements from the Mendelssohn concerto revealed the dynamic conducting prowess of Kim and brought out the best from Santamaria and the orchestra composed mostly of alumni of the Cebu youth orchestra founded by the Salvador and Pilar Sala Foundation

The audience responded with a standing ovation led by Cebu Vice-Governor Agnes Almendras Magpale. Also present in the concert were Korean Consul General Lee Ki-Seog and Consul Park.

The concert obviously uncovered the musical sensitivity of conductor Kim.

As far as this reviewer is concerned, no female conductor was ever seen in Cebu and the euphoric reception was a good sign that she will do excellent work as the first artistic director of the Visayas Symphony Orchestra.

The members of the Visayas Symphony Orchestra in an informal pose.

The members of the Visayas Symphony Orchestra in an informal pose.

The Mozart symphony revealed Kim’s musical affinity with the composer and she drew the best from the youth musicians who responded with such vigor and sensitivity.

Even Strauss’s over familiar “Emperor Waltz” received fresh reading and it was to the conductor’s credit that she avoided the mushy side of the piece and made it a brand new sparkling piece with its inherent familiar rhythm intact.

The orchestra also performed a few Visayan favorites like Nitoy Gonzales’ “Usahay” and Ben Zubiri’s “Matud Nila” which drew ecstatic response from the audience.

Brilliant was the rendition of the tango piece from the film “Scent of a Woman” and ending the first part with a vigorous reading of the music of Klaus Badelt from the film, “Pirates of the Carribean.”

. But the night’s piece de resistance was no doubt the second and third movements from Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor with pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria as soloist. That was a taut and peerless reading of the second movement followed by a razor-sharp finale with both the conductor and soloist showing awesome rapport. It ended with a rousing standing ovation which merited an encore – a repeat of the last movement.

Pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria with members of the Visayas Symphony Orchestra in an earlier performance.

Pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria with members of the Visayas Symphony Orchestra in an earlier performance.

The piano (courtesy of Lyric Piano) had palpable brilliance and the venue’s acoustics was excellent. It was a perfect night of orchestral music rendered by a group under concertmaster Reynaldo Abellana.

Founded in October 2014, the newly launched Visayas Symphony Orchestra is indeed worthy of support from both the public and private sectors.

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