View From The Wing

by Pablo A. Tariman

One was not sufficiently warned that the pianist preparing for an evening of Haydn, Chopin and Prokofiev, among others, is also a lawyer and professor of law and taxation.

Now for the next revelation: Nick Nanguit is also an accountant (second placer in the board exams) in the process of wrapping up a book on taxation.

Nick Nanguit on the piano. All set for October 23, 2015 concert at UP's  Museum of History of Ideas.

Nick Nanguit on the piano. All set for October 23, 2015 concert at UP’s Museum of History of Ideas.

On top of that, he is into tactical shooting and enjoys a new role as spirit questor.

One was almost tempted to ask him if he could talk to Chopin and ask him how one should play the 24 etudes; or talk to Beethoven on how to interpret the Moonlight Sonata.

When one learned that he was in the company of National Artist for Music Lucresia Kasilag and in fact performed in a special tribute to the late composer, one was drawn to focusing on the music company he keeps.

Atty. Nanguit – who has gone as far as the Grieg concerto and Mozart’s Piano concerto No. 23 in A — says some of his mentors (or at least those from whom he got special coaching) included Paris-educated Reynaldo Reyes and music pedagogues Estelita Salonga and Avelina Manalo and later with Augusto Espino and Harold Galang, among others.

The lawyer accountant admits he does not come from a musically oriented family. “My parents took up law but did not practice it. One worked for the BIR and the other in the Bureau of Customs. But I assure you, they are not corrupt.”

He is cut short as guffaws broke from the media audience.

Nick Nanguit answering questions from the media. He did not go into music to compete.

Nick Nanguit answering questions from the media. He did not go into music to compete.

“But I do love music early in my life. I told my parents I will follow their career choices for me for as long as I will be allowed to follow my interest in music. But I did not get very encouraging response. They think piano playing is strictly for girls. Then it occurred to me that I will have to pursue music on my own while taking up courses of their preference.” he added.

And so he took up a special course in music at PWU while being enrolled in accounting at UP. As it turned out, he finished a degree in Business Administration and Accountancy with special honors as cum laude. On top of that, he placed second in the board exams.

One cited pianists who couldn’t hack numbers and businesmen who cant be dragged into music, much more classical music.

He pointed out: “I think music and mathematics go together. Music involves rhythm and time signatures. Some music have complicated rhythm and dynamics and even more complicated phrasing. I think that if you are good in numbers, you will find music to your taste. On the other hand, accountancy and law are passports for getting good job. Music, for another, allows me to get in touch with my emotion. It makes me more human.”

After finishing law and passing the bar, he thought it would be good to celebrate not with parties but with a concert.

Still not earning enough at that time as a new employee of the Supreme Court, he couldn’t afford to rent the CCP or much more hire an orchestra.

One brought up the subject of composer Kasilag whose birth and death anniversaries fall during the month.

He recalls: “I owe a lot to Tita King (Kasilag). When she found out I had nothing for that thanksgiving concert, she wrote to the CCP to give me a venue grant. Another rich man offered to shoulder the rest of the expenses when he found out how much I love music but didn’t have the means. When I got what I wanted, I realized I have to pursue music as an instrument of peace and to say thank you to those who encouraged me.”

Poster of Nick Nanguit's October 23, 2015 concert. He likes to celebrate milestones in his life not with parties but with a concert.

Poster of Nick Nanguit’s October 23, 2015 concert. He likes to celebrate milestones in his life not with parties but with a concert.

(Another teacher of Nanguit – PHSA scholar Jonathan Coo – was also recipient of the generosity of the late National Artist. Coo confided to this writer once: “Tita King is the mother of all Filipino artists. During her healthy years, she never missed a concert, art exhibits, book launching or any cultural event. When I was doing my cultural research at Eastman, she practically mailed all her piano works and entrusted the interpretation of her music to me. That’s how giving she is.”)

Soon, the lawyer accountant discovered law and music also allowed him to open new doors in his career.

He has steady clients from his law and accountancy jobs but at the end of the day, he yearned to make music in the concert halls no matter how small and modest.

Whether playing as soloist of MSO II at CCP or playing in Costa Romantica luxury liner, music allowed him to get in touch with his inner self outside his duties as lawyer and accountant.

His October 23, 2015 recital at the Museum of History of Ideas at the University of the Philippines include rarely played pieces by Liszt, Haydn, Prokofiev and Poulenc plus Buencamino’s “Damdamin” and other OPM pieces arranged by Augusto Espino.

“I am not easily drawn to popular pieces,” he says. “The rarely played ones give me the ultimate challenge to probe the depth of music. I work hard but I also consult my music teacher. Some people ask me if I am drawn to music competitions. I do believe that law and accountancy are competitive enough. I pursued music not to compete but to share my talent. For me, music is sharing. Competition in music will bring it down to the level of sports.”

(For tickets to the October 23, 2015 concert of pianist Nick Nanguit, call TicketWorld at 891.9999.)

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