CLASSICAL GUITARIST AARON AGUILA ON PERFORMING, TEACHING AND COMPOSING
By Pablo A. Tariman
A new side of classical guitarist Aaron Aguila will be seen by guitar aficionados when he introduces his compositions in a special concert called Crossroads at the Ayala Museum Thursday, October 12, 2017 (6:30 pm).
“I started composing when I was in high school but it wasn’t the serious kind. I was just trying out new songs for a band as part of school projects,” he said. “I never took it seriously until we formed a group called Klasika Gitara in 2011 composed of mainly guitar majors from the UP College of Music. Its main aim is to encourage or discover new pieces for the guitar. But it only lasted for a year.”
He said his kind of composing isn’t really the type associated with the kind of output associated with venerated composers. “I basically compose now to reflect on my new stages as a person and as musician. Hopefully, the audiences will find peace and hope from my music whatever they are going through. My stuff is easily a mix of pop and classical elements and hopefully it will be a good transition for those who want to rediscover the classical guitar. Newcomers may just find guitar music intimidating but my pieces hopefully will be a positive bridge towards a serious appreciation of classical guitar.”
That he plays the guitar is an advantage when trying out new compositions. “They say it’s hard to compose for the guitar because it involves familiarity with its different tonal colors. You can’t discover and use them if you don’t play the instrument. But there are exceptions. Joaquin Rodrigo who composed Concierto de Aranjuez doesn’t play the guitar. It is really a very personal instrument and if you are composing and playing the instrument, it becomes a distinct advantage. As it is, we need new works for the classical guitar. Composing new ones is also a tool for widening the audience of classical guitar.”
In the same manner that a classical guitarist teaching guitar is also an advantage. “The advantage is that you can impart your experiences with your student because you know exactly how it is like to be performing on the concert stage. You know how it feels like before and after the concert, you can easily figure out what technique to use and what will work for you especially if you are under pressure. In addition, you will be a good coach to your student.”
He likes music collaborations and his sharing the stage with Vinculado and the Guitar Guild is a case in point. “The Guitar Guild is a very promising and talented group. They are very enthusiastic and very eager to develop their skills as guitarists. I believe that they are offering something unique for the guitar community.”
The Guitar Guild won the top prize in this year’s St. Scholastica’s College Classical Guitar Competition (Ensemble Category).
Aguila will play a piece he arranged called Tatsulok for two guitars with Iqui Vinculado who is a prizewinner of the UST Conservatory of Music String Competition and one of the members of the award-winning guitar ensemble Triple Fret which won first prize in the Guitar Ensemble Category in the 2014 Tarrega International Guitar Festival in Klang, Malaysia and first prize in the 27th Japan Guitar Ensemble Festival 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.
His other endeavor is arranging Filipino 70s folk music for classical guitar. “Those folk music sounds good in a classical guitar and for that reason, it is very close to my heart. I do believe it is now time to focus on our own music.”
In the October 12 program, Vinculado will play Danza from Pasaje Abierto by Edin Solis and Three Movements from Batang Laro by Bayani De Leon.
The Guitar Guild will play Bukang Liwayway by Victoriana Pacariem-Traquena as arranged by Aaron Ocalan,
Austin Tango by Roland Dyens, Cuban Landscape with Rain by Leo Brouwer and Philippine Medley No.2 by Alfredo Buenaventura as transposed by Aaron Vocalan.
Aguila will play Valse No.3 by Agustin Barrios Mangore, Invierno Porteno by A. Piazzolla and his own composition namely Reverie, Lay it down, Bagong Umaga, Kamusta Mahal, Salamat and his new arrangement of Bayan by Constancio de Guzman.
The October 12 concert is presented by the Independent Philippine Art Venture, Inc. (ipav) in association with Ayala Museum.
Tickets available at the Museum lobby before the concert.