Since leaving Manila and deciding to live in my humble City of Pagadian in 2004, the ones I gave up was classical music. I had been exposed to the culture and the arts while studying Foreign Service in Intramuros while living in our humble Benitez compound in Agoncillo, Manila. It was in my masteral class with the concert pianist and cultural impresario, Jonathan Arevalo Coo that I was formally introduced to the world of classical music. Through him, I was introduced to the world of great artists and icons like UST Dean of the College of Music, the prodigy and CCP President, Dean Raul Sunico, Grand Dame of Music, Dr. Ingrid Sala Santamaria, Grand Dame of the Republic, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, Piano prodigy and icon, Cecile Licad, and Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
While I lived in Manila, I was surrounded by music, classical and contemporary, from orchestral, chorale and solo pieces, I am left inspired. When I was studying in the wee hours of the night, I can hear Chopin and Schubert pieces played by Jonathan Coo, it just helped me study and focus more. On the contemporary side of music, I was in fact, sometimes pissed off by the vocal practice of Pinoy Dream Academy winner Laarni Lozada, as she lived with us too.
The other night, I was invited by Jeffrey Almonte, my kind and supportive friend to his residence for a Night of Classical Music. Upon arriving, I met familiar faces in the City, whose commitment to classical music has been and will always be the cornerstone for the more culturally advanced City, though we have all agreed that the City is not yet ready for a classical music scene, much more the love of piano as recital and concert pieces.
The Concert featured Capiz-born pianist Clement Acevedo who played wonderfully on the piano the pieces of Schubert and Chopin. A graduate of the College of Music in the University of the Philippines, he studied under Augusto Espino and was mentored by Harvey Wedeen, Igor Resnianski, Carl Cranmer. He won First Prize of the famous and prestigious National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA). An expert in musical pedagogy, Clem impressed me with his candid and timely masterclasses after his concert.
The show was in honor of the Grand Dame of Music, Dr. Ingrid Sala Santamaria who has given concerts already in the City of Pagadian. I say that the night of classical music was an intimate affair of the culture and arts aficionados. While in the concert scene in the sala of Jeff Almonte, I was keenly observing everyone and we had one expression, an agape disbelief of how great an artist Clem Acevedo when he plays his music.