INTERNATIONAL cellist and renowned music teacher Ray Wang has always loved French composer Edouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor for its charm and demands on musical technique.
But Wang’s attachment to the Cello Concerto is more a sentimental one.
“It’s a piece I love both for its tone and personal reason. Because I played this Concerto a lot with my mother when I was learning it at a younger age,” Wang, whose father also played the cello, explained.
Wang will play this piece with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) on October 13, 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
Wang expressed the hope that Filipino music lovers will come and listen to the Cello Concerto that has long played second fiddle to the composer’s most famous work for the violin, “Symphonie Espagnole.”
“Perhaps it will attract those who know about his violin concerto and also wish to hear more of his music and come away finding out more (about the) Spanish style of this French composer,” Wang said.
Wang’s October performance marks his second with the PPO since 2013 and yet another, in a series of past collaborations, with PPO Music Director Yoshikazu Fukumura.
“I am excited to be invited back to perform with the PPO,” said Wang. “PPO is a great Orchestra and I remember the Orchestra as a happy ensemble with spirit. I also have some colleagues from the days when we worked together with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. I also look forward to seeing some of my former students again in October.”
“I met Maestro some time ago when he conducted the HK Philharmonic Orchestra and remained in touch. I played for him for quite a number of concerts back then. Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” still remains my fondest memory,” Wang recalled.
Wang has performed in musical centers and festivals in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. His performances have also taken him also to Chicago, Cremona and Florence, among others. In addition to being an active performer of chamber music, he is also a sought after soloist who has performed with conductors and orchestras such as Yang Yang, Krzysztof Penderecki, Macau Orchestra, Solistas de La Habana, Cellistra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra and the Guang Zhou Symphony Orchestra.
Wang also serves as a music faculty member of the Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong, among the many schools and universities he has taught at. Wang has had many students who later went on to win top prizes in international competitions and establish successful careers.
More than his knowledge and mastery of the cello, it is probably his love for the instrument that infuses his teaching and performance practice.
“Truly speaking, I grew up with the cello because my father was a cellist. I wasn’t a perfect child and practicing is what I learned to enjoy at a much later time. I am glad that I didn’t drop it…” Wang recounted. “Practicing makes me love it (the cello) more these days versus learning to play it at a younger age. It’s like one can learn to use the same word for different times and phrases.”
Michele T. Logarta