Fresh from its successful concert at the Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Philippine PhilHarmonic Orchestra (PPO) embarks on its 34th Concert Season 2016 to 2017 billed as “Timeless Classics, New Beginnings” under the baton of its new music director, Japanese conductor Yoshikazu Fukumura at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Maestro Fukumura, in a press conference held in Diamond Hotel on August 30, expressed his gratitude as the new music director. However, he professed that he feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders for the incoming season.
According to him, in preparation for this coming season, he was able to look over the program or the pieces that were previously played by the PhilHarmonic Orchestra for the last two to three years.
Looking at the past programs, he noticed that they are very high level, meaning the pieces used are not normally played by orchestras or there are very few opportunities for them to play.
“The idea I got is that perhaps there was a lack of consideration also for what the listeners would want to listen to. To give you my honest opinion, as you know, I have been a guest conductor over three years. It means I have conducted three or four times during that period and one of the things I observed is that there are very few in the audience, there are very few listeners and I am very disappointed to see that,” Fukumura said.
“And so, taking all of these observations, I have created a program for this season playing due importance to classical music, basic classical music, and I believe that doing so will be of great help not only to the orchestra but to our audience as well,” he added.
Maestro Fukumura further shared that he carefully considered the selection of soloists featured during this season, adding that he is grateful that due to his long musical experience and activities all over the world, he was able to meet many top level global soloists and musicians. He believes that PPO will have excellent soloists for the whole season – something that gives him great happiness and excitement.
“My personal philosophy has always been, ‘If you start something, you begin with the basics, if you get lost, you go back and start again from the basics, go back to the classics.’”
He related that his teacher in Italy while studying there, Mr. Frank Ferara, also said the same thing: “Every time you lose your way, you go back to the starting point” and this is something he believes is important, not only for the orchestra but the audience as well.
“It is my hope that those who will attend the concerts will feel the difference, that they will say, ‘There is something different, there has been a change in the PPO’ when they come to the series of concerts of the first season,” he enthused.
“I would like this to become a reality and I would like everyone to believe that what we are starting to do is a good thing. This is something I am looking forward to and at the same time I am very sure that we will be able to bring it and I will start the season in hoping for a greatly success by the PhilHarmonic Orchestra. I am also expressing hope that more and more people will attend the concerts,” he ended.
For his debut as PPO music director, Maestro Fukumura opens the season on September 9 featuring H. Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, O.I. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D, and J. Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor with Japanese violinist Ryu Goto as the guest soloist.
Japanese soprano Shoko Fukuda, Filipino alto Camille Lopez Molina, Japanese tenor Hiroshi Watanabe, Filipino bass Noel Azcona and a chorus of 100 members perform with the PPO on October 14. Program includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C and Symphony No. 9 in D Minor.
On Novermber 11, Uruguayan guitarist Eduardo Fernandez performs with the Orchestra. Featured works consist of De Falla’s El Amor Brujo, A. Vivaldi Guitar Concert in D, J. Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranfuez, E. Granados’ Intermezzo from Goyescas, and G. Gimenez’s Intermezzo from La Boda de Luis Alonso.
Filipino conductor Maestro Herminigildo Ranera wields the baton in a concert on December 16, featuring F. Suppe’s Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna, Antonio Buenaventura’s Concert for Bassoon and Orchestra in F minor op. 87, and P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4 in F Minor.
Maestro Fukumura returns to conduct the PPO as it ushers in the New Year on January 20, 2017. W. A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 28 in C, E. Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto constitute the program for this concert. Filipino violinist Diomedes Saraza Jr. performs as guest soloist.
The PPO, under the baton of Maestro Fukumura, will also perform on February 17, March 17 and on its 34th season ender on April 21, 2017, they will be performing with French pianist Monique Duphil as guest soloist. Program includes G. Gershwin’s Girl Crazy-Overture, and Piano Concerto in F, A. Copland’s El Salon Mexico, Arturo Marques’ Danzon No. 2 and El Conga del Fuego.
All concerts will be staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) at 8 p.m.
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