As one of the oldest orchestras in Asia, the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has been striving to bring classical music closer to more Filipinos throughout the years by playing not only in formal venues like theaters but also in public spaces like schools and parks, all over the country.
This 2015, MSO’s has gotten a major boost as it partners with the Ayala Malls, which will provide the orchestra it’s official residence via a soon-to-open studio inside Glorietta 5 in Makati City.
Moreover, for the whole month of March, the MSO will feature in performances in the different Ayala Malls around Metro Manila.
These encouraging developments were announced at a press conference on March 6 at Glorietta 5 where the premiere orchestra showed just why one of the country’s biggest lifestyle developers has given them such importance.
“It’s our advocacy to bring classical music to more people. [However] we’ve been having a hard time to inviting them to concert halls like the CCP, or in other places where we traditionally perform. So what we did is we set ourselves up to be able to play in various locations—unusual locations [for orchestras]where people always go,” shared Jeffrey Solares, associate conductor and executive director of MSO in an interview with the lifestyle press corps.
Asked how their partnership with the Ayalas came about, Solares admitted that MSO personally sought the help of the gracious and generous company.
He explained, “It was from the very urgent need of the orchestra to get settled or to be in one place. We recently lost our residency at St. Scholastica’s College for almost 20 years because they no longer had the space for our requirements and operations today. Last year, in order for us to survive the season, we’ve had to do rehearsals in schools, in piano stores, and multi-purpose halls.”
Key individuals of the MSO bravely asked Ayala Land if they would be able to spare an 80-square meter area where they could rehearse. The special request was then taken all the way up to the office of Ayala’s Commercial Business Group head, Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni.
Speaking on behalf of Jalan-doni, marketing head Maricris Bernardino said, “He [Jalandoni] asked how it was possible for possible for Filipino talent at its finest [to be in such a situation]. He decided that the Ayala Malls should take on this advocacy for music since we are always at the forefront of the arts and culture as our chairman emeritus in Ayala Corp., Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala had always been and has always wanted.”
With that, Ayala Land only asked one thing in return from MSO: That they open their rehearsals for the public to see and hear for free.
“Why not! I told them, the only person who listens to our rehearsals is me! And even if it is just a rehearsal, it is something that can affect people in a very positive way,” Jalandoni enthused.
With this, Ayala Land promised to give MSO a “home” with a much bigger 120-square meter studio at Glorietta 5, which will soon be inaugurated. Currently, the orchestra has about 60 professional members; some 20 junior members aged seven to 18; and almost a hundred enrollees at the MSO Academy, which is wherever the MSO’s home may be. It is under the baton of Arturo Molina.
Besides the studio, Ayala Malls will also play host to a series of MSO concert, and started off on March 5 at Glorietta 5.
The next performance is scheduled on March 21, in celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach’s 330th birthday. The orchestra, in groups, will simultaneously play its ode to the German composer’s enduring hymns in hour-long performances at Greenbelt’s The Gallery, Alabang Town Center’s Corte delas Palmas, Trinoma’s Park Level, and at the Glorietta 5’s Atrium.
Come summer, Ayala Malls and MSO will conduct a summer workshop where kids and teens can get the chance to learn how to play the violin under the tutelage of the orchestra’s members. These three-hour training sessions will run at the UP Town Center on April 12, followed by the Fairview Terraces Mall on April 19, BGC’s Market! Market! on April 26, Alabang Town Center on May 3, and at the Solenad on May 17.
If lovers of music are unable to make it to any of the above dates, Bernardino assures the public that they will always have the chance to just sit back and listen to the MSO as soon as their new home opens in Glorietta 5, or even on any given day at the mall’s open atrium.
“Music is everywhere,” she ended.