Top pianist Cecile Licad performs at Francisfest

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Rosalinda L. Orosa

Rosalinda L. Orosa

CECILE LICAD, the country’s leading international pianist, will be the main attraction at the Sanctuario de San Antonio’s annual Francisfest in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the poor and avid music lover.

As announced by Amelita Guevarra, Francisfest chairman, Cecile’s church concert on October 2 will consist tentatively of Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, MacDowell’s Sonata Tragica, three Spanish pieces by Gottschalk, and three by Cecile’s great grand uncle Franscisco Buencamino.

The Curtis-trained Cecile won the Levintritt Award at 19—as the youngest, the first woman and second Asian to top the oldest, the toughest, and the most prestigious tilt in America.

Cecile has played with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, the London Symphony under Claudio Abbado (who was rendered speechless at concert’s end), the National Symphony of Washington under Mstislav Rostropovich, the Pittsburg Symphony under Andre Previn, the London Royal Philharmonic under Charles Dutoit, and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. Among others who eagerly wielded the baton for Cecile were Kurt Masur, Neville Mariner, Michael Tilson-Thomas and Pinchas Zuckerman.


 iconic pianist Cecile licad

iconic pianist Cecile licad

The dreaded New York Times critic Arnold Schonberg, on hearing Cecile perform under Mehta’s baton, wrote: “Not surprisingly, she had the notes in her agile fingers, but she had something more, which the audience responded to without a shouting ovation . . . an appealing combination of grace and fiery power.” On her concert with Solti, the Chicago Sun Times commented: “She can produce great, soaring tones in the class of Rachmaninoff himself.” Of a recital the same critic wrote: “She is extraordinary—one of the great flaming talents that comes along one or two times in every generation.” Legions of admirers fill the hall at every concert of Cecile in Manila but few seats are taken by foreign music lovers.

At the initial Francisfest meeting, plans to ensure the event’s success were discussed by Amelita, Parish Priest Fr. Reu Galoy and committee members Edmund Lim, Suzette Gatmaitan, Dee Chan, Lourdes de Leon, Girlie Sison, Tina Teehankee and Jaime Blanco.

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1 Comment

  1. Amelita D. Guevara on

    Very well written Rosalinda Orosa. You are the one that was there when Cecile was a young budding pianist and saw her grow to be one among the best in the world class pianists, the best the Philippines has ever produced.
    We are so blessed to be a witness to this.