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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

entry arrow3:53 PM | This Weekend in Culture and the Arts in Dumaguete : Pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz in Concert

Pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz headlines the second concert of the Silliman University Cultural Affairs Committee’s 47th Cultural Season in “Fortissimo: A Celebration of 40 Years of Performances.” He will perform tonight, 10 July 2009, at 8 PM at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium. The evening's repertoire includes F. Josef Haydn's Sonata in F Major, HOB. XVI: 23 (in memory of the composer’s bicentennial anniversary of his death), Felix Mendelssohn’s Variations Seriéuses, Op. 54 (in celebration of the composer’s bicentennial birth anniversary), Frederic Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2 in b-flat minor, Op. 31, and Anton Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 1 in d minor, Op. 32 (with violinist Jareena Inacay and cellist Antoni Josef Inacay).

Cruz is the most internationally awarded Filipino concert pianist. He was a prizewinner in the Jose Iturbi (Valencia), the Pilar Bayona (Zaragoza), the Concurs Internacional Maria Canals (Barcelona), and the Jaen International Piano Competitions in Spain, the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York, the Rina Sala Gallo International Piano Competition in Milan, and the International Competition for Piano and Orchestra in Sicily. He has also won First Prize in the Bergen Philharmonic Solo Competition, the Haddonfield Symphony Solo Competition, the Queens Symphony Soloists Competition, the New York State Music Teachers Association, and the Five Towns, Great Neck, and Port Washington Piano Competitions. He has performed as soloist with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Manhattan Philharmonia, the Queens Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic, the Maracaibo Symphony, the Orquesta Municipal de Valencia, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the State of Oradea, the Uni-Orchester Säarbrucken, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, the Orquesta Filharmonica de Gran Canaria, the National Symphony Orchestra of Malaysia, the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerously with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also amassed hundreds of solo recitals and chamber music collaborations, and constantly conducts master classes all over the world.

A former child prodigy, Mr. Cruz began his piano studies at the age of three with his mother, Lourdes L. Villanueva-Cruz. At age 6, he was invited to give a command performance at the Malacañang Palace and at age 10, he made his orchestral debut with the Philippine Youth Orchestra after winning First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists. The Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines granted him a scholarship for piano studies abroad, first at the Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, England, and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he was a pupil of the eminent piano pedagogue Solomon Mikowsky.

At the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Cruz was a winner of both the Preparatory and College Divisions Concerto Competitions and a recipient of the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, the Elva Van Gelder, and the Anne-Marie McDermott Memorial Scholarships. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in Piano Performance, and was awarded the Harold Bauer Award, the most coveted given to a pianist with the highest honors at the Manhattan School of Music.

His participation in music festivals in New York, Germany, Spain, and Malaysia, has given Mr. Cruz critical acclaim. Audiences describe his solo recitals as “sublime”, “colourful”, and “fantastic”, and his performance of Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto was praised as “…technically impeccable”. The New Straits Times called his rendition of Mozart “…a thrilling performance of an exquisite interpretation…showed his artistry, his finesse, and his sensitivity as a pianist. He made the piano sing from the first note to the last, every nuance and every phrase beautifully executed.” Mr. Cruz also received rave reviews as the featured soloist in the Toyota Classics 2006. He was invited as a Juror in the 1st ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition held in Kuala Lumpur and was the first Filipino to be an Adjudicator in the Hong Kong Schools of Music Festival’s fifty-eight years of existence.

As a mentor, Mr. Cruz has produced prize-winning students, while as an artistic director and concert producer, he is one of the pioneers for the renaissance of Classical Music awareness in the Philippines. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of OPUSFEST 2006: The 1st International Piano Festival Philippines, OPUSFEST 2008: The International Piano & Chamber Music Festival Philippines, the Ultimate Pianist Competition, and FILFEST --- a season of concerts held at the Insular Life Theater, the newly established cultural center in the south of Metro Manila.

In 1996, President Fidel V. Ramos conferred on Mr. Cruz The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for his contribution to the Arts. The Philippine Star has labeled Mr. Cruz as “The Magnificent Cruz” while the Philippine Daily Inquirer has dubbed him “…one of the greatest pianists the country has ever produced!”

About the Violinist

Jareena Inacay received her first violin lessons at the age of 6. In 2003, she obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance as a Battig Scholar at the St. Scholastica's College of Music where she studied under Professor Arturo Molina. In 1990, 1996, and 2003, she won the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) in Manila. From 2001 to 2003, Ms. Inacay was a member of the Jeunesse Musicales World Orchestra and in 2004 the German Youth Philharmonic Orchestra where she performed with eminent conductors such as Jakob Kreizberg, Roberto Paternostro, Daniel Inbal, and Adam Fischer. Ms. Inacay rececently obtained her Master of Music degree in Instrumental Pedagogy, majoring in violin under the tutelage of Professor Ulrich Groener, at the University of the Arts in Zurich, where she was a scholar of the "Freundeskreis der Musikhochschule", "Bruno-Schuler Stiftung", and the National Commission for Culture and Arts.

About the Cellist

Antoni Josef Inacay is a Bachelor of Music graduate from St. Scholastica’s College and was a constant awardee of the Sr. Baptista Battig scholarship. Starting cello lessons at the age of 10 under the PREDIS program, his cello teachers include Amador Tamayo, Wilfredo Pasamba, and Renato Lucas. Mr. Inacay joined the Asian Youth Orchestra twice in 2001 & 2002, and the Southeast Asian Youth Orchestra in 2005, where he was chosen as the principal cellist. It was also in 2005 when he won First Prize in the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA, Violoncello Category C). He has taken masterclasses with world renowned Artists and pedagogues such as Professor Klaus Kanggiesser and Claudio Bohorquez, to name a few. Mr. Inacay is an active and versatile musician, playing music ranging from Classical to Commercial Rock. He is a regular guest in Chamber Music concerts and recitals, performing with various chamber ensembles. Currently, he is the Principal Cellist of the Manila Symphony Orchestra, and works full time with his alternative-rock band called Silent Sanctuary, where he plays an electric cello.


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