PPO romances the classics in its 35th season

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Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura is leading the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for its 35th season billed as “Romancing the Classics.” Photo courtesy of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), under the baton of Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, is back on the stage of Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Main Theater on September 15 for the opening of its 35th concert season

CCP vice president and artistic director Chris Millado describes “Romancing the Classics,” the concert’s title, “This concert season is set to explore the nuances of the classics and is characterized by exciting soloists.”

On the other hand, according to Maestro Fukumura, “Romancing the Classics” is a follow up to the orchestra’s previous season entitled “Back to Basics,” and will be marked with an improvement in the technique of the orchestra’s members.

Fukumura said through an interpreter, “Last year’s “Back to Basics” is based on one thing: it is that orchestras need to go back to the basics—the basic being the German classics, the music from the 17th to 18th century. It is important for an orchestra to go back to learn in order to become an improved orchestra.”

Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura during PPO’s 35th season press conference. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

The maestro, who admitted that he is “not the usual smiling person and a rather strict person,” shared that in his first year with the nation’s leading symphony orchestra and a resident company of CCP, his intention is to improve everyone’s technique.

“Implementing these comes with some difficulty.. As a foreigner, somebody who is not good in the English language, there are problems that would occur,” Fukumura shared.

However, he said he is confident that majority of the players understood his vision and cooperated.

“I have set certain goals for myself, for the orchestra, and I believe that I have achieved it in some ways,” Fukumura continued.

He also shared that in his long career in music, there is one thing he learned: that excellent players, an excellent orchestra, and an excellent performance are all based on discipline.

One of the most famous maestros in Japan, Fukumura served as the former music director of the Tokyo Ballet, Kyoto Municipal Symphony, and Nagoya Philharmonic.

Moving forward with the improved technique of PPO’s members, Fukumura’s vision for the orchestra is to attract more audience. He said, “For the next season as we improved, what we wish to achieve is to get more and more patrons to come and listen to our performances.

“For this year, we are romancing the classics; we move to the music of the middle of the 18th until the early 19th century, or called romantic music. Our intention is to provide our audience with a wide variety of music to listen to. We think that by providing them variety, they become much more interested.”

The maestro also highlighted that Filipino musicians are participating including saxophonist Tots Tolentino, trombone player Ricson Poonin, conductor Gerard Salonga, pianists Raul Sunico and Ingrid Santamaria, and trumpet player Raymund De Leon.

Filipino musicians featured at PPO’s 35th season: saxophonist Tots Tolentino, trombone player Ricson Poonin, pianists Raul Sunico and Ingrid Santamaria, and trumpet player Raymund De Leon.  CCP photo.

Here’s PPO’s concert season schedule:

September 15, Friday
Yury Shadrin, a Russian-born pianist who is widely known through South America, Asia, and the United States is the featured soloist. Under the baton of Fukumura, the orchestra will be playing G. Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims Overture, F. Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat, and S. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.2 in E minor.

October 13, Friday
Cellist Ray Wang, who has been the founding member of the Hong Kong Virtuosi, Canzone Trio and New Art String Quartet in Hong Kong is the featured soloist for the concert. Under the baton of Fukumura, the night’s program include W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 32 in G, E. Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor, and I. Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Complete Ballet).

November 17
Head of Jazz Studies program of the University of Santo Tomas, Filipino saxophonist Tots Tolentino performs as the soloist under the baton of Gerard Salonga. The program features G. Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess,” J. Williams’ “Catch me if you can escapades” and A. Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World.

December 15
Performing with PPO as the soloist this month under the baton of Fukumura is Uruguayan guitarist Eduardo Fernández who is known to have written a major book on guitar technique and articles. The concert is featuring C. Debussy’s “La Mer,” J. Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un Gentilhombre,” M. Ravel’s “Valses nobles et sentimentales” and “Bolero.”

January 19, 2018
Filipino trombone player Ricson Poonin, who is known for actively playing as the principal trombonist of the Peabody Concert Orchestra and the co-principal trombonist of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra is the featured soloist this month. Under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo Ranera, PPO is performing M.P.Maramba OSB’s Symphony Ode ”La Naval”, F. David’s Trombone Concertino in E-flat, and P. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 in B minor ”Pathetique”.

February 16, 2018
Greek conductor, and Chief conductor and artistic director of the Athens State Orchestra since 2014, Stefanos Tsialis is leading the orchestra’s performance of N. Skalkottas’ “5 Greek Dances,” B. Smetana’s “Sarka” from My Country, and D. Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5.

March 16, 2018
Outstanding Young Men Awardees for Arts and Music Raul Sunico and recognized pianist Ingrid Santamaria are performing with PPO under Fukumura’s baton. The night’s program include T. Takemitsu’s “Requiem for String Orchestra,” F. Mendelssohn’s Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra in A-flat, and F. Schubert’s Symphony No.9 in C, The Great.

April 13, 2018
For the season’s closing, Filipino trumpet player and National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) first prize awardee Raymund De Leon is performing as soloist. Under the baton of Fukumura, PPO is performing F. Delius’ “A Walk to the Paradise Garden,” J. Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, and M. de Falla’s “El Sombrero de Tres Picos” (Complete Ballet).

For reservations and more information, call the CCP Box Office at (+ 632) 832-3704, TicketWorld at (+632) 891-9999 or visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.