A Day with a Lady Maestro
As soon as we arrived at the PETA Theater I felt the familiar excitement of seeing another great piano performance and maybe, just maybe, get to meet the pianist and have her as my teacher-friend also.
We were asked at the entrance for tickets and I panicked because we don’t have any, but as soon as my Dad mentioned that I write for WhenInManila.com, the smile on the lady’s face as she ushered us in put me at ease.
I am not surprised to see kids about the same age as I am when we entered the theater because the 2pm event is entitled “Classical Music for Young People”. What’s great about this event is that it includes an interactive discussion on the pieces that will be played, which aims to spark in us kids a love for the classical music. (I already do, very much!)
When I am invited to perform on events I usually pick a Mozart or a Chopin piece to play because they are my favorite composers. The performer-teacher that afternoon, internationally acclaimed piano virtuoso ANG LI, had me loving the works of these great masters all the more, as well as those by Tchaikovsky, A. Liadov and A. Louie!
Ang Li, ranked among the top 30 pianists in the world by The 2009 Cliburn Competition, has appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ruïnekerk of Bergen in the Netherlands, and National Center for the Performing Arts in China among others. (Source: www.anglipiano.com)
Child Prodigy Yñigo Regis and World-Renowned Pianist Ang Li
I was secretly wishing she will extend her performance and do an encore, but the interactive discussion has already begun and kids have started raising their hands to ask her questions. When it was my turn to ask:
YÑIGO: “As a former prodigy yourself, what advice can you give to very young children who also play the piano?”
ANG LI: “Enjoy your practice as much as you can. I know it’s hard. When I was little, I was asked to play some technical exercises that I didn’t like that much but there were musical pieces that I enjoyed very much.”
I have more questions running in my mind which I thought I’d never get a chance to ask, but on our way out I was asked by the organizers if I want to have a one-on-one interview with Ang Li backstage! Of course I do! In my mind I was doing cartwheels, I was excited but I suddenly felt nervous too, because I have met and became friends with male celebrity pianists from different parts of the world, all maestros but never a lady maestro!
I was beaming on our way out. I was glad it’s not over yet because she will perform again at 8pm. I was overwhelmed with happy feelings mostly excitement, that I had to call my Mom to tell her about the interview and how simply great Ang Li is!
The 8pm event is entitled “From China to Chopin, Ang Li live in Manila”. We were ushered in once again upon our return, but this time we were asked to sit at the front! Wow! The whole time Ang Li was playing, it felt like I was in a dream. A happy dream, a gloomy dream sometimes…I wish someday I will be able to express music as clearly as she does…it was like the music was talking…singing like in an opera! And it is not everyday that you get to see the strings inside the piano being plucked as part of the performance! It was simply amazing! Awe-inspiring! My mind and my heart was screaming “Bravo!”.
Several times during the conclusion of her performance, the audience would applaud non-stop, something I haven’t witnessed before or might not have been keen on, but my Dad said it is a request for an encore, which she gave twice I think. If only it was okay to do that more than twice so she would give endless encores haha!
With PETA Theater President Cecilia Garrucho
PETA Theater President, Ms. Cecilia Garrucho, might have read my mind, so she got me instead an autographed CD of Ang Li which I now have on my playlist! Thank you so much Ms. Garrucho!
And I was very much inspired as always after seeing a great performance that I can’t wait to get home and play the piano. I am quite sure Ms. Garrucho can read minds because she approached me again and asked me if I can come up the stage to play but unfortunately the stage was already being packed up. She led me instead to a piano tucked under a staircase and I was more than happy to give the PETA Theater people an enjoyable performance as my way of saying thanks. But I suddenly felt nervous when I saw Ang Li and her manager Mr. Kristopher McDowell joining in with the rest in cheering me on. It was fun! It was a long but fun, fun day for me!
With my kind and pretty newfound friends from PETA Theater: Ms. Gail, Ms. Leloi & Ms. Judith
With Mr. Kristopher McDowell, Manager of Ang Li
Thank you to the warm and accommodating people of PETA Theater. And of course to Ang Li and Mr. McDowell for their generosity and for being very patient with me especially during the interview.
A Day with a Lady Maestro