Mark June 18, 2016 (Saturday) on your calendars and make sure you spread the word that the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) will be performing for the first time ever at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City in the United States.
It will mark a historic first for the country’s leading professional orchestra. In fact, a lot of people could not believe that PPO has not yet performed at the Carnegie Hall. They are set to hold the distinction as the first orchestra from the Philippines to perform in the United States. PPO has previously staged various international performances such as during its European tour in 2001 and concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Bangkok, Thailand; and Japan.
PPO’s Music Director and Principal Conductor Olivier Ochanine already made an early announcement of the upcoming Carnegie debut of the orchestra on his Facebook page a few months ago (on December 16, 2015), however the formal announcement was done a few days ago in a lunch press conference at the Hotel Jen Manila.
The people and companies behind PPO’s Carnegie Hall concert were all represented during the press announcement. These are Philippine Airlines (the official carrier of the PPO), Smart Infinity, Rustan’s Commercial Corporation, One Meralco Foundation, PLDT Smart Foundation, Federal Land, Inc., and Metrobank Card Corporation.
Everyone agreed, however, that it was Olivier Ochanine who was instrumental for PPO’s upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall. He started work on bringing the orchestra to Carnegie Hall more than three years ago. But he made commitment to PPO members to bring them to Carnegie Hall when he began his term with the orchestra in 2010.
“Carnegie Hall is a haven of excellence, a place where musicians most could only dream of performing. And when I took over the role of music director of PPO six years ago, I thought, the Philippines is known all over the world for their amazing choirs…so why don’t we let the world know also that this country has a very able Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra and I think, I should take them to Carnegie Hall. So, I am very proud that my first appearance at Carnegie Hall will be shared, not with an American orchestra, but with my PPO family,” said Ochanine, who will soon pass the baton to a new conductor, the identity of which will be revealed in due time, according to PPO.
It was not an easy journey, according to Ochanine, “as the financial implications of bringing the orchestra to the US are considerable. However, some things are meant to happen, and I was convinced that this was one of those”. He thanked PLDT/Smart Chairman & CEO Manny V. Pangilinan for his generous financial support. It costs anywhere around US$70,000 to perform at the 2,800-seater Carnegie Hall.
PPO’s two-hour performance on June 18 is part of the group’s “Milestones: Celebrating the Filipino Spirit” USA concert tour. They will be joined by internationally renowned Filipino musicians—violinist Diomedes Saraza and pianist Cecile Licad. Licad has performed with the world’s best orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and London Symphony, among many others. Saraza recently graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, and is currently pursuing further studies at Yale University in Cambridge.
The program will include Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, op.96, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, op.47, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor, op.18 and Redentor Romero’s Philippine Portraits.
Proceeds from the concert will go to a housing project of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) in Tacloban for typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims. Thus, PPO and its sponsors, hope that Filipinos in the US will support their first concert at Carnegie Hall. Tickets are priced at $120, $100, $75, $60, $50, $40, $30, $25, $20, $15, and $12.50. Tickets to the Carnegie Hall concert of PPO will be sold at the hall’s website via this link: www.carnegiehall.org