The Piano Competition For Young Artists by the Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines Foundation Inc and Lyric Piano Corp supported by Yamaha and Kawai is officially underway as three jurors screened video performances from 22 semi-finalists. The jurors intently listened to and meticulously watched each piano performance video in a marathon 5 hour-plus session at the Lyric Studios on Feb 18.

The semi-finalists were divided into three different age categories (Category A: 10 yo and below; Category B: 11-14; and Category C: 15-19) and showcased high levels of pianistic proficiency. The Semi-finals will be March 8, and the finals will be on March 29 at the Consunji Theater, UP Diliman. The Grand Prizes are a Kawai Upright piano and a Yamaha Upright piano.

It is only fitting of course that a serious competition requires and deserves highly qualified judges who have received national and international accolades.

Juror Prof Najib Ismail (c) with Lyric Piano Corp President Alma Joy Cristobal and PTGPFI President Anthony Say Yu

Prof Najib Ismail is a much sought-after collaborative pianist and chamber musician who received his Bachelor of Music degree at the UST Conservatory under Fr. Manuel Maramba OSB and Leonor Kilayko and was on full scholarship from the Music Promotion Foundation of the Philippines and the Reynaldo Reyes Scholarship Grant. At the Hong Kong Academy For Performing Arts, he obtained a Professional diploma in Operatic Restiteur and Vocal Accompaniment in 1997. As a soloist, he has been featured with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the UST Orchestra. In 2014 and 2016, Prof Ismail collaborated with Korean opera soprano Sumi Jo, and in 2015 and 2016 with Romanian soprano Nelly Miriciou. In 2016, he performed 2 of Schubert’s major song cycles Die Schöne mullerin with tenor Arthur Espiritu and Winterreise with Korean baritone Park Byong In. Prof Ismail has performed with almost every major Philippine classical artist and has done collaborative, chamber music, and solo performances in Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, and Korea.


Juror Prof Harold Galang (c) with Ms Cristobal and Mr Yu

Prof Harold Perfecto Galang is currently the Chair of the Department of Music of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) and concurrently the Vice Chair for Arts and Culture Section of the Presidential Committee for Arts, Culture and Sports (PCACS) of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. He finished his Master of Music in Piano Performance at the  top three of his piano class under the Czech pedagogue Jan Horack as a national scholar of the Ministry of Education of Japan (Monbusho) with thesis: “Shoupan:  Dobyu-shi o  shiisa suru houkosei” (The Impressionistic Aspect of Chopin’s Music). He  had  music master classes in San Francisco and New York City and is  currently pursuing his PhD. Degree in Music Performance at the PWU School of Music. Prof Galang has performed and concertized in numerous cities of Europe, Northern and Central America, Asia and Australia.


Juror Inna Montesclaros with Lyric’s Alma Joy Cristobal and PTGPFI’s Anthony Say Yu

The young piano virtuoso Inna Montesclaros finished her Bachelor of Music Degree at the Royal College of Music in London, with Prof. Ian Jones and her Master of Arts Degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Prof. Ian Fountain, and recently finished her Advanced Diploma. She is a laureate of both national and international music competitions. In July 2009, Inna was awarded Gold Prize at the 2009 Asia International Piano Academy Festival and Competition in Cheonan, South Korea, the Silver Prize at the 1st International Piano Competition in Hanoi, Vietnam – (September 2010), and the Bronze Prize & Sole Winner, Concerto B Category, at the 4th International Chopin Piano Competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (November, 2010). Inna was also First Prize winner in five prestigious Philippine piano competitions– Third Rosario Picazo Competition (June 2004), the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) Piano Category A2 (November 2004), the 2005 Competition for Young Artists, Category A, (February 2005), and the Piano Teachers’ Guild of the Philippines (PTGP) Mozart Concerto Competition, Category B (November 2006), and  Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines (PTGP) Beethoven Concerto Competition, Category C (July 2010).  In 2017, she was awarded Bronze Prize at the Rising Stars Grand Prix Competition in Berlin, Germany with her duo partner, polish violinist Ada Witczyk. And in 2018, she was chosen to participate in the prestigious Georges Enescu International Festival and Competition in Bucharest, Romania.

Below: (L-r) PTGPFI Secretary Jonathan Gutierrez, former PTGPFI President Mary Ann Espina, Lyric Piano Corp President Alma Joy Cristobal, pianist Inna Montesclaros, Prof Najib Ismail, Prof Harold Perfecto Galang, and PTGPFI President Anthony Say Yu

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