After unfortunate delays caused by the ongoing global health crisis, the Grand Finals of the Piano Competition For Young Artists co-presented by the Piano Teacher’s Guild Of the Philippines Foundation Inc and Lyric Piano Corp has finally been set for July 20, 2020.
The organizers deliberated for months on how to stage the Grand Finals in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and decided that the safest way to hold the final round will be on video.
Grand prizes are a Kawai upright piano and a Yamaha upright piano.
The semi-finalists are required to send high quality video performances for each of their pieces with both hands and feet clearly visible. Deadline for submission of video performances is on July 15. For the complete Guidelines and Mechanics, click here.
PTGPFI and Lyric Piano Corp wish the competitors the best performances and the best of health.
Drum machines have been around for decades. While initially maligned for the purported threat of putting actual drummers out of work, time has proven that they have helped birth electronic-based modern music and can be useful tools in the studio or live performances. Forward-thinking drummers welcome these devices as part of their creative palette and arsenal. Generally, traditional hardware drum and rhythm machines tend to intimidate guitarists unfamiliar with an actual drum kit’s layout, with each drum head corresponding to a pad or button.
DigiTech’s SDRUM Strummable Drums pedal is a godsend for guitarists with a basic knowledge of drum rhythms but still crave the nuances that an actual human drummer provides, and all in a guitarist-friendly stompbox that will not look out of place in a pedalboard. With only two pads to deal with, and the option to program patterns with a guitar or bass, rhythm programming has never been easier (and creativity-inducing).
The most basic way to program a rhythm in the SDRUM (rhymes with “strum”, ya dig?) is to simply tap the intended beat on the dedicated Kick and Snare soft buttons. When played back, the SDRUM automatically adds hi-hats and cymbals. Twisting and pushing the two encoder knobs is when the fun really begins. For example, setting the left encoder to SW (swing) can transform your beat to a bluesy shuffle. From there, twisting the encoder again to Simple, the unlabelled moderate, or Busy adds various degrees of expressiveness including subtle grace notes on the snare sound. Twisting the right encoder knob introduces many hi-hat and ride cymbal variations. The sound selection is a modest 5 (with an ALT mode), but given the extra, and quite musical, flurries the SDRUM produces to even the most basic groove, you can deal with practically any modern music genre. You can record separate Verse, Chorus, and Bridge patterns. You can even get a lot out a basic pattern by pressing the respective buttons again and you will get variations (soft/loud dynamics, rimshots in place of snare hits) for each part. You can even have different tempos for each song section. Tapping the footswitch allows you to shift song parts accented by rolls; holding it will stop the song. SDRUM can hold 36 “songs”.
But what is the “Strummable Drum” bit all about? Well, if you are still intimidated by the Kick and Snare buttons, you can use your guitar (or bass) to input kick/snare data. Simply calibrate the bottom strings to the Kick and the higher strings to the Snare, then strum the bottom strings to trigger the kick sound and the higher strings for the snare (bassists familiar with the pop-and-slap technique already know this analogy). Depending on how versatile your rhythm chops are, you CAN come up with non-standard drum patterns. The SDRUM will determine the appropriate complementary hi-hat/ride patterns leading to fresh grooves, and again, twisting the encoder knobs will give you countless dynamics. Aiming for a 4/4 pattern with multiple syncopations? The SDRUM will be right there with you. You change the tempo by tapping on the Tempo button or by twisting the tempo knob.
While aimed at guitarists and bassists, you can even assign it to someone else. Program a rhythm in, and let your musical partner twist and push the knobs for on-the-fly expressiveness.
The DigiTech SDRUM is currently available at our Lyric Horseshoe branch. Check out our fresh-out-of-the-box demo here for a closer look and listen at the basics of what is actually a deep, and musical, drum-machine-in-a-stompbox.
-by Francis Brew Reyes
The Semi-finals for the Lyric/PTGPFI Piano Competition For Young Artists was held at Maybank Theater, BGC last March 8, 2020. Each semi-finalist was judged individually by a special jury (only family members were allowed to witness each performance as a precautionary measure in light of the extraordinary circumstances borne from the global coronavirus concern).
The jury for the Semifinals were:
Maestra Chi-Ying Hung of Taiwan studied music with Solomon Mikowsky, Fiorella Canin, and Donn-Alexandre Feder at the Manhattan School of Music where she received the Elva Van Gelder Memorial Scholarship, and “Best Performance of Bach” award. She has won numerous competitions including the MSM Chopin Competition, the Great Neck Young Artists Chamber Music Competition, the finalist of the New York Philharmonic Young Artist Competition, and Associate Music Teachers League’s “Lucy Boyan Balakian Award”. Maestra Hung has performed at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the Ethical Culture Society, Lehman College and Taipei Theater in New York, at the National Recital Hall in Taipei, the Tenerife and Lanzarote Music Festivals in the Canary Islands, at the Vila-Seca Festival in Spain, at the Salle Vincent d’Indy in Paris, at the Conservatory Auditoriums of Beijing, Tienjin, and Shanghai in China.
Marianne Fajardo Ward is an experienced teacher in the Makati and BGC area and is accredited by the International School Manila. She is also an Associate Professor at the College of St. Scholastica.
Augusto Espino from the UP College of Music is a pianist, Christian songwriter, choral conductor and arranger. In 2000, he was awarded the UP Gawad Chanselor Award as “Pinakamahusay na Alagad ng Sining.” He has performed locally and internationally and is an acclaimed piano accompanist due to his musicality, sensitivity, and technical proficiency. Espino has been the featured soloist for the Philippine Youth Orchestra, Metro Manila Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UP Symphonic Band, and the UP Jazz Orchestra.
The Finalists are (in no particular order):
- GAW, Ella
- HE, Bingxi
- SIY, Camryn
- TSAI, Angelmay
- ZHANG, Moyi
- ABABON, Iris
- LI, Catherine
- MAGBOO, Benedict
- MONTEBON, Zion
- PU, Su
- ANG, Hansel Harel
- AVE, Jeremy
- BARACOL, Aidan
- CHEONG, Gregory
- IBON, Reuben
CONGRATULATIONS AND SEE YOU AT THE FINAL ROUND on 29 March 2020, at Consunji Theather, UP Diliman, Quezon City.
She looks like a typical wholesome young lady in her cardigan, loose shirt, and sneakers, her hair in bangs at the front and ponytail in the back, and her frame slight, almost delicate. Were it not for the guests expecting her and the Yamaha executives by her side, she would be unobtrusive, invisible even, as she is soft-spoken and quiet, attributes magnified further perhaps by the face mask she adorns in light of the global coronavirus scare. She picks up a pair of drumsticks and tries to find a comfortable angle on the drum stool.
She hits the snare—a Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple—and extracts a loud fat snappy tone that rattles the room. She then plays the entire kit with a mid-tempo funk groove so taut you could practically hang a couple of shirts that would consequently flap with each rapid double kick accent. The Recording Custom kit is barely in tune, the tom angles yet to be adjusted but she immediately is in command of the instrument: her pulse is forceful. For eight bars, she transformed into a monster, albeit still a delicate one, as she made the drums sound like thunder. She stops, points out a couple of immediate adjustments to be made. After basic tweaks are made and a few more groove-tests, she reverts back into being someone her age, lightly giggling and standing shyly, awkwardly even.
She gamely poses for pics with the Lyric staff; she removes her mask and smiles hugely like a typical Japanese kid—yes, she is kawaii– except she isn’t really that typical: who among Senri Kawaguchi’s peers made it to Drummerworld.com’s Top 500 Drummers list at age 14?
Yamaha in cooperation with Lyric brought the now 23-year old drum phenom for a Drum Clinic at Teatrino, Promenade, Greenhills on Feb 22, 2020. The drumming community was immediately abuzz mere hours after the initial announcement was made in early Feb, as were fans of Japanese pop culture. Of the former, veteran drummers such as The Dawn’s JB Leonor were drawn to her performance videos; Leonor in fact says he “recently copped this fast sextuplet thing she does with the cymbals, double kick, and snare from her Drumeo channel!” The latter community discovered Senri when she did drum cover videos of songs from the anime series K-on when she was 14 (anime songs tend to be metallic high energy, fast tempo affairs). The Drum Clinic attendees informally represented both communities; career-wise, Senri has mostly leaned toward upbeat jazz and high energy fusion particularly in the virtuosic Senri Kawaguchi Triangle with keyboardist Philip Saisse and bassist Armand Sabal-Lecco.
As evidenced on most of her video-documented live performances, Senri is a technical tour-de-force. Live, her power is astounding, at once ferocious and fluid, delivering sextuplet rolls with ease. Her arms are toned, the musculature manifesting with nearly every stroke; power and grace in equal measure. Yup, you can see where the power is coming from despite her slight frame. She gleefully expressed that she felt extra powerful on Clinic day due to the enthusiastic crowd response and, humorously, her sinigang dinner (she loves it) and technique-wise, she holds her sticks near the base, presumably letting the momentum deliver the extra punch. For fast rolls, she demonstrated how she moves and adjusts her grip closer to the middle of the sticks. She does not consciously start with the mindset of playing fast; Senri says she practices paradiddles (and what she refers to as paraparadiddles and paraparaparadiddles) and distributing specific accents to each drum of the kit. She demonstrated these slowly before going to performance speed.
Senri acknowledges that, like her heroes Ian Paice (of Deep Purple her first proper drumming idol), mentor Kozo Suganuma, Dave Weckl, and Akira Jimbo, she is known as a note-y drummer. And then she was in front of Steve Gadd who played just one note. She recalls saying “I’m so sorry!” immediately and kept her head bowed for a long time. The audience laughed with her at the humbling recollection.
From the Recording Custom kit (which by the way was amplified by a Yamaha EAD system), she moved to the electronic DTX452. Senri started playing drums after her dad, a mecha-otaku, bought a DTX set just to find out how it worked. She was given the set when she was 5; she says she treated it simply as a toy she could play with. Needless to say she ripped on the DTX452 with no problem, playing full-steam ahead along with pre-recorded material from the Milesexperience (‘What Goes Around’) and K-on (‘Go Go Maniac’).
What makes Senri an infectious drummer is the sheer joy she brings to the instrument. Beneath all the firepower and finesse, her relaxed concentration is wonderfully broken by the toothsome smiles that show whether she is approaching or coming from a difficult fusillade of notes. There is a Zen-calm at work, an awareness of the here-and-now beyond the kit. Near the beginning of the Clinic she was already firing on all cylinders; a wingnut flew from one of the cymbal stands and despite being in the middle of a complex run, she saw it, laughed and tried to call attention to the problem without, literally, missing a beat. Later, two pieces of confetti most likely left over from a previous event at Teatrino were liberated from the rafters thanks to the sheer volume of her playing; Senri saw one falling hopelessly and laughed. The only apparent moment of panic was in the middle of the clinic when she saw that one of the snare’s wires had snapped; unbeknownst to her, it broke halfway through the first song.
Maybe that’s the real secret to her drumming. For all her technical advancements, she still looks at the drums as her favourite toy, and the stage her playground. She’s playing in the truest sense of the word, and it’s a lesson worthy of any musician.
Click on the gallery for more of Senri and her Drum Clinic (photos are owned by Lyric Philippines; unauthorized use is prohibited).
words by Francis Brew Reyes
Lyric welcomes Xian Lim to the Lyric Endorsers list. Lyric Legal Dept Head/Operations Manager Maisie Ann Cristobal-Agustin co-signed new contracts with Xian along with Lyric Artist Relations Officer Kurt Floresca and Lyric Online Marketing’s Francis Brew Reyes as witnesses at the Lyric Music Studios.
While known primarily as an actor and singer, Xian has also had classical piano training and can play the trombone, and 15 other musical instruments. A couple of years ago, he held a concert showcasing his skills as a multi-instrumentalist. Xian even bought a Bachendorff cello from Lyric because he wanted to learn it.
Xian intends to further amp up his musical side this year and reached out to Lyric for support. He will be using Harman home studio-related products (including the JBL Eon One Pro and AKG Lyra), a Yamaha APX acoustic-electric guitar, and a Kawai baby grand piano. Xian is currently constructing his home studio where he plans to record special online performances.
Welcome to the Lyric family, Xian!
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.
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.
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.
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
There are countless virtuoso drumming legends, living and not, who achieve the the technical, and translate the emotional, peaks that most musicians aspire to achieve. Whether it’s natural talent, an obsessive dedication to the craft, or both in equal measure, the greatest drummers have, in a nutshell, a healthy balance between technical chops and a mastery of grooves from the sublime to the booty-shaking. The intent and intensity–implied or overt– are elements that even non-drummers can appreciate on a gut level.
23 year-old Yamaha drums endorser Senri Kawaguchi is already poised to become one of the greats. She started at 5, then studied with drum master Kozo Suganuma at 8. By the time she turned 13, she was listed on Drummerworld‘s Top 500 Drummers list, the youngest one so far, and the second from Japan (the legendary Akira Jimbo is the other).
She has the technical firepower and unerring facility like all the greats before her. And she often breaks into wide smiles–in between complex rolls and funky odd meter navigation–that express: “This is so much fun!” Her chops are disarming enough but the playful spirit she injects into every drum hit and groove is rare. Frankly, when was the last time you saw smiles and serious facility together?
We’ll let you know more about Senri (in case you weren’t aware of her until now) in the coming weeks, but we’ll let you know this much: she will be holding a Lyric/Yamaha drum workshop on February 22, 2020 in Teatrino, Promenade, Greenhills. Check out the video below as she burns–with that joyful spark– with fusion vets Philippe Saisse (keyboards) and Armand Sabal-Lecco (bass) who comprise the Senri Kawaguchi Triangle.
The Piano Teachers’ Guild of the Philippines Foundation Inc., in collaboration with Lyric Piano and Organ Corp., will be hosting a Piano Competition for Young Artists in celebration of Lyric’s 56th Anniversary.
The competition is supported by Kawai Japan and Yamaha Japan.
The Competition is open to both Local and Foreign participants residing in the Philippines for at least THREE
(3) years with the following age categories:
• Category A: 10 years old and below (must be born after 1 March 2010)
• Category B: 11 – 14 years old (must be born before 1 March 2009 and after 1 March 2006)
• Category C: 15 – 19 years old (must be born before 1 March 2005 and after 1 March 2000)
A VIDEO ROUND will serve as the PRELIMINARY ROUND, to be selected by various jurors. The deadline for submission of videos will be on 2 February 2020.
Participants who will move on to the SEMI-FINAL round will be notified via e-mail.
SEMI-FINAL Round will be on 8 March 2020 (Sunday) (Venue TBA).
Participants who will move on to the FINAL round will be announced on the day.
FINAL ROUND will be on 29 March 2020 (Consunji Theater, College of Civil Engineering, UP Diliman,
For the complete Guidelines and requirements, click on this link.
December Avenue launched their new album ‘Langit Mong Bughaw’ last night Dec 20, 2019 at the Ayala Malls, Manila Bay. Lyric of course supported the event. Singer/songwriter Bea Lorenzo opened the launch. Check out the photo gallery below:
“Legacy” and “legendary” are words bandied about too casually these days. This may seem like a callous even disgruntled perspective but consider the standard handed–literally–to Bösendorfer: Franz Liszt, one of the greatest and most demanding pianist/composers in the entire history of music, sang praises for the venerable piano company founded in 1828. The intensity of his playing and prodigious technique reportedly broke instruments; he required backup pianos as a result. For a historical concert in Vienna in 1838, the Bösendorfer Grand was the only piano that met his standards in construction, responsiveness, and tonal quality. Vienna was home to numerous historical figures in the Romantic era, including Carl Czerny, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Liszt. It was fertile ground for artists; it makes sense that Bösendorfer was an integral catalyst for musicianship during that era. It helped shape the sound of Viennese music; one could say a Bösendorfer takes you right back in the middle of that rich period, the beauty of which still resonates today.
In 2019, Bösendorfer pianos continue to uphold their arguably unmatched reputation thanks to the company’s commitment to craftsmanship and– perhaps more importantly– the needs of pianists and the music they play. Bösendorfer pianos have been played by influential and historically significant classical, jazz, and pop pianists including Arthur Rubinstein, Victor Borge, Leonard Bernstein, Oscar Peterson, Nina Simone, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Tori Amos.
Bösendorfer pianos are meticulously hand-made in Vienna via its own team with traditional methods; they are not mass produced assembly line instruments. The company also embraces innovation and remain the only piano company that makes 91 and 97-key pianos (the Imperial Grands). These extended range pianos were created at the request of Ferruccio Busoni in 1909 who needed an instrument that can play Bach Organ pieces. While music that requires the full 8 octaves offered by the Imperial Grand are rare, the extra bass strings generate sympathetic resonances even when unplayed. The result is a fuller overall tone, which is also due to the larger body needed to accommodate the longer bass strings on the lowest octave.
In 1982, Bösendorfer updated the player piano with then-new technology replacing the perforated paper rolls; today, the Yamaha ENSPIRE Disklavier handles the self-playing piano technology. The company has been under Yamaha ownership since 2008 to preserve the unique heritage of Bösendorfer. While Yamaha itself makes its own line of respected pianos, Bösendorfer continues to operate and create autonomously under its own traditional standards. According to Bösendorfer Sales and Marketing Director Dr. Peter von Seherr-Thoss, it is a partnership borne out of great mutual respect between the two companies. All Bösendorfers remain Austrian-made.
Lyric Piano Corp is honoured and proud to be the official dealer of Bösendorfer for the Philippines. We unpacked and reassembled a 170VC Grand Piano at our Lyric Piano Gallery on Horseshoe Drive on December 6 with unprecedented excitement:
The soft-spoken and amiable Dr. Peter von Seherr-Thoss gave a brief historical lecture and relatively straightforward marketing brief for the Lyric piano agents. “Perhaps a customer is interested in Bösendorfer because of the great Viennese artists like Liszt, or they have heard of the playability, or the Bösendorfer sound. It is up to you if you wish to talk to your customers about just one of these points, or all of them.”
Bösendorfer piano bodies are 80% spruce. This tonewood is known for its resonant properties. To demonstrate, Dr. Seherr-Thoos struck a key. “If you put your palm here on the side of the piano, you can feel the vibration. ” This is what the piano company calls the Resonance Case Principle which is “using the whole body of the piano as a resonator to produce a violin-like sound character… to achieve the Viennese sound ideal: a tension free, singing, rich, powerful, yet refined sound.”
Before the lid was locked and covered, it was time for one final check although we emphasize that upon reassembly from the box, the 170VC was perfectly in tune. It is truly a precision instrument.
Bösendorfer makes an average of 300 pianos a year. Because each one is 90% hand-built, the construction period takes 12 months. If you are interested in owning a Bösendorfer– easily called the Rolls Royce of the premium piano market– contact a Lyric piano agent at a Lyric branch near you.
The video below gives an overview at how Bösendorfers are made and– under the hands of virtuoso pianist Valentina Lisitsa– showcases the dynamic and tonal range of these precision instruments.