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.
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
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.
“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.
“As long as you are building pianos, you should strive to build the finest ones in the world.”
These are the words of Koichi Kawai, founder of Kawai Pianos. Also known as Hatsumei Koichi (Koichi the Inventor), he was the first person in Japan to design and build a complete piano action. The dedication to creating the best pianos was also ingrained in the mind of a young worker adopted by the Kawai family named Shigeru. His love and commitment was recognized by Koichi himself and was trained to create pianos from scratch. When Koichi died, Shigeru took over the company despite sadness. For 35 years, he pushed to make the Kawai company an industry leader fueled by Japanese quality. Shigeru often said, “Creating pianos is the greatest job I have ever had !”
It is only fitting then that his namesake line of Kawai pianos carries the commitment to high quality craftsmanship (and love for pianos) that he learned from and shared with his adoptive father. The Shigeru Kawai SK2 is created by “Kawai’s most esteemed sound creators proudly known as Master Piano Artisans (MPA). They are the only individuals who can send Shigeru Kawai pianos out into the world. The title of MPA is a special qualification, bestowed upon the finest piano technician-those who possess skill, dedication, and a passion for music.” In short, they carry the same passion as Koichi and Shigeru Kawai themselves.
Watch the video overview below.
For the exquisite details of the Shigeru Kawai SK2’s features, click on this link.
Kawai Pianos are distributed in the Philippines by Lyric Piano Corp.
Lyric lent its support to the Tapestry: The Carole King Tribute Concert on October 11, 2019 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.
The concert–named after Carole King’s 25 million-selling 1971 album– is a showcase of King’s incredible string of pop hits from the ’60s onward including “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Take Good Care of My Baby”, “Natural Woman”, “So Far Away”, “I Feel The Earth Move”, and many others. These songs remain part of any aspiring musician’s repertoire and arguably as much part of the pop music canon as most Beatles tunes; in other words, you know these songs.
The Tribute Concert was a multimedia experience that thrilled and inspired nostalgia from the Newport audience.
As King herself is a singer/pianist, so is Tribute band leader Jeannie Austin. Lyric provided the Kawai baby grand piano for the performances.
The National Museum hosted the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Fellowship Night on September 20, 2019. Lyric supported the NCCA by providing a Shigeru Kawai grand piano for the evening.
Nathan Gemina played the Shigeru Kawai with Debussy’s Jardins sous la pluie and Bortkiewicz’s Capriccio Op. 3 No. 1. He was joined by soprano Bernadette Manaoag and the Romancon Dance Company for performances of Over the Rainbow and Queen of The Night.
Kawai pianos are distributed exclusively by Lyric Piano Corp.
The ABS-CBN Spotlight Series successfully held a classical concert called The Young Soloists at the Hyundai Hall, Arete, Ateneo De Manila University on July 20, 2019. Backed by the ABS-CBN Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga, the featured soloists were violinist Adrian Nicolas Ong and pianist Jet Stephen Chong who performed pieces from Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff.
Lyric Piano Corp provided the Shigeru Kawai grand piano for Jet Stephen Chong’s performance; a worthy instrument indeed for the rising virtuoso.
Chong began piano lessons at the tender age of 5, and has since participated in numerous competitions, winning awards from the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) and the UCSI International Piano Competition in Malaysia among others. His command of the instrument has led to a full scholarship in the National University of Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.
The road ahead looks very bright indeed for the young classical wizard. For all his prowess with “serious” music however, he hints at possibly expanding his creative palette to include perspectives from contemporary genres. With youthful enthusiasm, talent, and the deserved academic support at his disposal, it is clear that Jet Stephen Chong has, believe it or not, only just begun.
You started piano lessons at age 5, but do you remember what it was that attracted you– a toddler in those days–to the piano?
I don’t remember the very first time I put my fingers on the keyboard. I didn’t actually start playing the piano because I wanted to. My piano journey didn’t start out like any other’s. I was just introduced to it because my brother wanted to play the piano and so my mother enrolled both of us for piano lessons. But then, over the years, my brother already stopped playing piano. He even tried learning to play drums and guitar, all while I was still pursuing piano, improving steadily, growing to love it.
Do you remember having difficulties playing at that age, or was the piano essentially your toy and playground?
Piano was like a toy for me back then where I can play with my fingers and produce music. My mom, who still plays the piano leisurely, noticed back then that I seemed to have very good fingers and so she tried letting me play the pieces that she’s been struggling to play like a Two-Part Invention. I learned it much faster than her and with not much struggle; that’s when she realized that I may have musical talent.
What was the first song or melody that made you want to play music?
The first song that made me want to further pursue piano playing was when I heard Chopin’s First Ballade. I was so mesmerized by this piece from beginning to end, making me want to work harder so that I’ll be able to play it when I am older.
What has so far been the most challenging piece you ever learned or played?
The most challenging piece that I’ve played so far is definitely the First Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op 23. I think it is a piece suited for more mature players but when I was offered the opportunity to play it with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga, I couldn’t say no. I pushed myself to make sure that the piece will be ready before the concert. I was exhilarated when the concert turned out to be a success.
Any non-classical artists you listen to, and have you ever thought of applying your classical technique to more contemporary styles of music?
I like listening to songs by Arctic Monkeys, an indie rock band, and Two-Door Cinema Club, an indie pop band. Actually, I’ve been planning to try playing by ear so that I can play my favorite band’s songs on the piano but I can’t seem to find the time yet. Also, I would like to try venture into jazz improvisation, if possible.
Who is your favourite composer, and favourite pianist?
For now, my favorite composer is Schumann because he has a lot of beautiful melodies contained in those big suites of his and I get to portray different characters and personalities in his pieces which I think is challenging yet fun.
Daniil Trifonov is my favorite pianist so far because a lot of the pieces I’m learning now were also played by him, so I usually watch his recordings and videos for reference.
If someone your age wants to get deeper into classical music, which compositions and composers would you recommend?
I would suggest Chopin nocturnes. Their melodies are clear, the harmonies beautiful, and overall very relaxing. I have a lot of non-musician friends who said that they like classical music in the first place because of the Chopin nocturnes.
If you could work with any musician or ensemble, who would it be and why?
If I could work with any musician or ensemble, it would probably be to play a double piano concerto with any major orchestra, as long as I’m playing with Daniil Trifonov since he’s my favorite pianist!
Do you have interests outside of music?
I like reading novels, usually suspense and horror. I also like watching movies, swimming, and playing badminton.
What preparations are you undertaking for your scholarship?
Right now, I am actually already in Singapore, attending orientations, opening a bank account, applying for student’s pass, having medical examinations, among others. All of them are covered by the conservatory, which I am extremely grateful for. During my free time, I’ll try to get to know as much people as I can and practice hard for my first piano lesson here with Sir Albert Tiu in Singapore.
Lyric wishes Jet Stephen Chong all the best and will always have our support.
Shigeru Kawai pianos and Kawai acoustic and electric keyboards are available at Lyric. Contact a sales agent at one of our branches for more information.
Lyric recently gave Maybank a beautiful Kawai KG3C Professional Grand piano to symbolize the partnership between the two esteemed companies.
According to Kawai, “the KG3C, Professional Grand is a particular favorite of professional musicians. Always performing with outstanding vitality, it is excelled only by much larger pianos. It features an unusual broad back design allowing it to accommodate longer string length in middle register to effect concert-like tonal production.” This particular piano is berthed at The Zobel De Ayala Recital Hall of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater.
Lyric is proud to be partners with Maybank. Click on the photos for a closer look at the Kawai KG3C