Monday, August 29, 2011

Music Masters Series: Aima Labra-Makk

I've always believed that there is a lot of talent in the Philippines. We may lack opportunities for training, or need to develop our capacity to promote talents or to develop the market... but when it comes to raw talent, we definitely have a lot of it.

Last week, the Ayala Foundation shone the light on one such talent - virtuoso pianist (and fellow Cebuano) Aima Labra-Makk. Her playing has been described by European critics as "peerless marked by high musical intelligence, colorful expression with physical robustness (to sound), with elegant ease of touch but never for the sake of display."

The Ayala Museum lobby was turned into a mini concert hall where Labra-Makk started the evening with Haydn's Sonata hob. XVI No. 52 in E-flat Major and Schumann's Sonata No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22. The highlight of the evening was her performance of Liszt's Piano Sonata in B Minor.

Now, what does that all mean to someone who was not brought up on classical music and cannot tell a Haydn from a Schumann or a Liszt? An evening of great music, all the same.

After all, you do not need a degree in classical music to appreciate it. You may need one to know how to analyze it or write an expert critique of it, but to appreciate it? To be so absorbed by the music that everything and everyone else in the room disappears? Or even just to sit in awe as you watch her fingers glide across the piano playing a soothing tune one minute and then see them transition into a frantic dance striking keys here and keys there as the piece gets more and more dramatic? No training necessary there. Just come as you are, and don't forget to bring a healthy dose of openness to see how the music can possibly move you.

Labra-Makk's performance last 24 Aug 2011 was just the first of the Ayala Museum's Music Masters Series - a cultural program aiming to promote top caliber Filipino talent in the field of classical music. I am definitely looking forward to announcements about their lineup of performances.

Proceeds of the concerts go to the Day at the Museum - an Ayala Foundation program that gives public school students the opportunity to tour the museum, and join hands-on workshops that give them a venue for creative self-expression through the arts.

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