Saturday, June 19, 2010


For the benefit of Vest Foundation which supports the education of Aeta school children in Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Dinalupihan, Bataan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pianist Oliver Salonga at Kiss the Cook Gourmet

Many things happen when the moon is waxing. It is a good time to dream and set dreams in motion.

On Independence Day, like-minded people got together for twin events: the formal opening of Kiss the Cook Gourmet (KTCG), a restaurant, deli and alternative art space in one, and the inaugural exhibition "Moonlight and Water." The simultaneous solo shows feature the works of Norman Chow, Merci Dulawan, Baboo Mondoñedo and this, uhm...whatever.

As the party got underway, Ray Sison, principal flutist of the Manila Symphony Orchestra, observed that the venue was suitable for evenings of classical music. This after the warm reception for his interpretation of a short repertoire of the masters' music that suited the exhibit theme: Chopin's Nocturne, Mozart's A Little Night Music and Debussy's Clair de Lune with Saint Saens' The Swan from Carnival of the Animals for his encore.

The dreaming went on, with Mia Protacio, lighting designer by day, "poorest" patroness of the arts by afternoon and evening, giving her few centavos' worth--how young operatic singers needed exposure, too, in any venue, wherever there is an audience, new, old, in between still capable of being moved. She is a board member of the Philippine Opera Foundation.

By late evening, as original guests drifted off and a fresh bunch of diners came in, the dream took hold. Today, Ray texted: "It is a dream. But true." KTCG's Waya Araos texted: "Go for gold!" And Pablo Tariman, whose heroism in his classical music advocacy never wavered, announced that the tickets and flyers were on their way. And the event, you ask?

Oliver Salonga, two-time first prize winner of the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), will open KTCG's Intimate Concert Series with a piano recital on July 4 at 6 p.m. at the restaurant-cum-alternative art space (65 Maginhawa st., UP Village, Quezon City).

His program includes: Mozart's 12 Variations on Ah! Vouz Derai Je, K. 265 and Piano Sonata No. 10 in C Major, K.330, Chopin's Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 35, and Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83.

A master of music in piano performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the guidance of 2001 Van Cliburn silver medalist, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Salonga was awarded the Sadie Zellen Piano Prize for his superior musical talent. Under Pompa-Baldi’s tutelage, he won the gold medal in the 2008 Joenju International Piano Competition in South Korea. He is on his summer break from studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he is an artist diploma candidate.

Salonga debuted with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Ruggero Barbieri. A critic wrote of his rendition of the Grieg concerto: “A dazzling pianist… The distinctive phrasing, the brio, the sense of drama made the piece sound fresh and yes, even contemporary.”

The pianist was a soloist in Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under George Ellis and got a standing ovation. He was soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.2 in A major with the Lynn University Philharmonia under the baton of Albert George Schram. He performed the same concerto with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Rodel Colmenar and received rousing cheers.

The dinner concert, produced by KTCG, Bösendorfer and Music News & Features, will benefit Vest Foundation which, among other missions, aids the continued education of Aeta children in Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Limited seats of 60. Tickets at P1,200 each inclusive of dinner. For reservations, call 7484152, 3573811 or text 0906-510-4270.

Photo from Salonga's Facebook

Friday, June 4, 2010

'Moonlight and Water': A Quartet of Voices

In their first simultaneous solo exhibitions at this new alternative art space Kiss the Cook Gourmet, Norman Chow, Merci Javier Dulawan, Babeth Lolarga and Baboo Mondoñedo work on a theme that inspires them to be playful and reflective at the same time.

While watercolor in the hands of Mondoñedo and Dulawan effectively conveys the theme’s subtlety and frailty, Chow and Lolarga use the vivid, vibrant colors of their media to express themselves.

The watercolors, the acrylic works and the illustrations in dry media of pastels and color pencils were produced during a prolonged season of drought. The dry spell was outside, there in the visible world. In the visual artists’ interior lives, the flow of imaginings was strong.

They worked on varied surfaces in different locations (Baguio, Metro Manila, the Visayas), guided by images of water, with its implied power to renew life or produce a good harvest, and of the earth’s closest neighbor, with its own capacity to pull the tides and affect human emotions and states of mind.

Their own research enabled them to visualize images of moon and water. For example, the lizard, symbol of regeneration and almost a cliché in ethnic-inspired works, is said to appear in lowland provinces in the rare colors of pink and white. When it does, it is a harbinger of rain.

Some chose to interpret aphorisms in English and Filipino from “Baying at the Moon” to “Blue Moon” to “Suntok sa Buwan.” By celestial coincidence, a crescent moon was visible in parts of Southeast Asia one evening in mid-May this year. The planet Venus seemed to be held in the cup of the moon’s palm. This rare sight, in folklore, also signals good fortune.

Four persons face the vastness of the oceans and the heavens and humbly resize and reduce this on paper, canvas and board—a fortuitous beginning for all.

"Moonlight and Water" is the inaugural exhibit at the expanded Kiss the Cook Gourmet, a restaurant, delicatessen and gallery in one. The show, curated by Liwa Araos, opens on June 12 and runs till July 9. Kiss the Cook Gourmet, located at 65 Maginhawa street, UP Village, Quezon City, opens daily at 11 a.m.