What famous pianist Cecile Licad likes most about Manila

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By Raïssa Robles


It was the chance of a lifetime: An ambush interview of world-famous pianist Cecile Licad.

It came about unexpectedly. I rarely get to watch at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and so when my friend, writer Gemma Corotan-Kolb, phoned out of the blue saying she had an extra ticket for a Cecile Licad concert and would I like to watch. I said yes.

It was a rare treat that included being with a gaggle of girls, one of whom recalled that when she was a little girl she joined a piano competition. The winner was Cecile Licad playing “Peter and the Wolf.”

FANS ALL – (L to R) Back – Sheila Bazar, Marithel Luna, Elizabeth Silva, Gemma Corotan-Kolb, Rose Recto. (Foreground) – Me trying to video Cecil Licad and the latter obliging. PHOTO courtesy of Marithel Luna. Marithel has fond memories of being in the same contest which the young Cecile Licad won.

After the concert, I learned the US-based concert artist was signing autographs. I wanted to hear her speak. She wasn’t giving any interviews. So my only chance was while asking for an autograph.

I decided to video it. But I have to apologize. I was standing so near her that I could not get all of her face all the time. Plus I’m a full-time beginner when it comes to videos.

Still I’m glad I got her on video. She is quite animated when she speaks and has a pleasant husky voice.

Here she is:

30 Responses to “What famous pianist Cecile Licad likes most about Manila”

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  1. 9
    Rene-Ipil says:

    Maybe one or more of them could be Cecile Licads that made Filipinos proud.

    “NEW YORK – They’re mostly pre-school children but they perform like pros. The Philippine Montessori Center instrumental ensemble, a musical group from the Philippines, wowed the audience at the Merkin Hall Performance Center in New York.”

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/07/06/13/opposing-pinoy-political-families-unite-ny-cause

  2. 8
    baycas says:

    What do film composer Willie Cruz, Nonie Buencamino, film director Mike de Leon, LVN matriarch Donya Sisang (de Leon), composer Francisco Buencamino, and pianist Cecile Licad have in common?

    http://www.philstar.com/entertainment/529288/cecile-licads-showbiz-connections

  3. 7
    leona says:

    Piano music is what? Wonderful for one’s soul. Thanks Raissa and Ms. Licad.

    @Mel like key of C daw…how about F flat? If you have a piano instrument or similar of it…try playing Chinese music…how? Just slowly push alternately the ‘Black’ keys ‘back ‘n forth’ and find yourself somewhere in China’s mountains! [ forget muna Chinese invasion boats!]

    You know ‘any’ of those ‘Whites & Blacks’ are all la ti do re mi fa sol? Btw, I’m zero dark-stone to music but I enjoy listening to good piano tunes.

    Have a good piano-day listening today!

    • 7.1
      Mel says:

      baka mainis si Raïssa if I’ll keep playing golf on the GREEN.

      ha hah ha…

      some putted an eagle, one a birdie, I think you got a bogey @leona.

      he heh he…

      oh sige, sasabayan kita.

      i used to be good at playing the piano – long time ago. just an amateur playing ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

      • 7.1.1
        raissa says:

        Alan is very good at playing ragtime on piano.

        But he never studied formally. Ouido siya.

        His father was a well-known jazz musician.

        • 7.1.1.1
          Mel says:

          Looking back at the different print media – venture outlets your hubby has indulged in, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has indeed artistic, creative gifts/talents. Once in awhile, you give him a rap. You must be very proud of him. Inggat ka – ang mga mata ng mga henio ay malikot ang mga mata. Heh he heh.

          Haven’t heard that word for a long time – Ouido.

          Most or many artists learn err progress by ear. Slump or Palm placements may be wrong before or on the keys, but the sound by finger ticking may bring semblance to key notes by hand. Hindi mura ang piano lessons, I enrolled for starters just to learn how to read musical piano sheets. The rest I did it myself.

          Kudos Raïssa. I’m glad its over a year since becoming one of your regulars here. More power to both of you.

    • 7.2
      zamera says:

      Piano lessons usually start with the fingerings and basic note reading in kindergarten level. Then you progress to grade 1 and so on. By grade 2 you play some pieces already.

      @Leona – using a keyboard, “do” or “C” is the white key before the 2 black keys, Piano lessons can be fun or boring, depending with the teacher and how much you want to learn playing :)

  4. 6
    Hiddendragon says:

    I was lucky enough to have watched this concert, though for me it meant flying in 4 people from Iloilo as a treat to my nieces. Allow me to put in my one cent’s worth of a review (more of the event than the concert).

    A couple of months back, Licad and Salonga / abs-cbn played the Tchaikovsky at Glorietta. For free! When I read Pablo Tariman’s article in the Inquirer a few days alter, I was nearly floored. While yet another Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto might raise eyebrows among, I have never seen one played live before and had told myself I would have flown immedaitely to Manila to watch Licad play it, never mind that it made me upset that I was not invited by the Ayalas (even if I had a BPI account, am a Globe subscriber and owned a shoebox of a Alveo condo! In the article, they let out that it was some sort of a ‘practice’ concert and I felt that was suspiciously indicative of a repeat in a ‘proper’ venue.

    So when the posters came out for this Jun 29 concert, I immediately booked the tickets and the flights, later to find out it wasn’t Tchaikovsky they’re playing but Lizst First and the Totentanz. Less familiar pieces but workhorses still. I was slightly disappointed but the credit card’s been swiped. Well, as everybody agreed that evening, Licad delivered the Lizst superbly and more. She was all poetic fire, pounding on the ivories while running the full length of the keyboard, and letting it sing with intense emotions during its quieter passages. As is her style, there is momentum in her playing, there is immense artistry in her delivery, you just know she loved playing the music as much as she loved playing it for the audience.

    Another pleasant surprise to the evening was Gerard Salonga and the ABS/CBN Orchestra. The web saw some unpleasant comments about Salonga’s non-classical background (i’m not sure how true this is) and an orchestra named after, gasp!, a producer of noontime game shows. Well, this I have to say. Even if Licad wasn’t around, Salonga and his team would have been worth it. Beethoven’s Egmont Overture was done with great skill and delivered with that solemnity and strength that’s appropriate for the piece. A very pleasant surprise. I have seen the PPO a few times, and I dare say they’ve got reason to be worried.

    An anecdote. Licad thanked Irene Marcos for lending her the piano. The CCP doesn’t have one? Granted Imelda built that thing and nurtured the child protege, I am not exactly a fan of the family. Yes, Imelda showed up, and surprisingly stayed four rows from the back. We could put a lot of meaning into this, I just (jokingly, of course) put this to her greatly reduced income after their downfall. She was trying to be discreet but after the concert, the crowds flocked to her to take pictures WITH her. I am wondering what is in the Filipino’s mind that thinks it’s okay to disturb other people this way, a rather unpopular, alleged plunderer at that. If I remember correctly, as we were exiting, Licad was doing her interview on the side of the lobby while Imelda was hogging the limelight at the main lobby under those famous chandeliers.

    All in all, it was a very pleasant evening from excellent artists formerly supported by the Marcoses’ largesse. Who said Philippine society is simple? ;-)

    • 6.1
      Joe America says:

      Best artistic review I’ve read in a long, long, long, long time. You should consider doing this for money, heh. Thanks.

      • 6.1.1
        Hiddendragon says:

        Thanks and happy 4th, JA!

        It’s been many, many years but I still think we love America more than we hate it.

        • 6.1.1.1
          parengtony says:

          very eloquent way of putting how most pinoys feel about America.

    • 6.2
      raissa says:

      Wow

      I’m floored.

      this is quite a good review.

      you should write more.

  5. 5
    Joe America says:

    Wow, thanks for the introduction to a very talented woman. I checked her biography and was floored by her range and performances and awards. I rather think she is successful because she puts passion into everything, whether whacking the ivories or giving interviews or playing for Mom at lunch (thanks for the snippet, Oca). I’m shamed that I’m writing about emo bands. ahahahaha

    Thanks for the glimpse.

  6. 4
    Marithel Luna says:

    Thank you Raissa for the pleasant, animated interview with Cecile Licad. I am thrilled to have seen and heard her upclose during your interview. I am a huge fan! Regards

  7. 3
    zamera says:

    Hehehe, it might be a knee length dress, or a floor length gown. Yes, thanks very much Ms Raissa for the video. @Mel, I prefer to describe Ms Licad’s voice as distinct and unique :) I knew another lady though who has a voice similar to hers, and she used to give music lessons.

    • 3.1
      Mel says:

      Excellent keyboard talent coupled with stunning looks, they go hand and hand.

      I’m impressed with Lang Lang’s “The Chopin Album” rendition though.

      With more or less of ‘skin’, Cecil looked great.
      I’m sure she sounded great with her repertoire.

      Wish to meet her someday too.

  8. 2
    Omon says:

    Hi Raisa,
    i missed your site due to internet problems. Ive lots to says about injustice here in the south where we have little access to the courts, anyways, its all about land-grabbing in Boracay that were so devastated with, my mother is losing hope.. i need to share this awful truth.

  9. 1
    Mel says:

    I think she is a smoker, “She is quite animated … and has a pleasant husky voice.”

    • 1.1
      zamera says:

      I think her voice has been always like that. I do like her gown (assuming it’s a gown, haha). Haay, I admire anyone who had really made music their career and succeeded. You have to be really dedicated to practice long hours almost everyday.

      • 1.1.1
        raissa says:

        Men.

        Tsk. Tsk.

        • 1.1.1.1
          Mel says:

          Ooii, I didn’t say it was flat.

          A Bit of humor lang Cecil.

          You look great and beautiful.

      • 1.1.2
        Mel says:

        re “I do like her gown (assuming it’s a gown, haha). Haay”

        I like the key of C. Very profound! And startling! Wow ang galing.

        A bit deep err husky o resonant voice, alto.

        hanggang dito na lang. baka kung saan mapunta ang ‘chismis’.

        Thanks Raïssa for sharing the vid.

        • 1.1.2.1
          oca gomez says:

          Hi, Raissa. It’s hard not to fawn over Ms. Licad. We’d been fortunate to host her a few years back in my parents’ house. My musician-brother invited Ms. Licad with express instructions to his seven siblings: quiet visit only, please don’t tag along friends (we all violated, naturally). My mother was bold enough to coax her into an impromptu performance of two pieces. Ms. Licad even obliged my mom’s favorite, playing with the same fire and dash she displays in an actual concert, After her finale, she winked at my mom, saying: “I hope that paid for the wonderful lunch!”

  10. baycas says:

    What do film composer Willie Cruz, Nonie Buencamino, film director Mike de Leon, LVN matriarch Donya Sisang (de Leon), composer Francisco Buencamino, and pianist Cecile Licad have in common?

    http://www.philstar.com/entertainment/529288/cecile-licads-showbiz-connections

  11. leona says:

    Piano music is what? Wonderful for one’s soul. Thanks Raissa and Ms. Licad.

    @Mel like key of C daw…how about F flat? If you have a piano instrument or similar of it…try playing Chinese music…how? Just slowly push alternately the ‘Black’ keys ‘back ‘n forth’ and find yourself somewhere in China’s mountains! [ forget muna Chinese invasion boats!]

    You know ‘any’ of those ‘Whites & Blacks’ are all la ti do re mi fa sol? Btw, I’m zero dark-stone to music but I enjoy listening to good piano tunes.

    Have a good piano-day listening today!

    • Mel says:

      baka mainis si Raïssa if I’ll keep playing golf on the GREEN.

      ha hah ha…

      some putted an eagle, one a birdie, I think you got a bogey @leona.

      he heh he…

      oh sige, sasabayan kita.

      i used to be good at playing the piano – long time ago. just an amateur playing ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

      • raissa says:

        Alan is very good at playing ragtime on piano.

        But he never studied formally. Ouido siya.

        His father was a well-known jazz musician.

        • Mel says:

          Looking back at the different print media – venture outlets your hubby has indulged in, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has indeed artistic, creative gifts/talents. Once in awhile, you give him a rap. You must be very proud of him. Inggat ka – ang mga mata ng mga henio ay malikot ang mga mata. Heh he heh.

          Haven’t heard that word for a long time – Ouido.

          Most or many artists learn err progress by ear. Slump or Palm placements may be wrong before or on the keys, but the sound by finger ticking may bring semblance to key notes by hand. Hindi mura ang piano lessons, I enrolled for starters just to learn how to read musical piano sheets. The rest I did it myself.

          Kudos Raïssa. I’m glad its over a year since becoming one of your regulars here. More power to both of you.

    • zamera says:

      Piano lessons usually start with the fingerings and basic note reading in kindergarten level. Then you progress to grade 1 and so on. By grade 2 you play some pieces already.

      @Leona – using a keyboard, “do” or “C” is the white key before the 2 black keys, Piano lessons can be fun or boring, depending with the teacher and how much you want to learn playing :)

  12. Hiddendragon says:

    I was lucky enough to have watched this concert, though for me it meant flying in 4 people from Iloilo as a treat to my nieces. Allow me to put in my one cent’s worth of a review (more of the event than the concert).

    A couple of months back, Licad and Salonga / abs-cbn played the Tchaikovsky at Glorietta. For free! When I read Pablo Tariman’s article in the Inquirer a few days alter, I was nearly floored. While yet another Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto might raise eyebrows among, I have never seen one played live before and had told myself I would have flown immedaitely to Manila to watch Licad play it, never mind that it made me upset that I was not invited by the Ayalas (even if I had a BPI account, am a Globe subscriber and owned a shoebox of a Alveo condo! In the article, they let out that it was some sort of a ‘practice’ concert and I felt that was suspiciously indicative of a repeat in a ‘proper’ venue.

    So when the posters came out for this Jun 29 concert, I immediately booked the tickets and the flights, later to find out it wasn’t Tchaikovsky they’re playing but Lizst First and the Totentanz. Less familiar pieces but workhorses still. I was slightly disappointed but the credit card’s been swiped. Well, as everybody agreed that evening, Licad delivered the Lizst superbly and more. She was all poetic fire, pounding on the ivories while running the full length of the keyboard, and letting it sing with intense emotions during its quieter passages. As is her style, there is momentum in her playing, there is immense artistry in her delivery, you just know she loved playing the music as much as she loved playing it for the audience.

    Another pleasant surprise to the evening was Gerard Salonga and the ABS/CBN Orchestra. The web saw some unpleasant comments about Salonga’s non-classical background (i’m not sure how true this is) and an orchestra named after, gasp!, a producer of noontime game shows. Well, this I have to say. Even if Licad wasn’t around, Salonga and his team would have been worth it. Beethoven’s Egmont Overture was done with great skill and delivered with that solemnity and strength that’s appropriate for the piece. A very pleasant surprise. I have seen the PPO a few times, and I dare say they’ve got reason to be worried.

    An anecdote. Licad thanked Irene Marcos for lending her the piano. The CCP doesn’t have one? Granted Imelda built that thing and nurtured the child protege, I am not exactly a fan of the family. Yes, Imelda showed up, and surprisingly stayed four rows from the back. We could put a lot of meaning into this, I just (jokingly, of course) put this to her greatly reduced income after their downfall. She was trying to be discreet but after the concert, the crowds flocked to her to take pictures WITH her. I am wondering what is in the Filipino’s mind that thinks it’s okay to disturb other people this way, a rather unpopular, alleged plunderer at that. If I remember correctly, as we were exiting, Licad was doing her interview on the side of the lobby while Imelda was hogging the limelight at the main lobby under those famous chandeliers.

    All in all, it was a very pleasant evening from excellent artists formerly supported by the Marcoses’ largesse. Who said Philippine society is simple? ;-)

  13. Joe America says:

    Wow, thanks for the introduction to a very talented woman. I checked her biography and was floored by her range and performances and awards. I rather think she is successful because she puts passion into everything, whether whacking the ivories or giving interviews or playing for Mom at lunch (thanks for the snippet, Oca). I’m shamed that I’m writing about emo bands. ahahahaha

    Thanks for the glimpse.

  14. Marithel Luna says:

    Thank you Raissa for the pleasant, animated interview with Cecile Licad. I am thrilled to have seen and heard her upclose during your interview. I am a huge fan! Regards

  15. zamera says:

    Hehehe, it might be a knee length dress, or a floor length gown. Yes, thanks very much Ms Raissa for the video. @Mel, I prefer to describe Ms Licad’s voice as distinct and unique :) I knew another lady though who has a voice similar to hers, and she used to give music lessons.

    • Mel says:

      Excellent keyboard talent coupled with stunning looks, they go hand and hand.

      I’m impressed with Lang Lang’s “The Chopin Album” rendition though.

      With more or less of ‘skin’, Cecil looked great.
      I’m sure she sounded great with her repertoire.

      Wish to meet her someday too.

  16. Omon says:

    Hi Raisa,
    i missed your site due to internet problems. Ive lots to says about injustice here in the south where we have little access to the courts, anyways, its all about land-grabbing in Boracay that were so devastated with, my mother is losing hope.. i need to share this awful truth.

  17. Mel says:

    I think she is a smoker, “She is quite animated … and has a pleasant husky voice.”

    • zamera says:

      I think her voice has been always like that. I do like her gown (assuming it’s a gown, haha). Haay, I admire anyone who had really made music their career and succeeded. You have to be really dedicated to practice long hours almost everyday.

      • raissa says:

        Men.

        Tsk. Tsk.

        • Mel says:

          Ooii, I didn’t say it was flat.

          A Bit of humor lang Cecil.

          You look great and beautiful.

      • Mel says:

        re “I do like her gown (assuming it’s a gown, haha). Haay”

        I like the key of C. Very profound! And startling! Wow ang galing.

        A bit deep err husky o resonant voice, alto.

        hanggang dito na lang. baka kung saan mapunta ang ‘chismis’.

        Thanks Raïssa for sharing the vid.

        • oca gomez says:

          Hi, Raissa. It’s hard not to fawn over Ms. Licad. We’d been fortunate to host her a few years back in my parents’ house. My musician-brother invited Ms. Licad with express instructions to his seven siblings: quiet visit only, please don’t tag along friends (we all violated, naturally). My mother was bold enough to coax her into an impromptu performance of two pieces. Ms. Licad even obliged my mom’s favorite, playing with the same fire and dash she displays in an actual concert, After her finale, she winked at my mom, saying: “I hope that paid for the wonderful lunch!”

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