AS WITH every year, the Conservatory of Music’s 28th Sampung Mga Daliri Atbp.featured performances from home grown talents that spotlighted ten mainstay grand pianos onstage; but this time around, Thomasians also shared the limelight with foreign guest, Polish pianist Lech Napierala,at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ TanghalangNicanorAbelardo (Main Theater) last March 11.

A Vienna-based virtuoso, Napierala performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist, and regularly holds concerts in Austria, France, Germany, Czech Republic, and Bulgaria. For this year’s Sampung Mga Daliri Atbp., he played two pieces by Frederic Chopin titled, “Impromptu in F Sharp Major Op. 36” and “Polonaise in F Sharp Minor Op. 44.”

“It was a nice experience and I’m very happy being here. It’s my first time in Asia and I’m in love with the place,” Napierala said.

The pianist also said that he was amazed with the quality of the Conservatory’s training for its students.

“I think it’s very impressive. I’ve heard some of the singers before and the students are wonderful, as well as the concert. I think there’s a big future for Philippine music,” he said.

The concert featured several performances by students, faculty members, and alumni. Its program was divided into 12 segments, which showcased the integration of diverse musical sets and the playing of the ten grand pianos.

“10 Fingers” repertoire

Sampung Mga Daliri Atbp.opened with the Philippine National Anthem followed by the UST hymn, which were performed by students of the Piano Department along with the Conservatory’s chorus classes, the Liturgikon Vocal ensemble, the Coro Tomasino, and the UST Symphony Orchestra.

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The introduction was followed by the piano faculty’s rendition of the classic piece, “Blue Danube” accompanied by the UST Symphony Orchestra.

Students from the Piano Department then took the stage with various instrumental groups such as the Rondalla Ensemble, the UST Jazz Band, the UST Wind Orchestra, and the USTemundo.

One of the notable performances during the concert was ten piano students’ and the UST Jazz Band’s version of “Begin the Beguine” by C. Porter. Conservatory of Music alumnus Emy Munji arranged the piece and also served as the number’s soloist. The piece’s big band sound was accentuated by intricate percussion.

Another crowd favorite was a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” by 20 piano students and the UST Wind Orchestra.

Meanwhile, the new world music piece by recent graduate Kaan Bautista left audiences at the edge of their seats with its raw, atonal flair. The number featured several ethnic instruments, whose sounds were ingeniously merged with students’ piano-playing.

What delighted the audience most was the finale of Sampung Mga Daliri Atbp., which was the same performance Conservatory students lead during the quadricentennial event, 40,000 Voices for UST. The performance was a medley of religious songs, Filipino songs, and pop songs from ‘70s group, ABBA.

For many years now, Sampung Mga Daliri Atbp.has served as Conservatory students’ inspiration to do better in their craft.

“By now, this unique event has become a signature showcase of the UST Conservatory of Music featuring a whole program of pieces performed on ten pianos, mostly in ensemble with various vocal and instrumental groups,” wrote Conservatory of Music Dean Raul Sunico, in his message for the event.

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