Artlets Chorale conductor bags top prize in Busan contest

Mark Agpasa in his graduation recital last 2018. (Photo grabbed from Miki Kitma)

THOMASIAN conductor Mark Agpasa bagged the top prize in a composition competition at the Busan Choral Festival & Competition.

Agpasa, the sole Filipino to win in the competition, claimed the top prize for his piece “Jubilate Deo,” a chorale work with a “Southeast Asian music feeling with complex rhythmic patterns” written for 8 voices.

“Traveling around the world [with the UST Singers] really gave me so many ideas for my piece… my inspiration was a mix of western musical structures and Southeast Asian melodic modes, such as the pentatonic scale,” Agpasa said in an online interview with the Varsitarian.

Carlos Cordero of Venezuela placed second with his work “Tota Pulchra es, Maria” and Guilherme Hollanda-Azevedo of Brazil ranked third with his piece “Ocean of Illusions.”

Agpasa has been an assistant musical director for the UST Singers since 2014 and the conductor and musical director for the AB Chorale since 2015.

He graduated from the Conservatory of Music in 2018 with a degree in choral conducting.

“I’m proud to represent a country of such rich culture… even if we aren’t a first world country, we should be proud of our heritage, our musical heritage at the least.” Agpasa said.

The annual competition saw 56 participants from 29 countries this year.


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