Conservatory of Music student Victor Jan Torres bags the first prize in the violin category of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) on Nov. 23, where 12 Thomasian musicians earned awards in their respective competitions. (Photo grabbed from the NAMCYA Facebook page)

TWELVE Thomasian musicians garnered awards in the 50th edition of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA), held from Nov. 21 to 26 at the Metropolitan Theater in Manila.

Conservatory of Music alumni Pauline Aguila and Jann Minn Mendoza, and student Victor Jan Torres, topped the final rounds of their respective competitions. 

Aguila, a piano performance graduate, played the pieces “Pauli-Uli” by Bernardino Custodio and Piano Concerto in D Minor by Juan Hernandez, to bag the first prize in the piano category. 

“Making it through the finals was my goal in joining NAMCYA again,” Aguila told the Varsitarian. “The last time I joined the competition back in 2016, I got through the semi-finals only. So when it came to the announcement of winners, I was very surprised.”

Music alumna Mendoza played Concerto for Viola and Orchestra by Béla Bartók in the final round of the lower strings competition. 

“That [winning] moment was not just a personal achievement, but a celebration of collective effort and support from [my] mentors and my fellow musicians,” Mendoza said. 

Torres, who won first place in the violin competition, performed Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16 by Sergei Prokofiev and Gilopez Kabayao’s arrangement of “Mutya ng Pasig” by Nicanor Abelardo.

“Preparing for the competition was very intense,” Torres told the Varsitarian. “It demanded dedication and discipline, mixing technical precision with artistic interpretation.”

“[This] recognition affirmed years of hard work and dedication, creating a sense of accomplishment.” he added. “It’s a precious milestone, inspiring me to continue evolving as a musician.” 

Thomasian artists dominated the lower strings category along with Mendoza, with music alumnus Rei Francia winning second prize, music senior Clartrome Jacalan placing third, and music student Justin Vincent Talusan given an honorable mention. 

Music alumni and students also reaped awards in the violin competition, with music alumnus Alain de Asis bagging second prize and the award for the best interpretation of the contest piece, music senior Ian Levi Mora placing third, and music student Ghio Esteban given an honorable mention. 

Another music alumnus, Michael Angelo Valenciano, won the piano competition, bagging the second prize and award for the best interpretation of the contest piece. 

Music alumna and former UST Symphony Orchestra member Cyrel Lobarbio ranked third in the woodwinds category, while vocal performance student Mica Becerro was given an honorable mention in the voice competition. 

Founded in 1973, NAMCYA is the country’s most prestigious competition for young musicians. 

This year, it also staged local and international concerts, festivals, music camps, and workshops to celebrate its 50th anniversary. 

A concert featuring first-prize winners was staged on Nov. 26. Michelle A. Agustin


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