Going for the Gold: 50th Anniversary Outreach Concert Tour of the Philippine Madrigal Singers-A A +A
By Betsy Gazo
Saturday, January 12, 2013
MUSIC lovers, mark the date! January 22, Tuesday, is the day when the Philippine Madrigal Singers regales us once more with their unique singing style. Madrigal is a “polyphonic and challenging musical style popular during the Renaissance period where singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet to sight-sing and make music together.”
The Madz, as the Philippine Madrigal Singers is lovingly called, is a frequent visitor to Bacolod but each performance is different from the one before it. This is because every group may have different singers making it up each time. These singers are students, alumni and faculty members of the University of the Philippines.
Since its founding in 1963 by Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, a National Artist for Music, over 200 pedagogues have been part of this multi-awarded UNESCO Artists for Peace. This honor was conferred on the Madz in July 27, 2009 for “putting fame and influence at the service of UNESCO’s ideals and efforts to promote cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace”.
Almost five decades since its establishment, countless honors, awards and accolades have been showered on the Madz. There is the Guidoneum Award by Concorso Polifonico Guido d’ Arezzo Foundation “their artistic and choral promotion activity”.
The group became, In July 2012, the first choir in the world to receive The Brand Laureate Premier Award from the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, in recognition for its “significant contribution to the world of choral music, producing new compositions and choral settings for Philippine, Asian and International songs, spreading the beauty of this genre and giving a good musical experience to the audience.”
Doors opened for The Madz after a critically acclaimed performance at the Lincoln Center in New York in 1969 during the First Choruses of the World Festival. This enabled them to join distinguished international choral competitions in Austria (in Spittal), Italy (in Arezzo and Gorizia), Switzerland (in Neuchatel), Hungary (Debrecen), Bulgaria (Varna), Spain (Tolosa) and Germany (Marktoberdorf). The Madz won all the top prizes.
The Philippine Madrigal Singers came home in June 1997 from their ninth world concert tour after having won the grand prize in the Grand Prix European de Chant Choral Competition in Tours, France, besting five other grand prize winners of the most prestigious choral competition in Europe: Guido d'Arezzo, Italy; Debrecen, Hungary; Varna, Bulgaria; Gorizia, Italy; and Tolosa, Spain.
The Madz displayed a virtuoso performance so moving one juror had to describe the group's music as the "most beautiful sound on earth".
To date, The Philippine Madrigal Singers hold the distinction of being the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (1997 and 2007).
According to its profile, “the ensemble performs a wide repertoire of various styles and forms: renaissance music, classical music, Filipino and international folksongs, contemporary and avant-garde music, opera and even popular music. Their specialization and focus on the madrigal idiom has inspired their unique set-up of singing while seated in a semi-circle, without a conductor.”
The prestigious chorale has produced a most outstanding choirmaster in the person of Mark Anthony Carpio who is recognized as one of the foremost choral music experts of his day.
“As the choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, he leads the group through its disciplined regular rehearsals and hectic calendar of performances.”
A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Music with a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano cum laude in 1992, he soon returned to his alma mater as a faculty member of the Piano Department. He also joined the renowned UP Madrigal Singers. He started out as a tenor, continued to grow in skill and dedication and is now a faculty member of the college’s Choral Conducting Department.
Professor Veneracion herself chose Mr. Carpio to succeed her as the choirmaster in 2001. Under him, the Madz garnered successes i.e., first prizes in the Habanera and Polyphony categories in the Certámen Internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia (Torrevieja, Spain, 2004), the Grand Prix in the 35th Florilege Vocal de Tours, France (2006), and the Grand Prize in the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (Arrezo, Italy, 2007).
Hear the Philippines’ pride once more at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center at 7:00 in the evening. Tickets may be bought at the Negros Museum at P1,000, P500, P300, and P150. Let the Philippine Madrigal Singers either lighten your hearts or bring tears to your eyes with their priceless world-class talent.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 13, 2013.