Saturday, 28 April 2012

Missing Those Cherry Blossoms?

I wasn't able to run to Yeouido to see those cherry blossoms. I didn't want to go to there as I was sure a million other people would be heading there to see the blossoms, too. I thought of going up Namsan, which was near and had the same cherry blossom trail.
But last weekend, when those millions of cherry blossom fans were about to head to Yeouido by bus, by subway or by car, the clouds opened up and had their own rainy show.
But this weekend, when the sun's out, there may no longer be any cherry blossoms left to enjoy. Those petals have wilted and fallen.
There's always the next spring, you know.

Monday, 16 April 2012

White. Cherry. Blossoms. Spring.

A few trees along the street have turned white. Must be the time of the year.

This time last year, those trees have attracted millions. This year, maybe more.

From Yeouido's cherry blossom lane, to Namsan's cherry blossom walks, I expect those millions to fill the parks, the streets and of course, the mountain!  Day and night!

I am not sure if I can squeeze into those crowds again. But I can try.
        (A photo I took today. They must just have bloomed.)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

My Muffin Fix!

With all the work and long nights in the office, I couldn't find the time to rush to Costco.  And finally, over the Lenten weekend, a window of opportunity to rush to Mang-u Station and sprint across the street, and into the spacious halls of Costco, where the air is deodorized with the freshly-baked pepperoni pizza.

Finally, I descended upon the baked goodies section and claim  a whole pack of a dozen muffins that even the 12 apostles would have fought over for. 

Lent over. Fasting done with. Muffins on hand (and eventually, in my tummy).

Friday, 13 April 2012

Itaewon Is Still...

As I got out of my office building on a late night again, April showers were all over the city and the temperatures dropped again.  Though drizzling, the night offers a lot of cabs, and hailing one wasn't a problem.

I asked the cab driver to pass through Itaewon on our way to Hannam-dong, my neighborhood. And looking through the window, I saw a few shadows under the street lights.

A cool evening. Wet roads. Itaewon was quiet and still...

Monday, 2 April 2012

A Pinoy At The 2012 Seoul International Music Competition

Thanks to Mr. Fausto of the Philippine Embassy, I learned that there was  a Filipino competing at a music competition in Korea. And thanks to Mrs. Corazon Kabayao, the wife of the renowned Philippine violin Maestro Gilopez Kabayao, I learned that Mr. Jimmy Tagala, Jr. will represent the Philippines at the 2012 Seoul International Music Competition in April 2012.

The Seoul International Music Competition has been held almost every year, and each year, the competition rotates its categories: violin, piano and voice.  And the  category for 2012 is violin!

I am posting Jimmy’s biography (courtesy of Mrs. Kabayao), where you can read about this very young Filipino violin prodigy.

Jimmy Tagala, Jr. is acknowledged as one of the Philippines’ young violin virtuosos notwithstanding a considerably late start at the age of 12. He won First place at the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), Violin Category B at 14, barely after a year under the tutelage of the Philippines’ violin virtuoso and pedagogue Gilopez Kabayao, besting older contestants in his category.  At 15, Jimmy was the youngest among 100 young musicians from Asia who were accepted to join the 2006 Asian Youth Orchestra in its concert tour of 6 Asian countries. The following year, at 16, Jimmy gave his solo debut concert with a performance of the Beethoven and Khachaturian concertos to critical success.  This initial success was followed in 2008 with his first full solo recital, at 17, featuring a program of Bach, Beethoven, Ysaye, Paganini, Bruch and Sarasate, again, to critical and public acclaim.  His inclusion as part of the European tour of the Kabayao Family Quintet in 2009 was a welcome addition to the success of the Philippine musical delegation in promoting the musical gifts and virtuosity of Filipino artists in the field of classical music. At the recently concluded 2011 NAMCYA competitions, Jimmy won First Place, Violin Category C, the highest and the only prize awarded for this category.  He will be one of the featured soloists of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at the CCP on August 8, 2012, together with two other first prize winners of the 2011 NAMCYA competitions.

Jimmy Tagala is seriously building a solid violin repertoire under the tutelage of Prof. Gilopez Kabayao, preparing himself for his next solo concerts and even for further musical studies in other countries.  He is also being prepared for possible inclusion in international violin competitions as well as in music festivals that would focus his musical growth in the interpretation of standard works for the violin. Presently, Jimmy is pursuing a Diploma Course in Violin at the St. Scholastica College of Music in Manila.  The critics have this to say:

   “A stunning debut for teen violinist…Tagala showed great intelligence and ability in the Khachaturian concerto where the focus was virtuosity.”              --- Philippine Star 

  “Jimmy Tagala’s debut is a marvelous augury of his future.  He showed maturity beyond his years.  Further, he displayed, besides inherent musicality, the keenest musical intelligence and a musicianship . . . a virtuoso-in the making.” ---    Philippine Star  

  “For one so young, he displayed musical sophistication and unique sensitivity in his interpretation of the two masterpieces…and he did it amazingly, one after another, something rarely done even by the world’s great virtuosos.”                       ---   Malaya

I found a few of Jimmy’s performance on Youtube and I’m posting one uploaded by xebetan:

I would like to invite my kababayans in Seoul to lend support to Jimmy and to the Kabayaos while they’re in Seoul. The first round of the competition starts on April 18, 2012, at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-gu.

Good luck to Jimmy and to his mentor, Maestro Gilopez Kabayao!