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!


  1. I'm proud that a Filipino was accepted in the Seoul International Music Competition. Go Jimmy and Prof. Kabayao. Take home the prize! Good luck!

  2. I think he has talent, but lacks refinement, and discipline. He needs to mentored by a new teacher, preferably in the USA or Europe. While his teacher, Mr Kabayao, is good, he is too old-schooled and displays what I consider Filipino mentallity of fiddle playing. Overseas, he could be exposed to first-rate muscicians and learn the nuances of the Western tradition in music playing. The fact that the "best Filipino young violinist" is eliminated in the first round speaks volumes.

    1. Just to get the record straight - try if you can even make it to the preliminary round wherein 78 applied from 26 countries, only 33 made it to the first and actual round in Korea and Jimmy was one of them - in fact the only Filipino violinist who has made it to an international competition of such high calibre! First round - 4 movements of the Bach Solo, 2 Paganini Caprices! If his teacher, Mr. Kabayao was able to get Jim to represent the Philippines despite the non support of the government, Jim playing on a $1,000 dollar violin yet still can catch the attention of the Koreans - then he must have done something right! Try mo nga???? Baka preliminary, wala ka na! Check out Jimmy's co-competitors, winners of this and that competitions for years in abroad, nakasama pa si Jimmy - I dare you to look for a teacher who can get someone to play at Jimmy's level - solo recitals, concerts, reviews and competitions! Nuances and the only violinist who was able to get an invitation to audition at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia at the age of 15.

  3. whengagagasramos26 April 2012 at 12:29

    I'm always proud of you JimJim, I am so happy that I experienced being one of your teachers when you we're still here in AUPAcademy. Despite of your busy schedule back then, you still manage to go to school. I cannot forget your sweet, yet humble smile. Congratulations to you and God bless! AUP Academy and the whole Adventist Community is proud of you!

  4. Im still very proud of Jimjim.. No matter what other people said he has been a really good young talented Man. I have always been proud of him.