Filipino youth orchestra places 2nd in Vienna music fest


By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

Filipino classical musicians placed second, “with outstanding success,” at the string orchestra category of the Summa Cum Laude (SCL) International Youth Music Festival in Vienna, Austria last July 8.

The Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra (MSJO), under conductor Jeffrey Solares, is composed of musicians between the ages of nine and 21 from all over the country. The group was established in 2014.

Thirty-five ensembles from all over the world participated in the festival but only six qualified for the competition. The MSJO was pitted against groups from Taiwan (first and third place), Australia (fourth and fifth place) and Denmark (Special award for development of string culture).

The 11th SCL Festival was held at the famous Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. “The entire building was a veritable temple for classical music,” Solares said.

“The acoustics made you feel you are so brilliant and you don’t want to stop playing at all.”

The children’s 25-minute program included Mozart’s Divertimento in D, Bartok’s Romanian folk dances, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, as well as Ryan Cayabyab’s “Ondoy Ondoy,” composed especially for the MSJO.

Aside from the Vienna competition, the MSJO also performed in Salzburg. They will have concerts and workshops in Prague in Czechoslovakia and Munich, Germany.

In preparation for their European trip, the MSJO held a series of fund-raising activities at the Insular Life Auditorium in Alabang, Manila House in Taguig, the Ayala Museum in Makati and in Ayala malls. They also gathered funds through crowdfunding site

Speaking on his commitment to mentoring the children, Solares said: “The focus of our music development efforts is youth development, people development. We want to help raise the level of classical music performance among young Filipino. What we try to sell are goods for the spirit, things that nurture the soul.”