An evening with Cecile Licad’s musicality in New York City

by Marilyn Abalos

Cecile Licad | Photo courtesy of Piano Evenings with David Dubal Website

NEW YORK – Filipinos, fans, and friends enjoyed a wonderful evening of the musicality of Filipino pianist Cecile Licad in New York City on Friday, December 10th. Presented by Piano Evenings with David Dubal, Cecile played Samuel Barber, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Amy Beach, Louis Gruenberg, and Frederic Chopin at the Grace and St. Paul’s Church in Upper Manhattan.

The Rachmaninoff Preludes were especially enjoyable while the audience had fun with Cecile in the varied renditions of Chopin’s Scherzo, Waltz, and Ballade, along with Louis Gruenberg’s Jazz Masks based on Chopin’s Waltz Op. 63. No 2.

Elvira Tengco said, “The Rachmaninoff was gorgeous…beautiful. It was just a wonderful performance.” Her friend, Marie Alvarez, gushed, “I am so amazed! She is so strong!”

“We really had a good time,” said Cecile’s personal friend, Aveline, who brought Curtis Institute’s Dr. Elle Reinoso recently from Manila to move to New York. “She’s so good!” exclaimed Dr. Reinoso, who heard her for the first time.

Similarly, Jay Symon, a pianist studying in New York who has followed Cecile online. “She’s one of the best Filipino pianists. It’s so nice to see her here finally. It’s great.”

Cecile Licad’s guests at her recital (left to right): Dr. Elle Reinoso, Aveline, Cecile, and Jay Symon | Contributed Photo

Touted as “A pianist’s pianist,” Cecile is considered the foremost Philippine pianist of our time. She has shone brightly in solo literature, chamber works, and as a soloist in concerti throughout the world. Her teacher, the great Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute, said that “Cecile Licad has an incredible instinct for all kinds of music and seems equally at home in any style.”

She began her piano studies at the age of three and made her debut as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila at age seven. At twelve, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia admitted her to study with Rudolf Serkin, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and Seymour Lipkin. She was a regular visitor at Marlboro, where she often played duet literature with Mieczyslaw Horszowski.

Cecile launched her international career in 1981 by receiving the prestigious Leventritt Award gold medal. Since then, Cecile has been among the most traveled pianists in the world and has appeared as a soloist with many of the most important orchestras, including the Boston, Chicago, London, and National symphonies, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York Philharmonic, and major orchestras of Germany, Japan, and Russia.

Her appearances as a chamber artist include collaborations with some of the most celebrated instrumentalists of our time, including violinist Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, cellist Alban Gerhardt, pianist Peter Serkin, and jazz great Wynton Marsalis (in the Dan Pritzker file Louis), among many others. She has appeared with the Guarneri, Takacs, and other leading string quartets.

Her recent CDs of American piano music on the Danacord label have garnered extraordinary reviews worldwide. Her recent recording with Danacord is Gershwin’s complete piano and orchestra works. For more information and copies of Cecile’s recent CDs, contact maeclips@aol.com Subject Cecile Licad CDs.

Piano Evenings with David Dubal is an educational concert series exploring 300 years of the piano repertoire hosted by legendary pianist, author, broadcaster, and cultural commentator David Dubal. In addition to Mr. Dubal’s commentary, each class features live performances by leading young pianists. The Spring 2022 semester will begin in February 2022. Classes are held weekly on Tuesday evenings during the academic calendar from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Grace and St. Paul’s Church. Piano Evenings with David Dubal is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. For more information visit, www. piano evening.com.

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