The Philippines is the home to some of the best Orchestra in the world. The Filipinos are known for their unique talents and creative ability. Here are some of the best and leading symphony orchestra in the Philippines.
Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra ( PPO)
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), they are the Philippines leading symphony orchestra, and they are currently the resident company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s Director is Yoshikazu Fukumura. Yoshikazu Fukumura, a leading conductor in Japan, has enjoyed dividing his time between conducting orchestras across Asia and throughout Latin America over the last 40 years.
The first music director was Luis Valencia together with Julian Quirit serving as the concertmaster. Through Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines during that time, the group was reorganized as an ensemble and was called the ” Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra”, with the goal of becoming a world-class symphony orchestra.
They are the busiest orchestra in the country with an all year round schedule for concert that usually starts in September and ends in April, and regular performances in the San Agustin International Music Festival, while doing community outreach at the same time. The group has already collaborated with the likes of Lea Salonga, Renata Tebaldi, Judith Engel, Piero Gamba, Yaacov Bergman, Cecile Licad, Martin Nievera, Jireh Lim, Freestyle, Anthony Camden, Regine Velasquez, and David Benoit. This orchestra in the Philippines has already toured in Europe and participated in the Asia Orchestra Week at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. They also played in cooperation with the Embassy of the Philippines in Bangkok and the Ministry Culture of Thailand.
2. Manila Philharmonic Orchestra
The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra is a versatile orchestra, it was founded in 1998 and offers innovative music. The group continues to evolve. To date, they already held more than 500 concerts and have partnered with more than 100 companies. Manila Philharmonic Orchestra has already partnered with Ingrid Sala Santa Maria, Aileen Chanco, Cecile Licad, violinists Chebotareva, Alexander Tumescu and Oscar Yatco ; conductors Eduardo Browne, Mark Kadin, Dmitri Liss just to name a few. Adding to its distinguished roster is the triumphant concert with Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli. It was once in a lifetime privilege for MPO to be the chosen orchestra to perform with him in Manila, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
On the classical concert side, a major career highlight for the MPO was its participation in the 2013 Asia Orchestra Week held in Tokyo, Japan. The MPO was specially handpicked by the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestra of Japan and The Southern Sinfonia of New Zealand. A festival of classical music, this concert celebrated the rich cultural diversity that the Asia-Pacific region has to offer.
Prior to the orchestra’s travel to Japan, the MPO staged a successful send-off concert at the CCP entitled “Journey: A Classical Concert” as its way of thanking its supporters and sponsors here in the Philippines. The audience was treated to a preview of the repertoire in the Asia Orchestra Week. The program included pieces by Redentor Romero, Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, and Sergei Rachmaninov.
MPO continues its mission to adhere to the orchestra’s tradition of excellence to primarily educate and inculcate skills and knowledge in music-making and produce future musicians. The group has partnered with charitable institutions such as Cerebral Palsy, Gawad Kalinga, Bantay Bata, and CENTEX. Another great project is “From the Streets to Concert Halls” which gives scholarships to MPO kids. The orchestra also assisted the fund-raising concert of San Pablo Apostol Parish in Tondo, Manila on December 2013 for its parish re-construction.
3. ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra
The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra is a Filipino orchestra based in Manila. It was founded in 2012 with financial support from ABS-CBN and First Philippine Holdings. It is composed of 40 instrumentalists. The orchestra’s musical director and conductor is Gerard Salonga.
The official debut of ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra was on July 20, 2012 in a concert held at the Dolphy theater. The orchestra played some classical pieces and some musical score of Filipino films.Its first major public debut was on the “Icons at the Arena” concert at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on July 16, 2012. The orchestra played some of the most recognized film scores of the American composer John Williams in its first solo concert, “The Magic of John Williams” on September 2, 2012 at the Meralco Theater. In 2013, due to public demand, the orchestra repeated their concert “The Magic of John Williams” on February 23 held also at the Meralco Theatre. The orchestra has played alongside Andrea Bocelli, Idina Menzel, Lea Salonga, Lisa Macuja, Ballet Philippines, Ballet Manila, Joanna Ampil, Jose Mari Chan, Ogie Alcasid, Martin Nievera, Pilita Corrales, Louie Ocampo, Ryan Cayabyab, Basil Valdez, Rey Valera, Christian Bautista, Janella Salvador, Jona, and Xian Lim among many others.
4. Banda Kawayan Pilipinas
Banda Kawayan Pilipinas (Bamboo Band Philippines) is a unique ensemble of young, talented performers utilizing musical instruments fashioned out of bamboo and other indigenous materials.
The group traces its roots from a school-based group established in 1973 by then Philippine College of Commerce (PCC) Laboratory High School principal Gloria R. Talastas and faculty member Prof. Siegfredo B. Calabig. The PCC was eventually renamed Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the group has since been known as PUP Banda Kawayan until 2013, when the group celebrated its 40th Anniversary.
In its desire to expand membership and ultimately pursue its revitalized mission and vision, the group registered as a private, non-stock, non-profit cultural organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 28, 2014.
Banda Kawayan Pilipinas regularly performs in public and private functions and events all over the Philippines and overseas. It shares its wide array of repertoire with the general public, members of the diplomatic corps, tourists and balikbayans (overseas-based Filipinos returning to their homeland). It also participates in various functions and events at the Malaca¤an Palace, as well as events organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the group’s other valued patrons and supporters.
Its unique musical style has taken the group to international expositions, music festivals and concert tours in Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia to promote Philippine culture and tourism and to serve as ambassadors of goodwill. Showcasing its talents, the band has proven time and again that music knows no boundaries.
5. Manila Symphony Orchestra
The Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is one of the first orchestras in Asia, established by Viennese conductor Alexander Lippay in 1926.
For over 90 years, the MSO has witnessed political, cultural, and economic movements that changed the nation. So much so, it could be said that Philippine History is the MSO’s history.
While the MSO is a storied institution—for decades being the country’s only professional symphony orchestra—it seeks today to be the orchestra of the people by devoting its resources to an annual Gala Concert Season, Rush Hour Concerts, outreach performances, and its burgeoning MSO Music Academy. The groundwork is laid for a national community of like-minded artists, philanthropists, institutions, and patrons. Its Mission,
To enrich the Filipino’s vibrant cultural life through fine music and to allow more people to experience the power of music. We will perform within the highest international standards and present music in a fresh, spirited, and entertaining way.
The MSO is a private, non-stock, non-profit organization, which operates without government subsidy. To achieve its Mission, it harnesses the power of people who share in the love of fine music and who similarly believe in its power to effect social transformation. Developing the Filipino potential is integral to its Vision,
To become an orchestra that meets the highest international standards of excellence in performance and repertoire; we aim to become an orchestra of major cultural focus, a source of national pride, and a vital contributor to the appreciation and enjoyment of music by people from all walks of life.
As the reputation of the Asia’s first symphony orchestra grows, its concert calendar glows with top local and international artists as guests. And one day, today’s musicians and students—trained from within and exposed to the best in the world—will wow tomorrow’s global audience, ensuring the MSO’s legacy as an orchestra that has withstood the test of time.