What an amazing week this has been! I landed last Saturday morning and was picked up by a chauffeur, Oscar in a BMW as I was being hosted by the Ambassador of Chile, Roberto Mayorga and his family. The Ambassador graciously greeted me when I arrived at 6am at his house. We chatted a bit and he mentioned that he was going to visit an orphanage at 10am. Even though I had just landed and I was on a different time zone altogether, I never pass an opportunity to bring music to an orphanage. So later that morning he and his lovely wife, Paulina, whisked me off to the site and I played for them. What a moving experience! The girls were such an appreciative audience!!! They even sang for me!!! Their bright smiles and generous enthusiasm simply made my day.
The Ambassador of Chile in Philippines lives in a spectacular mansion. I felt most honored to be staying as their guest. The house staff and the Ambassador’s family made me feel more than welcome. Mangos for breakfast lunch and dinner were a particular treat for me. The entire household made sure the kitchen was fully stocked with these delicious fruits at all times! The breakfast nook came complete with waterfall and koi pond. I was in HEAVEN. My practice room was
the Ambassador’s elegant dinning room usually occupied by Heads of State and other Diplomatic Officials. What a treat and what terrific acoustics. Last but not least, were the nightly massages that were provided. The Filipino culture has a huge massage component and the massages are super affordable for the foreigners. Since I grew up in body casts and I continue to have physical challenges, I really need a massage every night. And finally I have found a haven where I can have two hour massages every night and not feel like I’ve spent my entire earnings to do so.
I spent my week rehearsing with the orchestra and teaching Masterclasses. The first class was for the Filipino Youth Orchestra flute students which included the 10 year old sensation Jon Jon. The Filipino Youth Orchestra is gracefully managed by the wonderful pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz. The second Masterclass was organized by Marie Poblete, flutist of the Philippines Philharmonic, and took place in the Green Room of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. All the students were wonderful at showcasing their talents and love towards the flute.
Working with Maestro Olivier Ochanine was definitely the highlight of this trip. His energetic, magnanimous, and kind spirit make for a supremely engaging and inspiring musical director. His leadership makes Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra sound like a dream. Maestro Ochanine really knows how to bring to the stage the passionate Filipino nature. And this essence is not only beautiful and enchanting but also wonderfully contagious.
I felt overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the Filipino public. Thank you for the standing ovations and for wanting to hear not just one but TWO encores! I thoroughly enjoyed bringing the Percusssion Section (thank you Leo, Gomer, Ding Dong, Amy) to the front of the stage during my Flutes of the World presentation. And a special shout out goes to the Flute Section (thank you Hercules, Gary, Marie). Maestro Ochanine and the orchestra’s Tchaikovsky and Liszt were fantastic as well as the Dukas Fanfare that opened the concert.
All in all, I sadly now leave this beautiful country and it’s gorgeous people. I have been deeply touched by so many individuals during my stay here. Thank you to everyone. Salamat Po!!!!!