Multi-awarded piano virtuoso Raul Sunico is well-known for his delicate capturing of Filipino music, be it the classical kundiman and people songs or modern and pop compositions.
Through his recordings of acquainted music and common appearances, he has made the artwork of the piano extra accessible to the uninitiated.
Unknown to many, he is the one pianist on the earth to have carried out the 4 piano concertos of Sergei Rachmaninoff in a single night time. In the previous, these technically difficult concertos can be shared with different virtuosos in a single live performance.
How did Sunico handle the feat?
“No special exercise. I studied fast—that helped a lot,” he says. “I’d practice two to there hours a day only since I have work at UST.”
Sunico has been the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president since 2009, and a college member of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music.
The Italian authorities and Embassy not too long ago honored Sunico by conferring on him the Commendatore (Commander) of the Order of the Star of Italy, an award granted to Italian expats and foreigners who’ve strengthened ties between Italy and the host nation. The Commendatore is a pair of ranks above knighthood.
“I may have eaten more pizzas,” mentioned Sunico in jest when he accepted his award, held on the residence of the Italian ambassador. Most of the friends got here from the cultural sector.
Sunico’s affiliation with Italy dates again to 1979 when he gained a silver medal within the Viotti International Piano Competition and was a finalist on the Busoni International Piano Competition. Both tilts had been geared toward younger pianists who had been gearing for a world profession.
As CCP president, he has collaborated with Italian ambassadors on a number of tasks, such because the Italian National Day;
Italian opera productions (“Barber of Seville,” “La Traviata,” “Tosca”); live shows for Italian artists corresponding to legendary violinist Uto Ughi; and movie festivals.
One of the highlights of CCP’s partnership with the Italian Embassy throughout Ambassador Massimo Roscigno’s time period was the celebration of the 200th birthday of Italy’s best Romantic opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, with a gala live performance and an exhibit in 2013. The following 12 months, Sunico mounted Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” which is hardly ever produced within the Philippines because of stiff manufacturing prices.
Another of Sunico’s vital contributions was to usher in a Fazioli Pianoforti, a premium model of hand-built pianos made in northeast Italy. Created by an Italian engineer and pianist, the Fazioli has develop into the live performance grand piano of selection for many artists for its sound perfection and easy keys.
Sunico first encountered the Fazioli when he held a solo live performance on the Sydney Townhall in 1995, then in Amsterdam six years in the past. The expertise of gliding by the keys and listening to the sounds blossom to their highest qualities left him speechless.
As an artist, he batted to get the instrument for CCP.
“I had to defend the purchase in Congress and the Department of Budget because it was part of our capital expenditure. I justified it (by saying that) the concert hall needed new pianos. The CCP hadn’t acquired new pianos. The concert pianos need to be of top caliber,” says Sunico.
The Fazioli was “baptized” by the Italian ambassador’s brother, Fermo Roscigno, a live performance pianist who had carried out with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2016.
Sunico’s credentials are spectacular. Aside from graduating cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Music, he additionally holds a bachelor’s diploma in Mathematics and a grasp’s diploma in Statistics.
Under a scholarship from former First Lady Imelda Marcos, he completed his postgraduate research in music from the Juilliard School in New York. To pursue his live performance profession, he acquired a Phd, main in Piano Performance, from New York University.
Asked about his influences, Sunico is unable to level to a selected determine however says he admires Russian-American classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz, remembered for his pyrotechnics and transcending the piano’s limitations; and Polish artist Krystian Zimerman, recognized for his finesse and extensive dynamic vary.
Now on his eighth 12 months as CCP head honcho, Sunico has saved the music scene alive by reviving full-length opera tasks after a protracted spell, and launching off-site video screenings of the Metropolitan Opera.
He has additionally organized festivals for symphony and jazz bands, and continued to welcome international singers and pianists to CCP.
Sunico describes his administration model as “relaxed,” since he trusts the managers of every division. He says he’ll proceed sharing his expertise whereas overseeing the rise of new efficiency theaters on the CCP Complex. More than constructing the , he’s trying to the longer term.
“We hope to develop young talents who will be the musical leaders of tomorrow,” he says.—CONTRIBUTED