Krystian called again to ask if I could do Rachmaninoff Symphony 2 op 27, instead of Brahms 2. Let’s do that.”
The message came the night before we were to host the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) press conference, and I was still finalizing the press release that we would be handing out to our media friends.
In my stressed mind, I questioned who Krystian was. Until I realized the new music director and principal conductor of the PPO, Maestro Grzegorz Nowak, was referring to Krystian Zimerman, the Polish concert pianist and conductor who is often described as one of the greatest pianists of his generation.
Yes, The Zimerman is coming to Manila to perform with the PPO, under the baton of Maestro Nowak on February 9, 2024. The celebrity pianist will take center stage in Concert VI – Piano Rapture. Maestro Nowak conducts Stanislaw Moniuszko’s “The Fairy Tale Overture,” Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto no. 4, op.58, G major,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2 op. 27.” Zimerman will also hold two special performances on February 14 and 16, performing and conducting a chamber ensemble.
The Zimerman concert is part of the 39th concert season of the PPO, and also part of its 50th founding anniversary.
With the theme “Switch,” the concert season sets the stage for Maestro Nowak to lead the country’s premier orchestra to new heights starting with Concert I – Roman Carnival on September 15, 7:30 p.m. Featuring guest performer, pianist Mark Bebbington, the PPO will perform Hector Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival,” Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto, op. 16, A minor,” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Pini di Roma.”
Have some Italian Night in Concert II on October 13, 7:30 p.m., with a program featuring a commissioned Filipino work, Antonin Dvořák’s “Cello Concerto,” and PPO playing Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony no. 4, op.90, A major” (“Italian”). PPO will be performing with guest performer cellist Wen-Sinn Yang.
Maestro Nowak and the PPO pay homage to Russian Masters in Concert III on November 17, 7:30 p.m. The program will be: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin: Polonaise, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 2, op.18, C minor,” and Serge Prokofiev’s “Romeo & Juliet” (selections). Pianist Nikolay Khozyainov is the guest performer.
Usher in the holiday spirit with Concert IV – Ode to Joy on December 8, 7:30 p.m., with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Piano Concerto no. 21, K 467, C major” and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony no. 9, op.125, D minor.” Filipino pianist and former CCP president Raul Sunico will perform with the PPO.
Welcome the new year with Concert V – Fate on January 12, 2024, 7:30 p.m., with PPO performing another commissioned Filipino work, Johannes Brahms’s “Piano Concerto no. 1, op. 15, D minor” and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4, op.36, F minor.” Pianist Jerome Rose will be the soloist.
Experience the magic of opera in Concert VII – Don Pasquale on March 8, 2024, 7:30 p.m., with Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale,” a semi-staged opera performance, to be conducted by Maestro Nowak.
The PPO’s 39th concert season culminates with Concert VIII – Fete Francaise on April 19, 2024, 7:30 p.m., featuring a commissioned Filipino work, Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Introduction & Rondo capriccioso, op. 28” and Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis & Chloé, Suites 1 & 2.” Violinist Diomedes Saraza will be the guest performer.
The PPO also switches venues, from Metropolitan Theater in Manila to Samsung Performing Arts Center, its new temporary home while the CCP Main Building is undergoing rehabilitation.
Tickets are priced at P3,000 (Orchestra Center), P2,000 (Orchestra Side), P2,500 (Loge Center), P1,500 (Loge Side), and P800 (Balcony 1).
The PPO concert season is made possible with partners SSI Group, Inc., TBWA\SMP, Ascott Bonifacio Global City, and Lyf Malate Manila.