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UP Orchestra holds full-length concert

Pambungad, the full-length concert of the University of the Philippines Orchestra (UPO), will be staged on February 17, 6 p.m. at the University Theater—the first in its home ground.

The UPO is one of the University’s performing groups.  It is under the directorship Prof. Edna Marcil “Michi” Martinez, who holds a Teacher’s Diploma in Viola, a bachelor’s degree in music literature and a master’s degree in musicology.  Her first conducting mentor was former Dean Renaldo T. Paguio. In 2007, she worked under Maestros Harold Farbermann and Eduardo Navega of the Conductor’s Institute in Bard College, New York. She was also privileged to do a master class and have special lessons with internationally-renowned conductor Maestra Helen Quach in her recent visits to the Philippines. She is currently a full-time faculty and chair of the College of Music’s (CM) Strings and Chamber Music Department, and has led the UPO and the UP Arco (String Orchestra) in the performance of various works for chamber and large orchestras such as Bach’s Overture (Suite) No. 3, Brandenburg Concerti Nos. 3 and 5, Corelli’s Concerto Grosso No. 6 Op. 8., Tschaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Stravinsky’s ballet Petrouchka.  

The 48-member orchestra performs a mix of local and foreign pieces, among them “Prelude and Fugue No. II for String Orchestra” by Angel Peña and “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (First Movement),” by Aram Khatchaturian as performed by violinist-student artist Ramón Alfonso Soberano.

Other pieces include “Adagio for Strings,” Samuel Barbers’ arrangement for string orchestra derived from the second movement of his String Quartet, Op 11 which he finished in 1936; Josef Hayden’s “Concerto in C for Cello and Orchestra;” and “Overture of Philippine Airs” by Bernard Green.

Wilfredo C. Pasamba, internationally acclaimed Filipino cellist, CM professor Eduardo Pasamba and student-violinist Ramón Alfonso “Chino” Soberano are featured in Pambungad.


A soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, Pasamba performs Haydn’s “Concerto in C for Cello.” His more recent performances include guest solo appearances with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Heidelberg New Music Festival and the Olivier Messiaen Centennial in Missouri.

According to his website at, he garnered top honors at the Juilliard Concerto Competition, Hennings Butterfield Young Artist Competition, the National Music Competition for Young Artists and the Reno Chamber Orchestra Competition, among others. No less than the New York Times hailed Pasamba for his “audacity and brilliance” at his Weill Recital Hall debut in Carnegie Hall.

Pasamba has likewise served as a faculty member at the CM, St. Scholastica’s College in Manila, the Pittsburg State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory.

Launched at the Philippine Cultural Center in January 2005, the UPO holds the distinction of performing with the country’s most distinguished artists, among them concert pianists Prof. Regalado Jose, Nita A. Quinto, Charisse Baldoria and notable opera singers Ramón Acoymo, Katherine Molina, Aileen Cura, Janet Aracama and Chinese Pipa artist Luo Chao-Yun.  Under a venue grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the UPO held a full-length concert on September 1, 2011 at the CCP’s Nicanor Abelardo Theater.

Pambungad is free and open to the public.  For inquiries, call the UP Theater at 920-5802 or 920-5996.