UP Guitar Orchestra

The University of the Philippines Guitar Orchestra (UPGO) has proudly distinguished itself as the first Guitar Orchestra in the country.

up guitar orchestra

Originally founded in 1982 by Lester Demetillo, a classical guitar professor in in the University of the Philippines College of Music, it was originally called the University of the Philippines Guitar Ensemble and was essentially a guitar ensemble class, a course requirement for majoring in guitar. The group changed its name to the University of the Philippines Guitar Orchestra in 1997 to adhere on the technical and musical standard it was then setting and now advances into national prominence.

The UPGO is composed of outstanding students majoring in Guitar from the University of the Philippines College of Music, each a promising musician in his own right. From its inception, individual members of the UPGO have performed in prominent concert sites and garnered the top prizes in the most rigorous competitions in the country such as the National Music Competition for Young Artists, an annual competition founded in 1973 from which the most prominent names today in the field of music, art and dance are part of. In the recently held NAMCYA, UPGO boasts of garnering the top two prizes in the said competition. The alumni of the UPGO are now the leading performers and educators in the guitar scene. The UPGO boasts of a wide range of repertoire that includes works from the renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, 20th century music periods along with other genres such as flamenco, jazz and popular music, most of which were arranged or transcribed by Lester Demetillo. His arrangements and transcriptions are enormous; from Nicanor Abelardo's enthralling Visayan Caprice to Mozart's Divertimento in B flat Major. Guitar compositions and originals from the repertoire of the classical and Philippine masters are this ensemble's forte. The UPGO regularly performs in major concert sites in the country including the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Concert at the Park series and Paco Park Presents along with its regular series of concerts and recital in the University of the Philippines. The UPGO also has released two albums entitled "Original Pilipino Classics" and "Classical Music." On March 2008, the UPGO embarked on its first national tour entitled to Dumaguete City, Negros Occidental. It featured a concert entitled "Bach to Gershwin" in Siliman University in lieu with the group's vision of promoting and educating artists and non-artists to the appreciation of guitar orchestral music through original transcriptions of large works of music. On January 28-31 2010, the UPGO along with the most significant artists and groups in the country and abroad performed in the First Philippine International Guitar Festival. Its aim was to promote the Classical Guitar and was participated by local and foreign artists, as well as the different music schools in Metro Manila. The Members of the UP Guitar Orchestra are: Jenny de Vera, Franco Maigue, Aaron Aguila, Tommy Katigbak, Jeffrey Malazo, Roneil Santos, Jordan Amaca, Monching Carpio,, Catherine Belle, Renz Mendoza, Lance de Jesus, Adrik Cristobal, Jeann Rufo, Jose Emil Contreras, Marga Abejo, Russell Santos.