UP Arco "Passages"

by Ricardo Juanito Balledos

“Let all good things in life be celebrated with music.” This belief by conductor Professor Edna Marcil Martinez, fondly called “Michi”, inspired her and the UP Arco (formerly known as UP String Chamber Orchestra) throughout their musical journey and has resulted to her group’s strong bond throughout the years.

Last October 4, the UP Arco held a reunion concert titled “Passages” in celebration of their 20th Anniversary conducted by Professor Edna Marcil Martinez at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.

The concert was hosted by Professor Patricia Brillantes-Silvestre from the Musicology Department. Professor Nathan Neil V. Manimtim, Chairman of the UP College of Music Strings and Chamber Music Department, delivered the welcome remarks. This was followed by a short speech from the former Executive Director of the Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA) and Adviser Emeritus to UP Arco, Professor Ruben Defeo.

The UP Arco paid special tribute to honor the late Professor Rey Paguio who envisioned of reviving the college orchestra 20 years ago and assigned Professor Martinez to the task, hence the UP Arco today.

The event featured works from the Baroque era up to the Modern era, including Filipino popular music. The program was divided into 3 batches of the group: Batch 1 performed the Overture from Handel’s Messiah as the opening piece, followed by Corelli’s Concerto Grosso No. 8, and Allegro from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik; Batch 2, who made its international debut in 2012 winning prestigious awards, played Grieg’s Holberg Suite, La Vie en Rose, popularized by Edith Piaf, Peña’s Prelude & Fugue, and Sibelius’ Andante Festivo; and finally, the torch-bearer Batch 3 premiered Allegro from Slovak’s Sinfonietta for Strings in the Philippines and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro.

After the intermission, all the batches of UP Arco came together on stage to play Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Dr. Joy Marfil’s Sa Kanyang Sayaw, Bernstein’s Tonight from West Side Story in celebration of his 100th birth anniversary, and the first part of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

The audience was left in awe with the playing of two Filipino pieces for the encore: Wency Cornejo’s Hanggang and Sugarfree’s Makita Kang Muli arranged for string orchestra by Ramon Silvestre.


The UP Arco ended the concert by imparting to everyone their vision of producing “well-rounded and disciplined musicians who can inspire the next generation of artists, and most importantly, give glory to God.”

University of the Philippines College of Music, Ylanan Street, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
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