Manila Symphony Orchestra

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Manila Symphony Orchestra
Founded 1926 (1926)

The Manila Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in Asia. Founded by Alexander Lippay in 1926,[1] the orchestra has played a major role in Philippine history, including acting as a symbol of resistance during the Second World War. Through the years, MSO has hosted artists Montserrat Caballé, Yehudi Menuhin, Igor Oistrakh, Eugene Istomin, Fou Ts'ong, Barry Tuckwell, Paul Badura-Skoda and Rony Rogoff, as well as conductors Andre Kostelanetz, Arthur Fiedler, Mendi Rodan, Robert Feist, Gareth Nair and Helen Quach. Today, the Manila Symphony Orchestra provides a showcase for young Filipino musical talent.

War and post-war[edit]

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the Manila Symphony Orchestra refused to perform as a protest and hid their instruments.[2] In retaliation, the Japanese formed the New Philippines Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Francisco Santiago.[2] Following the liberation of the Philippines in 1945, the Manila Symphony Orchestra was reformed by Herbert Zipper, who had survived the Nazi concentration camps before coming to the Philippines.[3][4] Its first post-liberation concert was held in the ruins of Santa Cruz Church on May 9, 1945. [5] Filipino musicians performed for the combined American and Filipino soldiers at the post-liberation army camps. Some of the musicians also toured the provinces and held special shows in hospital wards.[3]

Young musicians[edit]

MSO has instituted two main programs intended to develop Filipino musical artistry and showcase Filipino musical talent, the "Young Artists’ Competitions" and the Luneta Concerts (known as “Concert in the Park”).[6] The Manila Symphony Orchestra today has young musicians who are trained by the Philippine Research for Developing International Soloists (PREDIS), which was founded in 1985 by Basilio Manalo and Sister Mary Placid Abejo at St. Scholastica’s College.[7] Filipino conductors have also taken the helm of the MSO, including Francisco Santiago, Basilio Manalo, and later Arturo Molina.

At present the MSO is composed of around 60 musicians under the music direction of Arturo Molina. Many members the orchestra are young music students who are also enrolled in the different colleges and conservatories of music in the Metro Manila area. Many of these have been winners in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) and have represented the Philippines in international music festivals and workshops.[8]

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ "Asian Journal> Cynthia de Castro (2 April 2009). "Making music, making history". Asian Journal. Archived from the original on 2 April 2009. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  2. ^ a b The Filipino Moving Onward 5' 2007 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. ISBN 978-971-23-4154-0. 
  3. ^ a b "Guest Webpage: Japanese Occupation". Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Phillips Exeter Academy". Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  5. ^ Brylle B. Tabora (12 March 2015). "Oldest surviving member of historic 1945 MSO concert to attend March 13 reenactment". Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Barnes & Noble"
  7. ^ "Five young artists in solo recitals". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-02-21. 
  8. ^ "The Orchestras". Cultural Center of the Philippines. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-02-21. 

External links[edit]