Twenty composer-fellows made it to the semi-finals of the first-ever Banaue International Music Composition Competition (BIMCC) after being selected from 84 entries submitted by local and international composers.
In a bid to raise awareness and fund the restoration of Banaue Rice Terraces, The Universal Harvester, Inc. (UHI), in cooperation with Banaue local government, organized the BIMCC in November 2017 which called for Banaue-inspired symphonic compositions.
“We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for entries. This proves the fact that music is, indeed, a perfect medium to promote awareness and advocacy for our beloved Rice Terraces which has been declared a UNESCO heritage site,” said Dr. Milagros O. How, president and chief executive of UHI and ToFarm.
Of the 20 semi-finalists, three composer-fellows are from the Philippines.
The semi-finalists are: Joshua Ansale (Philippines), Bracha Bdil (Israel), Theodore Broutzakis (Greece), Jan Neland Cabuguas (Philippines), Jimuel Dave Dagta (Philippines), Caterina Di Cecca (Italy), Avner Finberg (Israel), Leon First (Slovenia), Stefano Giannotti (Italy), Eteri Kourbanov (Israel), Lee Jinjun (Singapore), Michele Masin (Italy), Charlie McCaron (USA), Mario Oyanadel (Chile), Alessandra Salvati (Italy), Eduardo Soutullo (Spain), Jem Talaroc (Philippines), Jonathan Shaw (United Kingdom), Raquel Sanchez (Spain), and Miran Tsalikian (Greece).
To showcase the Ifugao culture and bring the issues closer to the composers for their deeper understanding and appreciation, they were invited to take part on a two-week Banaue immersion program from July 9 to 20. During this period, they will tour major sites in the area and attend interactive workshops so that they may further enhance their entries before the semi-final competition on July 20, which will trim the finalists to 10 composer-fellows.
“Communing with the terrace is an important and necessary aspect of the competition. This is the only way by which the composer can resonate his or her music with the subject,” pointed out Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog.
The panel of judges for the semi-finals is composed of Dr. Kee Yong Chong, one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary music composers; and Dr. Verne de la Peña, the current dean of the University of the Philippines College of Music. For the finals, judges are professor-composer Ricardo Lorenz of Michigan State University; Isao Matsushita, president of Japan Federation of Composers; senior composer Chinary Ung of the University of San Diego-California; and National Artist for Music Ramon Santos.
The 10 winning compositions will be performed in the finals night on July 25 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines. The US$24,000 prize money will be divided into one major prize and two consolation prizes. The grand prize winner will take home US$12,000 while the two runners-up will each receive US$6,000.
“We want the world to know that the Philippines is home to great wonders that inspire artists from all over the world to pursue their craft, be it in music, poetry, or cinema. With the support of our friends from the media, we will be able to take the first step towards bringing back the glory bestowed upon the Banaue Rice Terraces as the Eighth Wonder of the World,” said How.
Proceeds from the event will be used for the benefit of the projects to rehabilitate and restore 628 hectares of damaged sections of the rice terraces, starting at the Barangay View Point in Banaue.
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