CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Conservatory of Music, Theater, and Dance of the Cagayan de Oro-based Liceo de Cagayan University continued to reap honors in the international classical music scene as its associate dean qualified for the finals of the 2022 WorldVision Composers Contest.
The competition seeks to find the world’s most talented contemporary classical composers.
Professor Horst Hans Bäcker, associate dean of the Conservatory, made it to the shortlist of 88 best composers in the world, and subsequently qualified for the finals along with two others – Rod Schejtman of Argentina and Claudio H. Martinez Garcia of Mexico.
The winner will be announced this September 18, and the winning piece will be performed by the Symphony Nova Orchestrer Wien during the final Gala Concert of the WorldVision Music Contest at the Vienna Konzerthaus.
In the first round where composers were given a free choice of genre and form for an instrumental composition, Bäcker was selected on October 4, 2021, as one of the best composers who qualified for the second round with his Banaue Rhapsody.
In the second round of the competition where composers were asked to submit a chamber music piece for any number of instruments up to 12, he was again adjudged as the best composer in November 2021, and qualified for the semifinals with his entry F͚ür Sophie.
The composers were then asked to submit a piece for a symphonic orchestra, and Bäcker successfully hurdled it with his composition Fantasia for Orchestra, emerging on May 20 as one of the three best composers to qualify for the finals.
Born in Bucharest, Bäcker took his first piano lessons at age five and then studied composition from 1981 with Professor Ludwig Werner Weiand at the Conservatory in Wuppertal, Germany.
He studied under famous names such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Jürg Baur, and Jorma Panula.
Since he completed his Master’s degree at the Cologne College of Music, Bäcker has been commissioned to compose music by musicians and chamber ensembles worldwide.
His compositions have been played all over Europe, and his CD recordings have been appreciated all over the world.
Aside from his compositions, Bäcker has been delighting audiences with his choir and symphonic orchestra featuring the works of famous bands like The Beatles, Queen, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and Supertramp.
Bäcker co-founded the Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra in 2018 and has since served as its conductor.
He has lived in Cagayan de Oro City since 2016. He is a professor for Composition and Orchestral/Choral Conducting, and associate dean of the Liceo Conservatory.
Multi-awarded Conservatory faculty
The Conservatory’s Filipino staff have also reaped awards and recognition for their work. In the last five years, two of them won three Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honors) awards from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The award is for natural-born Filipino artists who reaped top honors in international events for architecture and allied arts, cinema, dance, dramatic arts, literary arts, music, and visual arts.
Cipriano “Zip” de Guzman Jr., who teaches voice and theater, bagged the first prize in the American Protégé International Vocal Competition, at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York City in December 2016.
This was followed by another top prize in the professional open category at the 17th Roma International Music Competition, Grand Prize Virtuoso at the Parco Della Musica in Rome, Italy in December 2018.
Dubbed “The Filipino Baritone,” De Guzman made waves in Japan in 2016 when he won the second prize at the 10th Yokohama International Music Competition at the Tokyo Gotanda Cultural Center. He subsequently bagged special prizes at the 8th Tokyo International Competition and Osaka International Music Competition.
Another faculty member, Nino Cesar Tiro, received similar recognition for his piano composition Phantasie für Ludwig which was included in concert pianist Susanne Kessel’s 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven International Composition Project 2020. Tiro currently teaches Piano/Composition Music at the Conservatory where he also serves as the academic chair.
Liceo’s College of Music walks the talk – no less than its dean, Rudolf Caesar Pelaez Golez, was the sole prize winner in the 1st ASEAN Chopin International Piano Competition held in Kuala Lumpur in 2004.
Another non-Filipino member of the Conservatory’s faculty, Italian Tullio Vidmar, also brought honors and prestige to the Cagayan de Oro-based university.
Vidmar, the Conservatory’s research coordinator cum violin instructor, co-wrote with Tiro the soundtrack for the restored 1911 Italian silent film Pinocchio during the 15th International Silent Film Festival presented by the Philippine Italian Association and the Embassy of Italy in 2021.
The Italian violinist serves as the concertmaster and doubles as the principal violin for the Cagayan de Oro City Symphony Orchestra. Vidmar is a laureate in the Conservatorio of Music at Giuseppe Tartini di Trieste in Italy. – Rappler.com