Liceo and MOGCHS eye music partnership

May 7, 2017



Two of Cagayan de Oro City’s foremost champions of promoting music at the grassroots are coming together to make a long cherished dream come true.


Directors of Liceo de Cagayan University’s Conservatory of Music have been meeting with officials of Paterno Velez Foundation to link the former with the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) to upgrade the quality of music learning and appreciation among their students and the music-loving public.


Horst-Hans Backer

Horst-Hans Backer

“If we want to raise the quality of music in the city, we have to start as early as possible,” says Horst-Hans Bäcker, director of the Liceo Music Conservatory. “It’s like a pyramid, we need a wide base from which to choose the best students so we can have a solid, competent core of musicians to build on at the higher level.”


Bäcker is an internationally recognized composer, conductor and has organized and directed various chorales and orchestras in Romania, Germany, Austria, Brazil, and Hungary. He has also released critically acclaimed recordings like Spanish Night and Spanish Night II.


Besides his career as a composer, conductor and recording artist, Bäcker also became the director of a musical school in Langehagen, Germany and later set up his own private school in Bonn, Germany.


Joining Bäcker is Tullio Umberto Vidmar, principal professor of violin and chamber music at the Liceo Conservatory. He brings with him violin techniques from the famous Italian educator and author Enzo Porta.


Tullio Umberto Vidmar

Tullio Umberto Vidmar

After having graduated with a degree in Italian literature at the University of Trieste in Italy, Vidmar spent ten years studying violin, history of music and orchestra leader at the Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Tartini di Trieste Italia. He went on to perform in Germany with the quartet Academica Chamber music.


Vidmar’s career has taken him as a performer from Italy to a teacher in Brazil where he spent six years teaching violin at a University in Brazil. He also spent many years as concert master and solo violinist in major Italian Classic Orchestras.


Completing the trio of maestros at Liceo Conservatory is piano virtuoso Rudolf Caesar P. Golez, a home-grown prodigy who undertook his first lessons from his mom Dr. Rafaelita P. Pelaez at age of four.  


Rudolf P. Golez

Rudolf P. Golez

Golez spent his high school years at the Juilliard School of Music Preparatory Division in New York City under world-renowned pianist Seymour Lipkin.


He later earned Masters in Piano Performance from the University of the Philippine Conservatory of Music. In 2004, he became the sole prize winner at the First ASEAN Chopin International Competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He participated in the 9th International Piano Festivals in Tenerife and Vila-Seca, Spain, and the Festival of Light in Hong Kong, and took master classes under Prof. Arie Vardi. At present, Golez is the concurrent Vice President for Cultural Affairs at Liceo and Dean of the Music Conservatory.


Just recently, Ms. Marinela “Girlie” Neri Velez, President of Paterno Velez Foundation & Founder of the Marinela Neri Velez Strings Program, met with Bäcker and Vidmar to explore the possibility of lending their knowledge and expertise with the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) to which the foundation has donated 41 musical string instruments. 


L-R (Gardy Baños, Horst-Hans Backer, Sol Marie Ucan, Girlie Velez, Vinny Veloso, Joy Velez, Tullio Vidmar & Mike Baños).

L-R (Gardy Baños, Horst-Hans Backer, Sol Marie Ucab, Girlie Velez, Vinny Veloso, Joy Velez, Tullio Vidmar & Mike Baños).

The Marinela Neri Velez Strings Program was originally a 10 year program meant to put together a community based strings orchestra from the public and private schools of Cagayan de Oro through a local school, but when that school opted to proceed in another direction, Ms. Velez moved the program to MOGCHS.


Bäcker has proposed that the foundation link the Marinela Velez Strings Program at MOGCHS through a memorandum of agreement with the Liceo Music Conservatory for this purpose, with the ultimate goal of expanding the base at the grassroots of classically trained musicians from which the three institutions would take their pick of the best to establish a Kagay-anon Community Orchestra.


Already, the Liceo Music Conservatory is dreaming of setting up a musical school and conservatory with a curriculum similar to what Backer set up in Bonn as soon as possible.


Thus, Bäcker appointment as director of the Liceo Music Conservatory with Vidmar and Golez joining him in the star-studded faculty, and a core of gifted Filipino musician-instructors sharing the dream and vision to bring classical music back to its lofty pedestal where it was previously held in reverential respect and admiration by the Kagay-anons.


“Liceo believes in the formation of the total person, and music provides the mental framework of excellence for the mind, preparing them for any field they wish to pursue in the future,” Golez stressed.


Hopefully, should the link between the Marinela Velez Strings Program at MOGCHS and the Liceo Music Conservatory push through, the latter would ensure a steady stream of students who can pursue a career in music at the Liceo. The establishment of the community orchestra would also serve the Liceo Music Conservatory since it would need an orchestra where its students can hone their craft to become world class musicians.


Eventually, the Kagay-anon Community Orchestra is envisioned to perform in public events with other Cagayan de Oro-based choirs and bands, such as the Xavier University Glee Club, CU Glee Club, the Tanggu Drum band of Oro Christian Grade School, indigenous music ensembles like the Waway Linsahay Saway and the Talaandig Republic, and dance troupes from the various schools and community based groups like Kagayan Performing Arts.




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