Tonight at Rodelsa Hall – Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra’s Premier Concert

Nov 20, 2018

by The Night Stalker

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Cagayan de Oro’s first eponymously named contemporary symphony orchestra makes its debut at 7PM tonight with a classical program at the Rodelsa Hall, Liceo de Cagayan University.

The Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra with Conductor and Musical Director Horst-Hans Bäcker (center) and Concertmaster Tullio Vidmar (behind Herr Backer’s right shoulder)


The 34-strong orchestra is a project of the Marinela Neri Velez Foundation and is composed almost entirely of the foundation’s scholars.

The Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra with Conductor and Musical Director Horst-Hans Bäcker (standing) and Tullio Vidmar (seated first row, fourth from left)


Prof. Horst-Hans Bäcker is the Principal Conductor and Musical Director, with Tullio Vidmar as Concertmaster and featuring guest performers Cipriano M. de Guzman, Jr. (soloist, Baritone) and Pauline Chloe B. Luceño (Soloist, Soprano).

“Our families that are very much inclined to music are usually the holders of the community’s heritage, culture and tradition,” said City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno in his message for the occasion. “I commend the Paterno Velez Foundation for being faithful to this role.”

“By organizing the Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra, the Marinela Neri Velez Strings Scholarship Program and the Liceo de Cagayan Conservatory of Music are making an immense contribution to the development of our culture through music,” he added. “The city will truly be grateful for introducing to us fine cultural renditions through the Symphony Orchestra. Thank you for bringing pride and honor to our beloved city.”

The concert starts with the Aria from the Opera The Magic Flute (“Der Vogelfanger” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) with Baritone Cipriano de Guzman, Jr. to be followed by a Violon Solo Meditation by Jules Massenet from the opera Thais to be performed by Tullio Vidmar, Concertmaster.

The Magic Flute, K 620, is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. It is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue.

Méditation is a symphonic intermezzo from the opera Thaïs by French composer Jules Massenet. The piece is written for solo violin and orchestra. The opera premiered at the Opéra Garnier in Paris on March 16, 1894.

The Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bäcker makes its public debut with Johannes Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 to be followed by the Duet La Ci Darem La Mano from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni with Baritone Cipriano de Guzman, Jr., and Soprano Pauline Chloe B. Luceño.

The Hungarian Dances (German:UngarischeTänze) by Johannes Brahms are a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian themes, completed in 1869. They vary from a minute to five minutes in length, and were among Brahm’s most popular and most profitable works. Each dance has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four hands and later arranged the first 10 dances for solo piano.

Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. Da Ponte’s libretto has been billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denoted a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as a comic, it blends comedy melodrama and supernatural elements.


Finally, the Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra concludes the programme with Johann Strauss, Sr.’s Radetzky March.

Radetzky March, Op. 228, is a march composed by Johann Strauss Sr. and dedicated to Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz to commemorate Radetzky’s victory at the Battle of Custoza . It soon became quite popular among regimented marching soldiers, its tone more celebratory than martial.

Known fondly as “Girlie” to her friends, Ms. Velez organized the Marinela Neri Velez Strings Scholarship Program to enable musically gifted grade school and high school students to develop their talent and passion for music without the financial burden this usually entails. The program has partnered with the Liceo de Cagayan University Music Conservatory to pursue this vision.

Marinela Neri Velez


Ms Velez has two passions in her life: opera and travel.  As a volunteer with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, she was co-chair of final dress rehearsals. She saw the final recitals of opera divas Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi and the farewell opera performance of Beverly Sills in “Die Fledermaus” with Joan Sutherland.


Girlie has travelled for opera: Washington, D.C. for the World Premier of Giancarlo Menotti’s “GOYA” with Placido Domingo; Tulsa, Oklahoma for the American Premier of Rossini’s “ARMIDA” and Kiev, Ukraine for the opera version of “TARAS BULBA”.


While working for the Music Department of Paramount Pictures Corp., she had the opportunity to watch the recording sessions of Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Sarah Vaughn; scoring sessions of John Williams, Maurice Jarre and Jerry Goldsmith. On the classical side, she attended concerts conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Mutti. 


Girlie is a fixture at Arena di Verona, Torre del Lago Puccini and Rossini Opera Festival in Italy, Staats Oper din Linden in Berlin, Germany and the Salzburg Festival in Austria.


In December, she attends opera performances at Teatro Real in Madrid and Les Arts Reina Sofia Generalitat Valenciana (Valencia Opera), both in Spain; the New Year’s Eve Operetta DIE FLENERNUAUSand New Year’s Day Concert at Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. She is a donor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy and Opera Atelier in Toronto, Canada.

HORST-HANS BÄCKER, Principal Conductor and Music Director

Born in Bucharest (Romania) in 1959, composer and conductor Horst-Hans Bäcker came to Germany where he studied composition from 1981 with Professor Ludwig Werner Weiand at the Hochschule conservatory in Wuppertal. He also began conducting studies under the guidance of Constantin Bugeanu in Bucharest. He has received commissions from musicians and ensembles around the world, including city councils for commemorative events.


Bäcker completed his training in composition from 1986 to 1989 under Professor Jürg Baur at the Rhineland Academy of Music in Cologne. Since his studies in Cologne Bäcker has been commissioned to compose music by musicians and chamber ensembles from all over the world. In addition, he has been commissioned to compose music for special occasion by various European cities. For his composition “From the Depth I Cry Out to You Lord” Backer won the De Profundis Composers Competition in Cologne.


He completed his formation as a conductor in Master Classes with Jorma Panula.


In 1996, Bäcker founded a symphony orchestra, which later became the INTERNATIONALE PHILHARMONIE and to which he was appointed Principal Conductor.


Tullio Vidmar was born on 1960 in Trieste, Italy and raised as a Roman Catholic. Through the influence of his mother who is a concert pianist, he learned violin at a very early age. He earned his Master’s degree in Violin, History of Music and Orchestra Leader (Concert Master) at the Conservatory Giuseppe Tartini di Trieste (Italy) for a full period of 10 Years.

TULLIO VIDMAR, Concertmaster

After he graduated music in college, he participated in many master classes in Italy and abroad. He trained in violin teaching with the famous Italian educator Enzo Porta, author of many famous books about violin techniques.


Vidmar has been concert master and solo violinist in almost all the main Utalian Classic Orchestras. He spent two years in Germany, studying Chamber Music,  Quartetto Accademica and Orchestral Excerpt Improvement. He also graduated in Italian Literature at the Universita Degli Studi in Trieste.


He is now a Principal Professor at Liceo Conservatory of Music in Cagayan de Oro teaching Violin, Chamber Music, Music History and Italian language, using a wide variety of teaching methods to make learning fun and keep students of all ages engaged in the learning process.

Cipiano ZIP de Guzman, Jr.

Cipriano “Zip” De Guzman Jr., Baritone Is a multi-awarded Filipino Classical singer having won 7 International Vocal Competitions in New York, London, Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama,  and Bangkok. He is a two-time 1st Prize winner of the 2016 and 2017 American Protégé International Vocal Competition at Carnegie Hall (Weill) in New York City, USA, the First Filipino to win twice in the competition. He is a recipient of the 2018 Ani Ng Dangal (2018 Philippine National Arts Recognition) by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Office of the President of the Philippines).

Pauline Chloe B. Luceño

Pauline Chloe B. Luceño is a teacher by profession, working as a MAPEH, piano and a voice teacher at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School as a.  She was graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Lourdes College and Master in Music Major in Voice Performance in Liceo de Cagayan University. She is a member/voice trainer of Misamis Oriental Chorale and a guest singer in some concerts and performances in Liceo de Cagayan University.



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