Home GRASP GRASP/Japan 20 years of making music for Chino, 27

20 years of making music for Chino, 27


At a university in the heart of Manila, Joaquin Maria Gutierrez was lost in his own zone.
At a university in the heart of Manila, Joaquin Maria Gutierrez was lost in his own zone.
Eyes closed and hands steady on his violin, he played music that soared and swelled, overwhelming the small studio. With an accompanying pianist, Gutierrez played Brahms’ Sonata No. 2 for an audience of two: his parents, who listened quietly but with apparent pride.
After all, this year marked an important milestone in their son Chino’s career — 20 years of making music.
And he’s just turning 27 this year.
The violin virtuoso belongs to a crop of young Filipinos captivated by classical music, whose perceived elitist character he wishes to shatter.
“I think this music genre is underappreciated, but not because it’s difficult to understand, ” Gutierrez said in an interview with the Inquirer. “It’s just that we’ re so exposed to other kinds of music. We don’ t have the same access to classical [pieces] .”
While most of his fellow millennials enjoy the more accessible pop hits, Gutierrez has remained loyal to the violin, the instrument he first fell in love with.
“People always ask what it is about the violin that captivates me, ” he said. “It’s just vague childhood impressions. From cassette tapes playing Mozart and Vivaldi, it was the violin that spoke the most to me.”
Coke Bolipata
He was 5 when Gutierrez began asking his parents for a violin. His parents did not really understand why; they were not musicians, though his mother Bambi was a ballerina who danced to the classical pieces that eventually drew his son to the violin.
Two years later, at age 7, Gutierrez would finally get his wish and his first music teacher, Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, a renowned violinist who mentors young musical minds. Bolipata took the boy under his wing.
Two years later, Gutierrez would perform his first solo concert in Bolipata’s school. The following year, the boy would make his orchestral debut at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and perform Edouard Lalo’s “Symphony Espagnole, ” the French composer’s most celebrated piece.
As a member of  Metro Manila Community Orchestra under the baton of Josefino Toledo, the bespectacled boy with a bowl cut would soon conquer local and international stages and attract the attention of several music masters, including that of Oscar Yatco, the celebrated conductor and violinist.

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