The 4th Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s (PPO) Chamber Music Concert was streamed for free on the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) YouTube channel and the PPO Facebook page on Friday. The virtual concert featured several PPO musicians.
I interviewed two of them, husband and wife Ariston Payte 3rd, principal of the contrabass section of the PPO, and Berny Dulce Payte, violinist. When I listened to the music that Aris and Berny performed for my radio interview in Culture Carousel aired in 98.7 DZFE-fm, it was so warm and delightful that it made my day.
Culture Carousel: Why did you decide to become a musician?
Berny: Music has been my first choice ever since. I grew up with my lola, who was my first piano teacher. I remember I was always asked what I wanted to be when I grow up and I would say, ‘I want to be a musician,’ without knowing it is not a typical answer you get from a child. When I took up music in college, I knew that I made the right choice. I am happy that I play music all the time, and that I do it for a living.
Ariston: For me, I was already playing musical instruments at the age of 8. When I was in grade school, I started to play the bandurria and double bass in our school rondalla, with my father as our conductor. Since then, I have pursued on becoming an orchestra musician.
Berny, you have been with the PPO for 13 years. What is it like to become a member of the country’s national orchestra?
For me, being part of the PPO is really fulfilling and an honor as well. The PPO regularly performs at the CCP not only classical music but also other musical genre. Being part of the PPO’s outreach programs and concerts allowed me to experience and engage with various audiences in different areas of the country, especially those from the farthest provinces like Ilocos and Davao.
Aris, what are the positive aspects of performing with different orchestras?
Performing with different orchestras outside of our country exposed me to a higher level of artistry. These experiences helped and motivated me to improve my skills more.
How do you balance married life, your work as a PPO member and other daily concerns? Do you still have time for dates?
Berny: Performing with Aris does seem like it’s all work — going to rehearsals with him everyday or preparing for our duets is already spending time with each other. Sort of like our regular work date. Being married to a fellow musician makes balancing married life easier because we understand the demands and dynamics of our job. Also, we are both hands-on with our kids. And what matters to us is that everyday counts, we spend quality time and enjoy each other when we can.
Aris: And yes, we still date.
What do you think about the PPO performing online during this pandemic? Do you have other suggestions on how the PPO can further reach other audiences?
Aris: It is good that the PPO was able to reach out and connect to more audiences. I would suggest that we continue to produce materials that are more varied to suit the taste of our audiences in music, like music for all and younger generations.
Berny: It was good that the PPO was able to adapt right away to our current situation and it continues to reach out to audiences by airing family-oriented presentations aside from our regular solo and ensemble performances. It is also advantageous that audiences get to watch and listen to the PPO in their homes or workplaces. And lastly, aside from Aris’ suggestion for the PPO to gain more viewers, I would suggest that we promote more symphonic music in the future.
For more information on future PPO and CCP events, check out www.culturalcenter.gov.ph