“Without music, life would be a mistake,” Friedrich Nietzsche once said and the words of the German cultural critic and philosopher usually reminds me of Pablo Tariman which started when I first took hold of a concert pass in 2018 that featured world-acclaimed Filipino pianist Cecile Licad.
Hailed as the “pianist’s pianist” by the New Yorker, Licad’s Iloilo musical affair drew my interest to the impresario with whom I have only read from stories online. Yet ever since that first engagement, I have never missed a concert that he organized for the Ilonggo audience.
His recitals drew me closer to music while I cultivate my skills by spending my free time to cover arts and culture events for peoplesdomain.net, a personally-managed site where I manifest my support to Iloilo City’s arts and culture development that is experiencing resurgence as a result of its rapid urbanization.
“I love Ilonggo audiences,” said the 73 year old impresario, writer, and poet during one of our usual messenger exchanges in post-pandemic times and this love for the Ilonggos allowed him to come back to Iloilo for eight times despite declaring that he was up to take a rest or even retire at the end of the Evening of Opera in December 2019.
But his retirement plans clearly got ditched and many of us were happy. In fact, we have habitually brushed aside statements of retirement from the impresario. We want to have a cup of coffee with him in the future.
This year alone, Tariman jetted to Iloilo City three times in a row bringing to a higher note like never before the commemoration of UP Visayas Presence in Iloilo. The 75th year celebration under the chancellorship of Dr. Clement Camposano ushered the Ilonggo audiences to a musical romance with Tariman as he introduced classical pianist Aaron Aguila in a concert alongside the launching of his poetry book: Love, Life, and Lost during the Pandemic last May. This was followed by a recital with violinist Jeanne Marquez and pianist Gabriel Allan Paguirigan last August, and, finally, the most recent was the spectacular performance with pianist GJ Frias, clarinetist Andrew Constantino, and tenor Arthur Espiritu.
If not for the pandemic, Pablo Tariman may have had more than a dozen concerts in Iloilo City, but nevertheless, the recent one at the Performing Arts Hall of the UP Visayas Museum of Art and Cultural Heritage was a revenge against Covid-19 and it further endeared the impresario to the Ilonggos.
Pablo Tariman rekindled my affection to music by bringing me face-to-face with the performances, not only of the greats in Philippine music, but also to witness the progression of young greats like the 12 year old cellist Damodar Das Castillo together with pianist Dinging Fiel in 2019. Together with my partner in life, we watched Tariman tame the tension and excitement that enveloped the room upon the start of the intimate recital at the Nelly Garden with clarinetist Andrew Constantino, pianist Gabriel Allan Paguirigan, soprano Jasmine Salvo and tenor Nomher Nival during a Night of Opera in 2019 that also honored the late Ilonggo tenor Otoniel Gonzaga who passed away in 2018.
It was the thunderous applause and loud bravos after their performance that made us realize that our hearts resumed beating and that we were breathing again. The memorable tune of Musica Proibita by Stanislaw Gastaldon preserved by that episode came rushing back in when tenor Arthur Espiritu performed Tariman’s favorite piece in honor of his efforts of bringing fine music and introducing young artists to different audiences.
Arthur Espiritu brought us to the edge of our seats and his rendition of Filipino classics like Nicanor Abelardo’s Bituing Marikit and Augusto Espino’s Kundiman ng Langit were stunning and can move you to tears.
Click to see on Reel Arthur Espiritu’s Bituing Marikit
The October 20 recital, however, may have sealed a lasting impression to the heart and memory of the impresario for he was declared as a Honorary Citizen of Iloilo City through Executive Order No. 083, Series of 2022 by Iloilo City’s chief executive Jerry P. Treñas in recognition of his exemplary contribution to Iloilo’s arts and culture.
The recognition formalized our collective gratitude for his admirable effort and contribution to Iloilo. As former senator Frank Drilon have said during the program, the Ilonggos knows how to reciprocate world-class talent. Substantively, the Ilonggos knows too well, not only to give back to deserving individuals, but to recognize the selfless contribution of one like the one and only Pablo Tariman.