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Classical music for the young

The Manila Symphony Orchestra and the young Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra find their new home and stage at the Makati Circuit Lane


By Terence Repelente

  • The Manila Symphony Orchestra

  • The Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra

  • The Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra

  • Manila Symphony Orchestra music director Arturo Molina, Circuit Lane general manager Catherine De Leon, and executive director and principal conductor of Manila Symphony Orchestra Jeffrey Solares

    Just two years ago, the gifted musicians of the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra (MSJO) lost their former rehearsal hall. Since then, their music academy at Glorietta 5 has become both the training and performance ground for them. This mall setting has been instrumental in inviting more young talents to discover and harness their musical capabilities. This sparked an idea within MSO and Ayala Malls as they launch their advocacy “Music Everywhere.” This is a combined effort that aims to make classical music accessible to the public.

    Now, MSO and MSJO have found their permanent home at Ayala’s Circuit Lane. And it is the perfect place.

    “They [Ayala Malls] have a big plan in this area to develop it into an arts and culture hub. As part of our solidarity to support that intention we also want to bring arts and culture into the metropolis. That’s part of the mission of the Manila Symphony Orchestra,” said MSO principal conductor Jeffrey Solares.

    “For the past years, we would madly look for rehearsal spaces, week after week, we say: ‘Oh where will we practice now?’ For recitals, we sometimes have to pay for venues or wait for the availability of venues. It was very tough for us organizationally. Now, here, we know the schedule, we know we can do things and it is much easier.”


    Founded in 2014, the youth wing of the Manila Symphony Orchestra Foundation, Inc., MSJO is composed mostly of advanced students of the MSO Music Academy. Although it’s a young group, MSJO has made a name for itself. They have recently been present on headlines, recognized internationally, performing on concert tours around the country. They have staged performances in numerous major concert venues and destinations like the Cultural Center of the Philippines, The Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium, and The Ayala Museum in Makati City, among many others.

    “MSJO is not just an artistic entity, we’re an educational body.We’re here to educate the youth, the future. Because playing a musical instrument is not just about art, it’s not just having something to entertain you, it’s also to educate people and instill the culture of excellence,” Solares said.

    With young musicians aged nine to 21 years old, the MSJO is one of the youngest among the seven competitors who were qualified to compete in the String Orchestra Category Competition in the 11th Summa Cum Laude (SCL) International Music Festival, held last July 8 in Vienna, Austria. MSJO bagged second prize, competing against various ensembles composed of choirs, bands, and orchestras from countries all over the world. This marked the first time the MSJO entered any major competition. It’s an achievement every Filipino should be proud of. And these kids are just getting started.

    “MSO is a showcase of what a Filipino can do on the world stage. Classical music is pursued by every country now. It’s good that people recognize it all over the world not just in Europe where it started,” Solares said.

    “We were the first in this art form in Asia, and we want to maintain that. We want to say that we’re not just the first, we’re also still good at it. That’s why we join competitions, and we’re happy that we’re still a contender among the rest of our neighbors in Asia.”

    Today, Ayala Malls continues to support and be an active partner of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. They keep opening up pools of opportunities for the children of the MSJO to succeed and thrive. This year, more shows from both MSO and MSJO are to be expected and anticipated as Circuit Lane hosts open rehearsals and pocket performances.

    The MSO and MSJO is the proud product of a non-profit, private organization, the Manila Symphony Orchestra Foundation. |

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