Text and photos by Embassy of France to the Philippines
The Embassy of France to the Philippines and the Alliance Française de Manille are pleased to announce the return of “Les Jeudis culturels” (“Cultural Thursdays”) with a virtual French classical music concert featuring cellist Kyongmin Nam and pianist Dingdong Fiel.
In the context of this global health crisis that has led to the implementation of confinement measures in the country, the Embassy of France continues its commitment to cultural diplomacy and adapts to this “new normal” by migrating its cultural programs to digital platforms.
Since 2018, “Cultural Thursdays” has been a highly anticipated monthly event that has featured performances from highly-acclaimed French and Filipino artists, including award-winning French guitarist Thibault Cauvin, French jazz recording artist Tricia Evy, French classical pianist and composer Maxime Zecchini, Filipina soprano Rachelle Gerodias and Korean baritone Park Byeong-In, and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.
The new Cultural Thursdays will be launched online for the first time with “Après un rêve” (“After a Dream”) – a French classical music concert featuring cellist Kyongmin Nam and pianist Dingdong Fiel, who will perform renditions of works by French masters, including Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Claude Bolling.
“Our embassy recognizes the importance of adapting to the current situation and continuing our cultural advocacy using online platforms,” said Marc Piton, the French Embassy’s new Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs who arrived in Manila last September.
“In this time of confinement and uncertainty, we find comfort in culture. We hope that by re-launching Cultural Thursdays virtually, we would be able to reach new audiences and allow them to discover French music, appreciate Filipino talents, and enjoy a break from this difficult period, especially for those working tirelessly in the frontlines” he added.
A French Dinner for a Cause
The Cultural Thursdays experience is best enjoyed with French cuisine. This concert is organized in partnership with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines and The Tasting Club, which will be offering a “Dinner For A Cause” for the benefit of the Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y), a French-Philippine NGO dedicated to the professional and social integration of young adults living in extreme poverty and exclusion in the Philippines.
The Tasting Club presents a traditional French pairing menu featuring Beef Burgundy, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots, Chocolate Mousse Verrine, paired with a fine red wine from Burgundy (AOC Santenay) delivered straight to your doorstep for PHP 1,200 (delivery fee not included), with 10% of proceeds to be donated to LP4Y. The Tasting Club will also be hosting a virtual degustation prior to the concert at 7:00 PM.
Check out order form and virtual degustation registration to this link
“Les Jeudis Culturels” (“Cultural Thursdays”) is organized by the Embassy of France to the Philippines and by the Alliance Française de Manille, in partnership with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, The Tasting Club, LP4Y, Manila Pianos, and Mr. Richard Sy-Facunda – the artistic director and resident recordist of the Manila Pianos Artist Series.
Profiles of the Artists
Pianist, vocalist, composer, and musical director/conductor, Dingdong Fiel earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music in 2007, where he was the recipient of the Rector’s Award for Academic Excellence and the Benavides Award for Outstanding Achievement. He completed his post-graduate studies (Weiterbildendes Certificate) at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Germany, and was one out of only four pianists from around the globe (2007-2009) chosen to study Solo Piano and Chamber Music under the Academy’s rector, Prof. Rolf-Dieter Arens, as well as Vocal Accompaniment with Prof. Karl Peter Kammerlander.
A recipient of five first place awards from various piano competitions, Dingdong has performed in a series of piano concerts around Europe, Asia, and the United States. He has also composed music for film entries to international festivals, such as “The Greek Miracle” (2011) and the Spanish films “Pilar Guerra” (2011), “Don Juan Tenorio” (2015), and “La Revoltosa” (2016). More recently, he provided the scoring and one hour and a half live performance of “Jeanne d’Arc” – the French Embassy’s entry to the 2018 International Silent Film Festival Manila. Filipino silent film expert and critic Teddy Co described Dingdong’s scoring of the film as “the best version he has seen so far.”
As musical director and orchestra conductor, he was involved in various opera and theater productions, as well as numerous classical, pop, jazz, and rock concerts. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Dingdong was commissioned to compose the score for a musical in collaboration with renowned director and playwright Anton Juan, which will be premiered at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2021.
Dingdong is also the songwriter and lead vocalist of the band HARI*, which debuted at the biggest Original Filipino Music gathering of 2018: The OPM Pinoy Playlist 2018. Their single “Pa’no Umibig Muli” is available on all digital music streaming platforms (Spotify, Itunes, Amazon, Google Music).
Born in Daegu, South Korea, Kyongmin Nam finished her secondary studies majoring in Cello at the famed Gyeong-Buk Arts High School. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance under the tutelage of cellist Dr. Renato Lucas at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music.
Kyongmin has participated in several cello masterclasses and has performed in numerous solo and chamber music concerts both in South Korea and in the Philippines, where she was able to work with renowned personalities in the field of classical music such as Prof. Sergio Esmilla Sr., Prof. Joseph Esmilla, Mr. Coke Bolipata, Maestro Chino Toledo, and Mr. Dingdong Fiel.
She was a member of the Banaue Festival Orchestra as a cellist during the Banaue International Composition Competition and has performed at the opening gala concert of the ASEAN Summit Chaired and hosted by the Philippines in 2017.
Kyongmin performed at the 2016 Mirror Studio run of Gian Carlo Menotti’s fiendishly difficult-to play thriller opera “The Medium,” as well as at the opera’s rerun at the Maybank Theater in 2018. She was the cellist at the live scoring of “Jeanne d’Arc” at the International Silent Film Festival Manila 2018, where she performed the musical score of the film for an hour and a half straight. Positive reviews from noted film critics resulted in a guesting and an audio and video music recording at 98.7 DZFE The Master’s Touch, the only classical radio station in the Philippines.
Earlier this year, she toured the Visayas region with master flutist Nico Dioneda and pianist Dingdong Fiel to perform in several charity concerts for the benefit of the Calbayog Home for the Aged and the Orcmoc Sanctus Vincenzus Scholarship.
Kyongmin had her debut in the United States last September 2019, where she performed in the cities of New York and Connecticut, and three months later, performed at Manama, Bahrain in the Middle East.