By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Dr. Raul Sunico was beginning to feel jet-lagged when I interviewed him for Awesome in 5 Minutes, yet his impeccability made the interview swift and mesmerizing. It is not everyday that a musician of international stature would ask you “what song would you like me to play for you?”
He breezily played “Where do I begin?” for me to cap the interview. Truly one of my coolest experiences as a journalist ever.
For the celebration of the Filipino-American History month, one has to give it to Dr. Sunico, world-acclaimed Philippine pianist, arranger of Philippine songs, notably “Mga Awit ng Himagsikan” (songs of the revolution), and distinctively the only pianist in the world to perform the four piano concertos of Sergei Rachmaninoff in a single evening.
On the autumnal night of October 21, Sunico enthralled the dominantly Filipino-packed Merkin Hall of the Kaufman Music Center for a recital of the masterpieces of George Canseco, Felipe de Leon, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Sergei Rachamaninoff, Astor Piazzolla, and Maurice Ravel. The event was brought together by the JS Productions, the Philippine Consulate General of New York, and the Felipe de Leon Foundation.
Up close, one could see his fingers jumping on the ivory keys of the grand piano, both intensely and gently to create spell-binding rousing music.
Guest Jan Andrada said she loved the show and proud of the international stature Dr. Sunico has achieved.
A bastion in Philippine music, Sunico served as president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines from 2010 to May 2017 and as dean of the University of Sto. Tomas Conservatory of Music from 2002-2016. He received a scholarship from then First Lady Imelda Marcos and finished his masteral degree in Music at the Julliard School and New York University.
Despite his musical prowess, Sunico also makes an optimal use of the left side of his brain, being a mathematician. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Statistics and works in the corporate world because of that educational background, and where he shines as well. (Photos by Edwin Josue)
Watch Dr. Raul Sunico in Awesome in 5 Minutes