WHEN the habitués of Rodelsa Hall in Cagayan de Oro City troop to the gala tomorrow night showcasing the Manila Symphony Orchestra and the featured soloist, Rudolf Pelaez Golez, in celebration of the birth centenary of Elsa Pelaez, co-foundress of Liceo de Cagayan University, how many of the concert-goers would probably know that on center stage is an international prizewinning pianist who uses his art to pursue his passion as an environment activist?

“I try to use my art to make the world a better place to live in,” said the dashing yuppie who has become some sort of urban legend in Cagayan de Oro for fearlessly chasing trucks carrying illegally cut logs in his sleek, vintage Mercedes Benz in the wee hours at night.

As an environment activist, Golez said, “We are responsible for the world we live in, and we are responsible for it for future generations.”

As a pianist, Golez said, “I want to explore the development of the body of work of one major composer, and discover the multiple complexity of an artist—his styles, his concerns, the full range of his personality and his powers.”

Of late, Rudolf has been giving free piano concerts at Liceo de Cagayan University’s Rodelsa Hall, the first theater for the performing arts in Mindanao, to benefit his pet project, the Safer River, Life Saver Foundation. The foundation has been doing research, clean-up drives, and projects relating to the Cagayan de Oro River.

In fact, Rudolf has launched two “river taxis”— lightweight watercrafts which navigate from Nazareth district near the Macasandig hills all the way to the mouth of Macajalar Bay. That’s almost two miles of river cruising with a taste of sea at journey’s end. “You escape the road traffic, and you get an away-from-it-all breather as well,” beamed Golez. “It’s an alternative means of transportation for our students—and a tourist getaway, too.”

Rudolf should know about travel.

After a childhood made memorable by a string of piano teachers—first, his mother, Dr. Rafaelita Pelaez, who tutored him on the piano when he was four years old, followed by Sis. Lourdes Allegado, Nelly Castro, Mimi Trosdal, and Fr. Theodore Murnane, SVD—Rudolf hied off to New York City where he spent his high school years at the Juilliard School of Music Preparatory Division under the tutelage of Seymour Lipkin.

Rudolf has since studied piano under Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz (UP Diliman), Dr. Solomon Mikowsky, Jesus Angel Rodriguez and Cecilio Tieles (in Tenerife and Villa-Seca, Spain), Reynaldo Reyes, Arie Vardi (Hong Kong) and Russell Brandon (Wales).

In 2004, Rudolf wowed a select international jury in Kuala Lumpur who named him the sole prizewinner at the 1st Asean International Chopin Piano Competition.

Rudolf is one of the youngest piano virtuosi in the country today. He received the “Garbo sa Sugbu” award from the provincial government of Cebu and was named Artist in Residence of Misamis Oriental. His concerts are concentrated in the Philippines and the United States where he was well-received in 2008.

Rudolf’s latest triumph was his debut at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) where he performed as a featured soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the great composer/conductor Cristobal Halffter. He played de Falla’s most impressionistic work Nights in the Gardens of Spain.

Just recently, he performed during the Philippine Independence Day celebration at the Philippine Pavillion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.

article from Gold Star Daily

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