The Riveting Riva
Riva Ferrer, the alto beauty of the UP Madrigal Singers (Madz), spent more than a decade perfecting her craft. Below are images of her last recital, dubbed “OPM Squared”, on 4 May 2015. Her OPM stands for “Original Philippine Music”, quite different from the “Original Pilipino Music” that we are acquainted with.
She first enrolled as a choral conducting major at the University of the Philippines’ College of Music. Then she shifted as a composition major, and ultimately as a musicology major. Previously, she was an assistant choirmaster at her high school choir. “Wala akong pinagsisishan. Lahat iyon ay sapat lang para mas maging mabuting musiko pa ako,” she said, looking back at her seemingly fickle choice of specializations.
She joined the Madz in 2008, sometime after becoming inspired hearing them perform “Gabaq-an”. “Kinakabahan talaga ako noon. Parang napakalaking responsabilidad ng pagiging miyembro ng Madz,” she said in an interview I conducted. It was indeed a pressure as the Madz won the 19th European Grand Prix for Choral Singing a year ago she joined. “Hindi ko alam kung good enough siya [her skills] for the Madz para punán ang mga upúan ng mga inupuán ng nag-Grand Prix. I just tried my luck.”
“Pag-umaawit ako, ibig sabihin masaya ako. Pag masaya ako, umaawit ako. Ang saya lang kumanta kasama ng ibang tao, at gumagawa kayo ng musika. Masaya siyang experience.”
She still does compositions of various sorts, one of which is “Sa Aking Musika” that premiered at her last recital and performed by the Madz and musicians from the college. It is a fusion of ethnic, traditional, and contemporary music. These lines from the song are my favourite:
Wala ka man sa aking piling
Sa pakpak ng aking musika
Nawa’y malaman mong mahal kita!
These are some of the photos.