Entry 086

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.


Here, Riva plays the kulintáng in an ensemble comprising of native Southeast Asian instruments. In the photo are the kulintáng and the águng.


Part of the ensemble are the babandíl (leftmost gong), the gandíngan (four hanging gongs), and the dabákan (drum).





Riva striking the gábbang while others are chanting




(from left to right) Tomy Virtucio, Riva, Nil’s Flores, Bianca Lopez, and JC Jose each singing a solo piece accompanied by the choir conducted by Mark Carpio




With the instrumentalists


The Madz performing at the recital



Madz choirmaster Mark Carpio with Riva; behind them are the members, trainees, and some alumni of the Madz


Playing the kubíng



Riva about to perform the Cordilleran chant segment of “Sa Aking Musika”


Mark Carpio singing the countertenor solo for “Sa Aking Musika”


Riva conducting the Madz


Riva started as a choral conducting student at the College of Music.




The trumpet and the congas blend well together for a Latin American encore.


Singing and dancing “No dejes de cantar”, a song by the Argentine group Opus Cuatro; the title means “never stop singing”



Riva with her mum and brother


4 thoughts on “Entry 086

  1. Wonderful article! Riva’s recital was amazing from the photos shared. A brilliant musician! She will indeed go a long way. She is an asset to the Madz.

    Congratulations for writing such beautiful article of an equally beautiful peron inside and out!

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