This man right here is one of the most fascinating people I’ve met:
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mr. Cesar Wycoco, a real renaissance man or “Ilustrado”. He speaks around six different languages, educated for diplomatic service (he earned his M.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii and has a graduate degree in French from the University of Nice), and has a good deal of experience working in the U.S. Navy. What probably is much more significant is the fact that he is a self-taught piano virtuoso and composer that has spent time playing gigs in cruise ships and in various places. I am very fortunate to have been given an opportunity to work with this man whose talent and wisdom I have been trying a lot to learn from.
Mark Galang (left) and Cesar Wycoco (right)
I started working with him in the last quarter of 2011 as a music transcriber for his album entitled “Cesar plays Wycoco”. I was introduced to him through Mariza Esteban, the owner of MSE Musical Services (the establishment where my son is currently studying violin). After that project, I continue to provide engraving and transcription work for his newer compositions.
People like Mr. Wycoco defy convention. You would expect that most pianists of his caliber to have a conservatory-level education. The fact is that he doesn’t. I can’t help but find that common thing between him and me, and that is a passion for music. He probably broke people’s expectations when he became a musician rather than a diplomat; I broke expectations when I got involved into music rather than healthcare. Sometimes I can’t help but think that if you have been called into music, you really can’t help but go do it no matter what.
If you look into Kuya Cesar’s history as a musician, I could see some parallels between him and Frederic Chopin. Both men are essentially self-taught pianists and composers. Both have had experience playing in France and elsewhere. Kuya Cesar even has a Chopinesque style in both his playing and composing. You can’t really help but be amazed every time you hear him play. He just can’t help but let music ooze out of his soul.
If you’d like to know more about Kuya Cesar and his musical activities, read more about him at http://www.himig.com.ph/people/438-cesar-wycoco?composer=true. Better yet, drop by the Makati Shangri-La Hotel every Monday to Friday just right about lunch time to hear him play. For the meantime, here’s a video of Kuya Cesar playing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the Les Miserables musical: