MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA –   Cecile Licad is arguably the greatest living Filipino pianist. But what is truly endearing is that she continues to prove that appreciation for classical music is not only limited to the educated elite.
Just recently, the celebrated pianist performed before an audience of teachers, farmers and other rural folk at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Munoz, Nueva Ecija.  Backed by the Manila Symphony Orchestra, she dazzled the audience with a Chopin concerto while playing familiar Tagalog tunes like “Magtanim Ay Di Biro”, befitting the setting of her performance.
Days before that, her free concert tour took her to an upscale mall in Makati City, playing before an audience of mall goers in the metropolis, bowing before an audience that included music critics, press people and Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala, a renowned patron of the arts.
Almost a month earlier, she regaled a Filipino audience in New York highlighting a benefit concert for victims of natural calamities in their home country.
While she has won accolades her entire life – she studied piano at 3 and was already performing at 7 – she is more treasured for her generous heart, sharing her talent for free. Her free concert tour was held in Ayala Malls while it was her first time to perform before a rural audience backed by a full orchestra.
Now based in New York, she mostly shuttles back and forth to perform in Europe while visiting the Philippines in between – sometimes even enticing other classical musicians, such as cellist  Alban Gerhardt, to perform before a Filipino audience.
I have been dying to see her perform before my very eyes. Sure, you can buy her CDs or maybe watch her on Youtube. But, like the farmers of Nueva Ecija, I want to get mesmerized myself.
Cecil Licad will also headline the Chopin Manille 2010 Bicentenary concert, co-sponsored by the Embassy of France on March 27 and 29. She will also do a solo concert on March 30 at the Atheneum School in Noveleta, Cavite. Interested parties can call 7484152 or 0906.5104270