Maestro Oscar Yatco, the first Filipino conductor of the Manila Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, died July 1 in Hannover, Germany, at the age of 84. Yatco had a heart condition the past few years.
On the passing of Yatco, the Philippine world of music remembers his prodigious and protean career as violin prodigy, recipient of the UP Teacher’s Diploma at age 16, a brilliant scholar at Juilliard and Munich State Academy.
To German audiences, he presented the epitome of Filipino talent as winner of the only violin prize in a Hannover International tilt, as virtuoso soloist of major German philharmonic orchestras, as dynamic concert master of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and outstanding member of the Stress String Quartet.
As eminent lifetime professor at the Hannover Hochschule, he led hundreds of international music students to achieve their fullest development.
He, thus, considerably strengthened Phil-German musical ties to the highest degree.
As the first Filipino music director of the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Yatco introduced contemporary masterpieces while honing the musicians’ skill in symphonic music and making the ensemble Asia’s best while he was its baton-wielder.
In 1968, after his brilliant solo performance under Helen Quach’s baton, Oscar slid smoothly back to his accustomed role of conductor, opening the fourth regular program of the MSO.
As the first Filipino music director of the MSO, Yatco’s tremendous power, vitality and artistic sensibility deepened Filipino appreciation for classical symphonies. via The Philippine Star