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Getting her first piano tutorials from her pianist-mother at age three, Cebuana Aima Maria Labra-Makk is now a solo concert pianist who is leaving a mark in the Vienna music scene with her expressive piano playing. Labra-Makk’s first studied piano at the age of three under her mother’s tutelage. In her teen-years, she further received rigorous and intensive piano lessons.
She proceeded to the University of the Philippines for her college education, where she studied under Perla Suaco and earned a Bachelor of Music degree.
Aima is very much proud to inform that she won the top prize of the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), piano category C in 1985.
In 1986, she was accepted at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria, where she studied with mentor Eugen Jakab. It was at this same period too when she was granted numerous and generous scholarships.
European critics have described her playing as “peerless marked by high musical intelligence, colorful expression with physical robustness (to sound) with elegant ease of touch but never for the sake of display.”
Even the famous pianist and pedagogue Tatjana Nikolaeva gave high praises to the expressiveness and depth of her playing.
No wonder that her performances and magnetic presence have earned her world-wide acclaim.
One of Labra-Makk`s CD – entitled, Hommage A Jenö Takács, is a selection of Austro, Hungarian and Filipino music.
She explained that the Austrian composer Jenö Takács, a native of Seegersdorf, Austria, had actually visited the Philippines and even taught music at the University of the Philippines in the middle of 1930.
This is one of the reasons why the Pinay pianist included the composition of Takács in her newly released CD. Labra-Makk is the only pianist to record the complete piano works of the Austrian composer.
Aima also joined the First International Competition Franz Schubert and 20th Century Music in Graz in 1989.
The young musician won the main prize and after this magnificent achievement, she started getting invitations to do recitals, radio and television recordings, and concert tours.
Labra-Makk was awarded the highest honors in Concert Diplomate from the University of Music in 1990, with a unanimous board decision.
Labra-Makk has performed in key cities and venues in Europe such as the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Haydnsaal in Eisenstadt, Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, Stefaniensaal in Graz and in Asia.
She has also performed in international festivals such as the Vienna International Festival (Wiener Festwochen), 1st Women´s Festival in Eisenstadt (Frauenfestival), Liszt-Beethoven Symphonies for Piano Series in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Labra-Makk has performed also in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tennessee, and Dallas.
Educator Labra-Makk currently holds a teaching position at the University of Music in Graz, Austria.
Here, she trains extremely musically-gifted children from different parts of the world selected through rigorous auditions. All of her students have won national and international competitions. She also conducts Master Classes in different music institutions all over the world.
She has also done the world premiere recording of Takács´ piano concerto with the Savaria Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Tamas Pál. The CD was released under Hungaroton, Hungary´s leading classical recording company.
In 2005, Labra-Makk joined the well-respected Hungarian violinist Ernö Sebestyén and the much-awarded Hungarian cellist Tamás Mérei to form the Esterházy trio. The trio is officially endorsed by Prince Antál Esterházy, the present head of the noble Austro-Hungarian family who had been patrons of Joseph Haydn and Franz Liszt.
Labra-Makk visits the Philippines regularly to perform and to hold Masteral classes in different music colleges and institutions. In 2006, she was awarded by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu as the “Garbo sa Sugbu” (Pride of Cebu) for her unwavering dedication to the advancement of classical music in the Philippines.
Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN, Vienna, Austria
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