As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
Happy Valentine’s to you all!
3 words – “I Love You” – the sweetest words we long to hear. However, if it’s a musician saying that to you that always comes with three other silent words, “…and music, too!”
For our special Valentine series on DDoA, we bring you 3 pianists from 3 different continents. They share with us their musical journey and also how they manage to keep love and family in the picture.
Dose #45-47 : ” Piano Men”
On Love, Harmony & more…
Dose # 45- Piano Man # 1: Victor Oria, Australia
We start our feature in Adelaide, Australia to talk with piano man Victor Oria. I first met Victor and heard him play the piano in 1983 when I was 13 at a party in our house in Cebu, Philippines. He inspired me so much to pursue my love for music that the following year I composed a song to submit as an entry to the Cebu Pop Music Festival. Victor arranged my music and also interpreted it alongside a female vocalist Liesel Nadela (our neighbour). My song was recorded and submitted as an entry. We never made it to the finals but as a 14 year old just recording the song had a significant impact on me. It made me understand that one should not just wait around for things to happen, you have to go out there and make it happen yourself! And I am thankful to Victor for the faith that he had in my budding musical talent.
I haven’t been in touch with Victor for many years until I had this idea of featuring some male pianists on DDoA and tried finding him on Facebook. Luckily, I found him and I am extremely delighted to see how he has continued to develop and share his incredible talent. As it turns out, he and has family have immigrated to Australia and he is pursuing a music degree (talk about taking your music to the next level). Here is a professional musician who’s played with different bands around the world and now he is back in school, learning from others, finding ways to hone his talent even more. I salute you Victor!
Name: Victor Oria
City/Country base: Adelaide, Australia
Training: 3rd year, Bachelor of music-jazz performance
Years in the profession: 33 years
Type of Music: Jazz, Funk, Classical and everything in between
Nature of Practice: band, music education, arranging, production, recording, session musician
DDoA: Did you come from a musical family?
VO: My father was a pianist. He never taught me but I had other teachers instead. I watch his piano lessons with other students from home though and this was a big musical awakening for me.
DDoA: Who would you consider your mentor?
I never had a long term mentor but my piano teacher at the moment, Bruce Hancock, the head of jazz studies at Adelaide university is certainly one I look up to as such.
DDoA: What events/circumstances in your life made you realise you had a calling to be a piano man/musician?
VO: When I was about 5 years old, I would watch my Dad teaching piano to his students. When the students left, I would play the same pieces and exercises that they did. I knew then I liked playing the piano. My father sent me to other teachers but my lessons went on and off as I became busy with school work too. Joining the school choir and band just reinforced my love for music which led me to start playing in bands by the time I was 17. Despite doing a degree in engineering I never stopped playing music from then on. I raised my family with music too. When I got the opportunity about 2 years ago, I took up a bachelor’s degree in music where I am currently in my last year.
DDoA: What do you love the most/least about your profession?
VO: Being able to perform gives me a certain high. I also love it when I am able to share my music either as a performer or as an educator, not necessarily in that order. My least favourite part is being away from my family at times but this is something that can be worked out so it’s not that big a deal.
DDoA: They say music (or art in general) is a jealous muse. Do you find this to be true? What challenges have you experienced/are experiencing in your personal life/family life because of your profession?
VO: To a certain degree I believe music is a jealous muse. As someone who is majoring in performance, I am exposed to others, usually my peers and sometimes a critical audience, who give me a feeling of really wanting to exert myself to perform without flaw. I found this exercise to be counter-productive. I think being able to take this off your head completely and be in your “happy place” when performing works wonders. By experience though, this is easier said than done. In the end, I have learned to forgive myself and move on, the quicker the better.
As a performer, a lot of people look up to you and somehow make you feel special. This feeling sometimes make you lose sight of the original plan, which is to create and share music. It is very important to create that balance between being a performer and a family man. Both roles are important to me.
DDoA: Please share your most memorable experience as a pianist.
VO: Once, as a music director, my band and I were introduced as VIC ORIA’S SECRET. I had the most wonderful time with the musicians I was with I didn’t mind the pun.
DDoA: What traits/work ethics do you consider important in order to succeed as a pianist/musician?
VO: Respect, focus, patience and timing.
DDoA: What message do you have for aspiring pianists out there…
VO: I would really encourage aspiring musicians to keep it fresh. Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Get out of your comfort zone. Surprise yourself!!! And even more importantly, always treat others with love and respect.
Here are a few videos of Victor Oria performing:
So do… ponder on the words of Filipino-Australian piano man Victor Oria (whatever creative field you are in) – “Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Get out of your comfort zone. Surprise yourself. And more importantly – always respect others.”