Minda Azarcón cover
Minda Azarcón cover | Foto: Minda Azarcón cover

The Enchantment of Minda Azarcon and Her Music

Por: Karen Limón

24, November, 2021 en Luxury Trending

The life force, the wonder, and the sensuality of music…. If music came in human form, Ms Luzminda D. Azarcon would be its embodiment. Yet, like most artists who start out as young prodigies, it is as natural and vital to her as breathing , quite simply a very human function. But to those of us who struggle to learn the craft, those of us who weren’t bestowed with the gift of human expression through the arts by the muses, people like Ms Luzminda D. Azarcon will always be as fascinating and magical as their art. To know an artist and witness their art, is to transform, to change our behavior, and perhaps even change our very selves.

Luzminda Dominguez Azarcon would be what we call a consummate musician. She is not defined by simply one form of discipline in music, but by several, in the form of piano, voice, music composition, choral and orchestral conducting, as well as musical scoring for film. Born to a musical family, her training started quite early. Her mother, a voice and piano teacher, began her daughter’s music education by initiating her into the world of musical recitals and performance. To her mother’s surprise and delight, she memorized and performed an entire music book at the very tender age of four years old. Minda, as she is more fondly called, was born with a pitch perfect ear and voice, a skill for sight reading (which is defined as the “reading and performing of a piece of music or song in music notation that the performer has not seen before”), and the innate ability for extemporaneous music transposition (defined as “the process of moving a collection of notes or pitches up or down in pitch by a constant interval” or put more simply, changing the key of the song).

Minda Azarcon
Minda Azarcon

Ms Minda Azarcon’s father played an influential role as well in shaping her young musical life. She attributes her discipline to her father’s sometimes strict supervision. He ensured that she made it to her lessons on time and put in all the requisite endless hours of practice and more. But it was his love for music that proved to be the most valuable lesson of all. Listening and relaxing to his beloved daughter’s skillful piano renditions in the warm comfort of their home gave him deep joy and solace. So, would musical ability be a product of genetics, or would environment be more of factor? Minda believes it’s both. The innate genetic propensity for music, and an environment that supports and reinforces the cultivation of the art, would almost certainly produce individuals with highly developed musical sensibilities and/or abilities.

Like many artists who love their craft, Minda pursued a more specialized level of study in music going as high as attaining a Masters in Music with a Major in Piano, graduating with the distinction as the first to be conferred with such a degree by the University of the Philippines. Subsequently, a whole host of tutorials and master classes, both vocal and piano, performances both local and international, followed. The next several years saw a life filled with musical engagements, and music-related occupations such as teaching and voice coaching. Her musical pedagogy would be the foundation of many a famous singer onstage as well as on film. Her prominence led her to the film industry where she was billed musical director and composer of movies directed by distinctive Filipino directors like Lino Brocka and Mario O’Hara to name a few. Most noteworthy of her film musical scores was the movie entitled “Insiang”, which got a nod by French critics at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978.

Minda Azarcon
Minda Azarcon

“Art imitates life; life imitates art”, or so the saying goes…. Like a musical piece that takes us on a journey, through its notation, its rhythm, its harmony, our lives take us on a very similar ride. Like any well written musical piece, life is composed of the highs and the lows, the deep rumbles and sweet cadenzas, the pianissimos and the crescendos which make for an exciting and interesting composition. We go through the patterns, scale through the undulating notes, and follow the various rhythms in our own inimitable style. Artists know this almost instinctively, and Ms. Azarcon’s narrative demonstrates a cacophony of melodies and rhythms of a life well lived. Marriage and motherhood intertwined into her musical world almost seamlessly. With all its joys and tragedies, the trials and the tribulations, Minda lives her life with a deft sleight of hand, an elegance and grace even in the face of adversity, a simplicity that belies a sophisticated mind, a great capacity for compassion, and a deep understanding of the human condition. These very same traits mirror all the qualities necessary and important for creating great art in whatever form it may be. As the artist goes through the art process, she encounters numerous decisions and choices to be made, and many times, certain pathways or directions in the work are compromised to allow for another more relevant aspect of it to shine through. Such is the process of decision-making in daily life as well. Ms Minda Azarcon has had her share of difficult decisions and compromises. Her music did not always take center stage. Often, opportunities in the form of music scholarships abroad, performances, demanding lead roles, had to either be put on hold or set aside for the sake of other equally important and significant aspects in her life, which happen to be her family, and her children in particular. But Minda has a good grasp of what she values in life and is cognizant of her priorities. She harbors no regrets.

Minda approaches her life with a wholeness of spirit. There is almost no distinction between the values and the dedication she puts into her music and the other areas in her daily existence. To be an artist is not just about what happens between her and her music. The way she lives, the words she utters, the people she loves, the people she allows in her life, the health regiment she follows, her daily routine, even the political choices she makes, all these are part of her as an artist. She not only makes music, she lives her music.

There is something ageless and timeless about Minda Azarcon. Most artists seem to possess this quality. She exudes a certain vulnerability yet at the same time we sense a strength of spirit. She is at once forceful yet delicate. It is impossible to imagine Minda in any other way nor does she wish to be otherwise. She guards something very vital in an artist, and that is, integrity.