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Lone Filipino rep wins Silver!

Jascha Obieta during his World Bach Competition performance. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JASCHA POBRE OBIETA

It was the first international competition Jascha Pobre Obieta dared to participate in. And yet, against all odds — the only Filipino in the roster of contestants — he placed second in the prestigious World Bach Competition 2020.

Hosted by the Colorado-based Boulder Bach Festival, the event celebrated the life and works of the German composer and musician Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach. It attracted entries from different levels, to include high school, university, community, and professional categories from all over the globe.

Jascha’s rendition of “Prelude & Fugue in C# Major BWV 848” and “Prelude & Fugue in F# Major BWV 884,” both taken from The Well-Tempered Clavier, landed him recognition and honors in the University Student Solo Instrument-Keyboard and Plucked Instruments Category.

“I was naturally inclined to Bach’s pieces. So when I found out about the competition, I immediately told myself ‘I will join this, but no pressure — this is just for fun and experience’,” Jascha said.

In addition to this recent victory, he has also won Silver at the Piano Teachers’ Guild of the Philippines Romantic and the Kasilag Piano Competition Category B2 last year.

Besides the piano, Jascha also plays the violin and alto saxophone. He readily admits his favorite piece is leading Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s Intermezzo Serenata. “It sounds masterful, plain and simple,” he declared.

In the past, he held recitals at Manila Pianos and St. Paul University. “Thanks to my parents and their friends, I always had an audience,” he confessed.

For specific rituals before a performance, “I ensure I sleep long hours before the big day,” he revealed.

PROUDLY holding his certificate from the World Bach Competition.

His favorite composers include Austrian maestro Arnold Schoenberg, American trombonist and bandleader Glenn Miller, and of course, the Roman prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Meanwhile, his singular musical fantasy is to perform at the fabled Royal Concertgebouw in the Netherlands, considered as the venue for one of the world’s leading orchestras. “The name of the hall is forever on my mind,” he disclosed.

Musical family

If given the chance to collaborate with any artist in whatever manner, the promising student immediately answered “Stevie Wonder, or anyone associated with The Jets.”

Jascha grew up in a musically-inclined family of four. Their home, thanks to his parents, was continuously abound with music of the 90s and early 2000s, encompassing and touching on different musical cultures and languages. “The rest of my extended family played at least one instrument or sang for entertainment,” he said.

The eldest of two siblings — at 20 years old, his little brother, 11 — has taken inspiration from an eclectic selection of individuals, to include the Italian sculptor, painter and artist extraordinaire Michelangelo, award-winning, globally renowned Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, political activist and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.

Jascha, a Music Production student at the De La Salle — College of Saint Benilde, balances two to three hours of daily practice sessions with his studies. “I make sure I review my lessons more than I explore music, because anything I have learned in the past, I relearn in the present,” he said. “As a general rule, every time I invest into music, I add an extra thirty minutes to an hour into studying.”

When not rehearsing or studying, he likes to read books or meditate on a recliner.

THE young musician at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In the future, Jascha dreams to become a composer or a conductor. “If I didn’t pursue music, perhaps I would become a commercial flight pilot,” he said.

Advice for aspirants

He hopes to inspire his fellow music aspirants. “No need to worry about getting better — just play and play,” he said. “Learning slowly but surely helps a lot. See to it that you have given everything and your mind and body will do the rest.”

For future musical aspirants, he gave advice: “Learning slowly but surely helps a lot. See to it that you have given everything and your mind and body will do the rest.”

Jascha Obieta’s winning performance is available on view on the official YouTube channel of Boulder Bach Festival at

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