Islander in the City by Pablo A. Tariman:


Damodar das Castillo with author during recording break for Elgar concerto at Circuit Makati.

The winning streak of Filipino cello prodigy Damodar das Castillo, 13, continues when he recently
qualified as one of the 60 contestants world-wide who qualified in the XI International Tchaikovsky
Competition for Young Musicians.

“I am pleased to congratulate you on our acceptance of your application and confirm your participation!”
Ivan Shcherbak, director of the XI International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians emailed
the young Castillo.
Considered the most prestigious music competition in the world, the XI Tchaikovsky Competition attracted
more than 900 musicians from 23 countries.
Only 60 young musicians qualified, among them the Filipino cellist.
Earlier, the young cellist made music history when he won a total of five first prizes in international
competitions among them the 2017 First North Competition International Music Autumn (online), the 2nd
Talinn, Estonia 2018 Competition for Young Artists, the 3rd International Artur Rubinstein Competition in
Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany (2020), the 4th Young Ludwig International Music Competition in
Berlin, Germany (2020) and lately the 5th 2021 Musica Goritiensis in Gorizia, Italy.
Castillo is in town and has just finished recording the Elgar cello concerto with the Manila Symphony
Orchestra (MSO) under conductor Jeffrey Solares.
The live recording session done at the Black Box Theater in Circuit Makati drew applause from the
musicians themselves.
Remarked Sara Maria Gonzales, associate concertmaster of the MSO after the recording session: “You
continue to inspire us! Your tones were so rich and full of color and yes, full of life. Bravo!”
A full music scholar of the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria under Barbara Lübke-Herzl, Castillo is in town
to prepare for the Tchaikovsky Competition which will be held first quarter of 2022 in Moscow in the first
rounds and then in Chengdu, China for the last round.
He was last heard in the country in 2019 in an outreach concert at the Nelly Gardens in Iloilo city with
where he received two standing ovations along with pianist Dingdong Fiel.
Barring pandemic health restrictions, Castillo is tentatively scheduled to perform in Pasig City,
Catanduanes and Iloilo City early next year with pianist Dingdong Fiel.

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