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Gabrielle Panlilio: Another rare classical diva on the rise.

With the domination of mainstream contemporary rock and pop music, the classical genre seems to be taking a back seat. But a rare talent is out to prove that classical music can be just as beautiful.

This year, the Philippines is sending Gabrielle Victoria Panlilio, an 18-year-old classical music enthusiast to the Child Aid Asia 'A World to Imagine' concert to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center in Malaysia on July 16 - 17.

Gabri, as she is fondly called, started singing when she was just 10 years old but discovered the classical genre when she was 12.

'I started singing when I was ten years old and then classical naman when I turned 12. I trained formally because of Phantom of the Opera-that's what inspired me and what pushed me to do do classical,' said the 18-year-old singer.

Gabri's first stint in professional theater was when she did Pinocchio. She says she managed to shuffle school and training despite the rigorous schedules. At the age of 15, she made her first solo recital.

'Pinocchio was my first professional experience. I was in school and I trained like non-stop. And then I had my first solo recital when I turned 15 but all full classical repertoire,' she says.

She managed to mix her activities well as she was home-schooled.

'Home schooling is the best [in my case]. In regular school mahirap,' she said.

Her main goal as a lover of classical music is to show people that this kind of music has distinctive beauty.

'I want to show people na rin that classical music can also be as pretty as other genres. My goal is actually to sing pop music, contemporary music but still maintain that classical sound is a different sound which can also attract the crowd,' she says.

'People kasi they stereotype, they are saying, o classical, it's so boring, it's all about power, this and that, they have no emotion. We want to appeal more to the crowd. Kasi 'di ba here people appreciate screaming, sigawan, might as well try something different,' she adds.

She is often compared to Gerphil Flores, a German-Filipino classical crossover singer, but Gabri is confidently self-assured.

'She (Gerphil) is different in her own way and I have my own [style]. I will focus more on contemporary music with a different style,' she says, meaning, with a classical twist, so that people 'will see na classical music can be as pretty rin as other genres; mine will be 50% classical 50% contemporary, it's mixed.'

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 6, 2016
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