Negrense conductor debuts at NY’s Carnegie Hall

/ 12:49 AM February 05, 2012

NOVÉ DEYPALAN, former student of Philippine music maestro Ryan Cayabyab, went on to get a Master of Music degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Southern California.

NEW YORK—Negros-born Nové Deypalan, alumnus of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music, made his conducting debut at storied Carnegie Hall in New York on Feb. 3 with the world premiere of “Dream of a Hundred Flowers.”

“I will be conducting for Saxophone Quartet (PRISM Quartet), percussions and four Chinese instruments by a terrific composer, (China-born) Fang Man,” he said in an interview.


“I am honored to premiere ‘Dream of a Hundred Flowers’ in one of the most prestigious venues in the world.”

Deypalan comes from Victorias City in the sugar-producing region of Negros Occidental. He played piano at an early age, but since they were poor, he said he volunteered to water the plants of his music teacher in exchange for giving him piano lessons. However, it was while watching his sister practice as a member of Victorias’ sugar mill choir when his interest in music started.


He studied at the UP College of Music where maestro Ryan Cayabyab, a former professor, became his mentor. As a student, Deypalan worked at the Cultural Center of the Philippines as a composer and conductor, and his compositions, “Kagat sa Mansanas” and “Florante at Laura,” are nationally recognized.

To further his music studies, Deypalan came to America 15 years ago, and completed his Bachelor of Music degree in conducting at the Chapman University, Orange, California. He graduated magna cum laude with a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California.

Connecting with Fang Man

“Composer Fang Man and I met for the first time at the University of South Carolina in the beginning of Fall 2011,” narrated Deypalan. “She just joined the School of Music as a research assistant professor there. Mandy, as friends and colleagues call her, knew about my conducting style after she observed my recitals at the school. However, it was in Los Angeles, during our Christmas break while visiting LA, when she asked me to conduct a world premiere of her brand new music, ‘Dream of a Hundred Flowers.’

“At that time, I did not know much about her or her compositions, but she convinced me to listen to some of her music in her hotel in Westwood. My first reaction was ‘my gosh!’ I did not expect a powerful and captivating huge sound from a composer who has a very soft-spoken and humble demeanor and has a small built. Immediately, we connected.”

The PRISM Quartet is one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles, a two-time winner of the Chamber Music America/

Ascap (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Award for Adventurous Programming. PRISM has performed in Carnegie Hall’s Making Music series.


The New York Times has hailed Man as “inventive and breathtaking,” according to Deypalan. Her original concert music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, New Music Group under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Music from China, just to name a few.

“Mandy’s choice of instrumentation—four saxophones and four Chinese instruments is about ‘West meets East,’” he said.

“The music is extremely difficult to conduct as each instrument tells a story and each has its own character.”

Doctor of musical arts

“I’m currently concluding work on the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting at the University of South Carolina,” stated Deypalan, who is also a music teacher at the university. On March 16, 2011, he conducted Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 praised by the Columbia Free Times as “fearless … first-class music-making.” In January 2012, he joins the University of South Carolina in Aiken, SC, as an adjunct professor of music.

It is not Deypalan’s first appearance at Carnegie Hall, though. In 2005, he led his ensemble, the South Bay Women’s Chorus from Torrance, California, where he lives. He also performed at the Vatican in 2007 for Pope John Paul II.

“I was a chorus master and singer but not a conductor,” he clarified, “meaning, I prepared my chorus for two separate performances, for two different conductors.”

In June 2008, he conducted a world premiere of his original composition, “Libera Me,” for solo baritone, chorus and orchestra at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California.

“I’m very grateful to my family and friends for their continued support and I’m indebted to my music and conducting teachers who inspired me to bring my insatiable desire and lifelong commitment of striving to make music at its finest and highest level of creativity.”

“As a Filipino American musician, I’m proud of my heritage and grateful for the rich culture of the Philippines,” he said.

Lydia V. Solis is a freelance writer. She has retired from the City of Los Angeles after 31 years of service and was West Covina Senior Citizens commissioner from 2003 to 2007.

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