When Romance and Classical Music Combine, It’s A Match Made In Heaven

“When I first met Leo in the University of the Philippines College of Business, he invited me to a Manila Symphony Orchestra concert. At that time, the only music I listened to was Elvis Presley’s popular songs. But since that night, I fell in love with Leo, and with classical music,” shares Lilia Calderon Clemente.

Her husband, Leo Clemente, is also an Investment Manager, and they have been married for 54 years now. Their company, Clemente Advisors, is headquartered on 57th Street and Madison Avenue, New York City. The Clementes’ focus has always been on impact investment, and philanthropy for causes dear to their hearts, which includes classical music and children.

Indeed, Lilia and Leo Clemente are excited to lead the campaign for The Children’s Orchestra Society (COS) Million Dollar Endowment Fund, to support the Society’s programs for its 100+ students — starting with the upcoming 50th Anniversary Discovery Gala at Carnegie Hall on June 20, 2019 (Thursday).

Seated, front row: Lilia and Leo Clemente, Investment Managers. Standing behind them are Loida Nicolas Lewis, Michael Dadap, and Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma, MD of the Children’s Orchestra Society.

Seated, front row: Lilia and Leo Clemente, Investment Managers. Standing behind them are Loida Nicolas Lewis, Michael Dadap, and Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma, MD of the Children’s Orchestra Society.

During a luncheon hosted by the Children’s Orchestra Society Board chairman Loida Nicolas Lewis, COS executive director Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma, MD welcomed the Clementes to the Society’s Benefit Committee. “We are excited for our students, and are truly grateful that the vision of my father, Dr. Hiao Tsiun Ma, to ‘Teach children the language of music’ will be continued for a long time,” said Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma. 

Building and Growing in Love with Music

Just like the Clementes, the Children’s Orchestra Society was also forged with romance and love for music. Michael Dadap, Music/Artistic Director and Principal Conductor (who is a renowned Filipino musician and Pamana ng Lahi awardee) first met Yeou-Cheng Ma in 1981, and their budding romance was sealed when he expressed his desire to form a children’s orchestra. At that time, Dr. Ma’s father had retired from the COS and returned to Taiwan. The COS was dormant for seven years, until Yeou-Cheng and Michael finally committed themselves to rebuild the Society, and renew its presence in New York. With only $2500 as capital, they succeeded in having a concert by December 1982.

When the Market fell in 2008, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (brother of Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma), helped stage a private concert to raise funds for the COS and its young artists. Through ups and downs of the capital market, and with tenacity and personal sacrifice, the couple have managed to keep the Children’s Orchestra Society going and growing for the past 37 years. As alumnus Josh Chen (violist) says, “Michael and Yeou-Cheng not only taught us to love music, but they taught us how to love.”

This coming March 10, 2019 (Sunday), COS will be launching their alumni orchestra featuring Violist Jordan Bak during its MASTERWORKS Concert at Good Shepherd Faith Presbyterian Church, 152 W 66th Street in New York, NY.

The Masterworks Concert will also feature Faculty Members Gloria Shih (Piano), Kevin Shue (Violin), D. Marc Tagle (Cello) in Amy Beach’s Piano Trio; Tim Cho (Violin), Yeou-Cheng Ma (Violin/Viola), Olivia Martinez (Viola), Grace Wu (Cello) in a US Premiere of COS Founder Dr. H. T. Ma’s Scherzando, and all string players for Dvorak’s String Sextet. Alumnus Jordan Bak, Violist will perform as soloist in Bruch’s Romance for Viola & Orchestra, to be concluded with Mozart’s Symphony #40, with the alumni orchestra joined by key players of the Young Symphonic Ensemble.


Capping the Society's milestone concert season is the much-awaited 50th ANNIVERSARY DISCOVERY GALA at CARNEGIE HALL, STERN AUDITORIUM/PERELMAN STAGE on June 20, 2019 (Thursday) 7:00pm. The evening will feature COS Senior Discovery Winner Darren Yang (Bass), Guest Artist Ray Chen* (Violin), and all orchestras conducted by Michael Dadap. The Program includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Koussevitzky’s Bass Concerto, and a world premiere of Harold Gutierrez’ Quinquagenarius, Still Playing, and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy.

Ray Chen’s appearance is sponsored by COS parents Yao Yan, Gengwen Sun, Daniel and Sheila Chang.

Ray Chen’s appearance is sponsored by COS parents Yao Yan, Gengwen Sun, Daniel and Sheila Chang.

To avail of early bird or group discounts for the COS Discovery Gala at Carnegie Hall, please call 718.888.0635 or email Info@ChildrensOrch.org. For more information, visit ChildrensOrch.org or follow their Facebook page @ChildrensOrchestraSociety.

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For media inquiries, please contact: Bituin Aquino | bituina@gmail.com | +63932.405.0201 


The Children's Orchestra Society (COS) is a non-profit organization in New York City founded by Dr. Hiao Tsiun Ma (father of cellist Yo Yo Ma), for musically talented children and teens. Since 1984, it has been under the leadership of his daughter, Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma and her husband Michael Dadap, a multi-awarded Filipino guitarist, composer and conductor. The COS is dedicated to “Teaching Children the Language of Music” — by providing excellent training in classical music, with a unique child-centered teaching approach that believes in a child's innate capacity to learn and develop in a friendly, supportive and cooperative environment. The learning experience of a child at COS is not specifically to produce professional musicians, but to instill in each member the concept of invaluable experience and the benefits of music making. COS also seeks to give performing opportunities to every student, to provide role models and mentors, and to be a bridge to the professional world, through master classes and performance collaborations with eminent musicians. COS enriches and involves the community through performances for civic and cultural groups.

The Children’s Orchestra Society has performed at the United Nations, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Caspary Auditorium of Rockefeller University, the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, the Band Shell in Central Park, and have toured in several cities in the United States (Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver, CO, San Francisco, CA, St. Louis, MO, Kearney, NE), Toronto in Canada, The British Isles including the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Far East (Philippines, Taiwan, and Shanghai, Ningbo & Hangzhou, China).


  1. https://greatnonprofits.org/org/childrens-orchestra-society-inc

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children's_Orchestra_Society


Michael Dadap was born in the Philippines to a family of musicians. He studied philosophy at the University of the Philippines; and, in 1971 he moved to New York City to study music theory and classical guitar at Mannes College of Music, and composition and conducting at Juilliard. In reviewing COS Young Symphonic Ensemble (YSE) at New York’s Town Hall on May 3, 1993, music and dance critic Bert Wechsler dubbed Michael Dadap a “fine, sensitive musician who is obviously also a mighty orchestra builder…a teacher. What drives Mr. Dadap’s work is his faith in the children’s capacity to learn and his energy, patience, and special talent in communicating his love for music to the children.”

Mr. Dadap has recorded six CD albums for the classical guitar. His “Intimate Guitar Classics” for solo guitar was the featured album in February 1990 on The New York Times classical radio station, WQXR. Mr. Dadap performs as the Dadap-Ma Duo, in the United States, Asia and Europe. He also travels annually to the Philippines to perform, teach, and give workshops on Philippine Folk Instruments orchestra called the Rondalla. He became the first recipient of the “2000 Artist of the Year Award” sponsored by the Flushing Council on the Arts in Queens. In December 2006, he received the Pamana ng Lahi Philippine Presidential Award for his remarkable achievements as a virtuoso musician, composer, music teacher, proponent of Philippine traditional music, and for promoting Philippine culture and causes through his work 


Darren Yang, Senior at Herricks High School, began learning the double bass in 3rd Grade, and studied with Dr. Kageki Nagao since 6th Grade. He is an Executive Board Member of Tri-M Honor Society at Herricks High School and has been selected to participate in All-State Festival in 11th & 12th Grade.


Ray Chen is a violinist who redefines what it is to be a classical musician in the 21st Century. With a media presence that enhances and inspires the classical audience, reaching out to millions through his unprecedented online following, Ray Chen's remarkable musicianship transmits to a global audience that is reflected in his engagements with the foremost orchestras and concert halls around the world.

Initially coming to attention via the Yehudi Menuhin (2008) and Queen Elizabeth (2009) Competitions, of which he was First Prize winner, he has built a profile in Europe, Asia, and the USA as well as his native Australia both live and on disc. Signed in 2017 to Decca Classics, the summer of 2017 has seen the recording of the first album of this partnership with the London Philharmonic as a succession to his previous three critically acclaimed albums on SONY, the first of which (“Virtuoso”) received an ECHO Klassik Award. Profiled as “one to watch” by the Strad and Gramophone magazines, his profile has grown to encompass his featuring in the Forbes list of 30 most influential Asians under 30, appearing in major online TV series “Mozart in the Jungle”, a multi-year partnership with Giorgio Armani (who designed the cover of his Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach) and performing at major media events such as France’s Bastille Day (live to 800,000 people), the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm (telecast across Europe), and the BBC Proms.

He has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Munich Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra Nazionale della Santa Cecilia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and upcoming debuts include the SWR Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, and Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra. He works with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Jurowski, Sakari Oramo, Manfred Honeck, Daniele Gatti, Kirill Petrenko, Krystof Urbanski,  Juraj Valcuha and many others. From 2012-2015 he was resident at the Dortmund Konzerthaus and in 17/18 will be an “Artist Focus” with the Berlin Radio Symphony.

His presence on social media makes Ray Chen a pioneer in an artist’s interaction with their audience, utilising the new opportunities of modern technology. His appearances and interactions with music and musicians are instantly disseminated to a new public in a contemporary and relatable way. He is the first musician to be invited to write a lifestyle blog for the largest Italian publishing house, RCS Rizzoli (Corriere della Sera, Gazzetta dello Sport, Max).

He has been featured in Vogue magazine and is currently releasing his own design of violin case for the industry manufacturer GEWA. His commitment to music education is paramount, and inspires the younger generation of music students with his series of self-produced videos combining comedy and music. Through his online promotions his appearances regularly sell out and draw an entirely new demographic to the concert hall.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at age 15, where he studied with Aaron Rosand and was supported by Young Concert Artists. He plays the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This instrument was once owned by the famed Hungarian violinist, Joseph Joachim (1831-1907).

Ray Chen’s appearance with the Children’s Orchestra Society is underwritten by COS parents Yao Yan, Gengwen Sun & Daniel & Sheila Chang,

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For media inquiries, please contact: Bituin Aquino | bituina@gmail.com | +63932.405.0201 

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.