IkoToki: Sounding UP Campus’ Daily Moves

 The University of the Philippiines College of Music presents the “IkoToki,” a new composition for a Jeepney Orchestra, composed by Dr. Maria Christine Muyco. This premiere will take place on February 28th, Friday at 6:00 PM at the Ampitheatre of the U.P. College of Science Complex on February 28, 2014, Friday, at 6 PM. The concert is free.

The Jeepney Orchestra consists of instruments from jeepney parts, which the composer collected from junk shops around Quezon City and turned into sounding instruments. JP Hernandez constructed wind instruments such as paihip (flute), tambudoy (side-blown flute), and tatot (trumpet). Percussions consist of tubophones (tube xylophone) and IkoToki Tultogan (mini jeep as idiophone) put together by Allan Hernandez, Romeo Cudiamat, and Boy Rullog. There is also the bakagong (tongue metal drum) and tatsulok (triangle) from Boy Rullog. Cris Garcimo created the Jeepnilamella, a kalimba-like instrument made out of jeepney plates. Another section of the Jeepney Orchestra is the Speech Choir by the Arts Studies students of Ms. Krina Cayabyab.

As the jeepneys highlight this concert, there will be actual jeepneys plying the circular Ampitheatre during the event. Ikot drivers Renato “James” Lino and Jason Reyes will be joined in by Toki drivers Julius Guevarra and Emmanuel Salvador. Music from sound installations will be part of the concert.

Works by students from the College of Music such as Jordan Peralta, Melita Cruz, Karl San Jose, Jairus Saldajeno, and Jonathan Domingo will be featured with the assistance of Nico Valdez (College of Engineering), Jam Respicio (College of Fine Arts), College of Arts and Letters classes, and that of Dr. Carmela Espanola from the College of Science, Institute of Biology. For further details, please email <jeepney.orch@yahoo.com.ph>

Cebuano Daygon by Estellores of Danao

From a unilineal point of view, it is ironic that I greet new year 2014 with an old Cebuano song “Gabii Dakong Bulahan,” which is a daygon (Christmas song). I recorded this in the midmorning of December 31, 2013 at the gate of the house where I grew up in Consolacion Cebu and I asked permission from the mature singer to have this recorded and posted here. The singer is Virginia Estellore, age 50, from Suba Duterte, Danao City, Northern Cebu, with daughter Mercy Estellore. Virginia is a part-time washerwoman who married to a trisikad (three-wheeled public vehicle) driver and part-time fisherman. She and her daughter learned the song by ear but it comes from a written “orihinal,” which texts can also be dictated to singers in a long performance version.

The material is posted for educational purpose. Here’s the link:

Happy and Blessed New Year!

On Fr. James Reuter, SJ play Ang Pagdating ng Hari

When I first encountered Fr James Reuter’s play two months ago, I immediately thought this was an excellent children’s play because it captures the Filipino essence of sharing and the ethic of pakikipagkapwa, particularly in Christmas time. In the play, gifts meant for oneself were shared to those in need and this action clearly pointed to the idea not of egoism or pagsasarili but of charity or pakikipagkapwa that becomes more significant because the gifts, originally meant for the King, were shared or sacrificed to strangers who, as we later know, were equivalents to the King. From childhood, we were taught that a King is a head of a state. But when the King explained in this story that he is the same as the poor child, old man, and woman, we were puzzled because we know they are different in real life in terms of status, kayamanan, and prestige. However, the King himself explained to us that he is the same as his kapwa tao, which simply means that there is equality in that kingdom or that each and every individual in that society deserves respect and recognition for his or her uniqueness. Thus, the King is a symbol of justice and this is why, I believe, he showed his presence. He appeared. Now supposing the gifts were not shared to the visitors, can we think of the King appearing in the midst of that family? Most likely not. In that scenario, we would not have this story, my speech, to tell you. The family and their visitors would have continued living on separate islands without a sense of community.
What the gift actually accomplished in the play was that it bonded the people beyond the family into a society whose individual members, in the eyes of the law, have inalienable rights to be treated as kapwa tao. The play clearly tells this morality, ie., each individual in the Kingdom has the responsibility to recognize the rights of his or her kapwa, whose presence compels the sarili to respond to the uniqueness of his or her katapat. More importantly, the play also informs us that this pakikipagkapwa, charity or compassion is absolutely founded on social justice because without it, the idea of state or society is not possible.
I believe this combination of justice and compassion is the true spirit of Christmas and in behalf of the UP College of Music Extension program, we are all happy to have shared this wonderful story of humanity to you this afternoon, thanks to the cooperation of our teachers in the extension program, students, and guests in the making of this project a reality for the season. For the additional funding that went to mounting this little production, I wish to thank sponsors Ms Helen Limcaoco of Little Gym and Mr. Peter Coyuito of First Life Financial Corporation and also to the parents of the children who accompanied them in rehearsals.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am deeply grateful to all of them. Please allow me now to introduce the cast, artistic staff and technical crew one by one as my way of recognizing their contributions to the making of Ang Pagdating ng Hari.

Two Benefit Christmas Concerts at UP Music

The University of the Philippines College of Music is offering two free concerts as part of its program of teaching the fine art of music and as part of celebrating the festive season. Both concerts are also benefit concerts meant to receive cash donations that will go to UP students from Samar and Leyte whose families were affected by supertyphoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda).

The first concert is dubbed “Christmas Jazz on the Grass” on Wednesday, December 11, 6:30 pm at the UP College of Music lawn and the second event is a musical adaptation of Fr. James Reuter’s Christmas play for children titled “The Coming of the King,” which is scheduled on Saturday, December 14, at 2pm in the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.

Under the musical direction by Raymundo Maigue, the jazz concert at the College Lawn features big band jazz arrangements of traditional Christmas songs such as “Have a Swinging Christmas” and Strayhorn’s “Jingle Bells.” Original pieces for the season will be showcased as well such as Heim’s “The story of Jazz”; Gershwin’s “But Not for me”; David et al’s “Candy”; Wyche’s and Watts’ “Alright, Okay, You Win”; Sherwin’s “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”; R Rogers’ “The Lady is a Tramp”; L Anderson’s “The Sleigh Ride”, Jones’ ” It had to be you”; Martin’s and Blame’s “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”; Styne’s “The Christmas Waltz”; Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad”; Puente’s “Oye Como Va”; Goodwin’s “The Jazz Police”; Torme’s “The Christmas Song”; and
Coots’ “Santa Claus is coming to town.” Lara Maigue and Phoebe Bitoon will render the vocals.

The children’s musical is a play about the sacrificing of gifts for oneself by sharing them to others in need as a sign of recognizing the receivers as kapwa tao. Originally the play is a legend made into a children’s play by the Jesuit Fr. James Reuter who passed away last year. Restaging it in the UP College of Music with the artistic directions by Alegria O Ferrer (staging), Raymundo Maigue and Arwin Tan (music), and Verne de la Pena (sets) is an homage to Filipinos known for their strong values for pakikipagkapwa. This play will be interpreted by teachers of the UP College of Music Extension Program such as Greg de Leon, Nanette Maigue, Mary Ann Lanuzo, Therese Pitogo, Angelina Lipana, Mark Olivares, Bea Neri, Celia Canabiral among others with guest singer Elaine Vibal and actress Emlyn Olfindo-Santos.

Cash donations for UP students from Samar and Leyte whose families were affected by supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) will be gratefully received at the gates before the shows. These donations will be channeled to the UP Diliman Office of the Vice Chancellor for Students. For further details, please call (632) 9296963, (632) 926.0026, trunk line (632) 981.8500 local 2639, or email



UP College of Music Celebrates 50th anniversary in Diliman campus

A memorable September 2013 awaits the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman community and residents of Quezon City as the UP College of Music celebrates its 50th anniversary in Diliman campus. Concerts and other events are currently being organized by various stakeholders of the College.

The month-long celebration kicks off with student-led activities during the first week of the month. On September 2, 1-5PM, the College of Music (CMU) Student Council, under the leadership of Patricia Poblador and Stef Quintin, presents Walang Kupas. This will be followed by a Sportsfest: “Are you UP for the Challenge?” to be held at the College of Human Kinetics New Gym on September 3 from 9:30 AM onwards.

A more festive day will happen on the 3rd of September with a parade in UP Academic Oval at 11 AM. This will be followed by a Quiz Bee at 11:30 AM and a solidarity feast Salu-salo thereafter. A student-run ticketed concert at 7PM “Humayo’t Itanghal: Isang gabi ng musika ni Nicanor Abelardo” will end the 3rd day of September.

From the serious, the world reverts to the profane with carnivalesque laughter the following day, September 4 at 4PM. This is the fun-filled, annual Freshie Show, a folly featuring students in preposterous cross-dressing images “Binibining G-CLEF.”

Meanwhile, the faculty of the College, together again with students and some alumni, will have their contribution to the September celebration. These events are part of the series of faculty concerts held in the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.

Prof. Rayben Maigue conducts the UP Jazz Ensemble in a concert dubbed “Golden Jazz” on September 5. This concert will be followed by a presentation of innovative original dance theater works by composers of the Department of Composition and by the UP Dance Company. The concert is billed “Kathain 2” on September 12.

From the second week going to the third, the listing of the College’s September 2013 events thickens. The opera class, in partnership with a community theater, will present the classic Filipino musical by Jerry Dadap, “Andres Bonifacio: Ang Dakilang Anakpawis.” Set to the libretto by Dionisio Salazar, the musical play will be directed by Prof. Alegria O. Ferrer. The play is scheduled to run for three nights on the 16th, 17th, and 20th of September.

This musical coincides with the interdisciplinary humanities conference Seeing-Sounding Social Transformation that will be jointly held in the College of Music and the UP College of Mass Communication from September 18 to 20. An important concert to be embedded in the conference is the concert of memorable avant-garde music by Drs. Jose Maceda, Ramon Santos, and Jonas Baes on September 19.

The month-long celebration will be highlighted with a free concert titled “AHA@50 Anniversary Gala Night” on September 24. Music of this concert will be rendered by icons of Filipino classical music scene such as Raul Sunico, Eric Barcelo, Joseph Esmilla, Rudolf Golez, Rodney Ambat, Rayben Maigue, Alegria Ferrer, UP Madrigal Singers, and UP Concert Chorus. A memorable souvenir program will be distributed during this concert.

All Faculty Concerts start at 6:30PM. The cost of admission tickets vary. For further details, please call Josie Baradas at 9296963 or 9818500 loc. 2639.

Preview of films on Maranao Kolintang Music

The University of the Philippines College of Music cordially invites the public to the film previews on “Maranao Culture at Home and in Diaspora”(34 minutes) and “Kulintang Gong Music from Mindanao Philippines” (22minutes) by Dr. Yoshitaka Terada with Dr. Usopay Handay Cadar. These will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 5:30pm in Mini-Hall of the said College. Admission is free.

Dr. Yoshitaka Terada, professor in the Department of Advanced Studies in Anthropology at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan, holds the Ph.D. from the University of Washington. His primary areas of research are India, the Philippines, Japan and North America. He has made a number of documentary films.

Dr. Usopay Cadar earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Washington. He is a highly respected teacher and leader of Philippine kolintang (gong ensemble) groups around the United States and has published a number of important articles on Maranao music of the southern Philippines.


The UP College of Music showcases two concerts in Abelardo Hall Auditorium that demonstrate the breadth and diversity of the College’s curricular offerings. On Thursday February 28, 6:30 pm, the resident East Asian ensembles of the Department of Musicology will present a memorable concert, in tune with the spirit of the changing season, featuring the College’s Korean percussion ensemble samulnori, Chinese music ensemble sizhu and Japanese koto ensemble. In the following Thursday, March 7, 6:30 pm, the guitar faculty of the Department of Strings and Chamber Music then take their turn in an evening of solo and chamber guitar masterpieces in a concert titled “Kalabit ng Kalabit.”

Made up of four percussion instruments, Korean samulnori is traditional festive “farmer’s music,” one type of which has evolved into a music performed in the modern concert stage. UP’s samulnori is directed by Korean doctoral student in music, MiHyun Oh and is the only ensemble of its kind in the Philippines. This is similar to the UP Koto Ensemble, which music is taught only in UP Diliman. The UP Koto Ensemble is directed by Raissa Pineda-Odi who is the only Filipino Koto artist with a license conferred by the Nishijima family in Tokyo. The Chinese music ensemble is under the direction of Filipino Chinese Vic Ongsiako. This and the Korean and Japanese ensembles will play a program consisting of music with a wide gamut of moods and expressions, from dynamic festival music (samulnori and koto ensembles) to serene and eloquent picturesque music by the Chinese ensemble such as “Night Festival Song,” “Butterfly Lovers,” “New Life,” and even the Filipino “Sampaguita.”

In the guitar concert on March 7, the four guitar teachers of the College such as Lester Demetillo, Jose Valdez, Nathan Manimtim, and Solaiman Jamisolamin will interpret original works by Dyens (Côté Sud), Kleynjans (Sonate “Oceano Nox”), York (Bantu, Quiccan) as well as transcription of works by J.S. Bach (Sonate BWV 1031) Ravel (Pavane), and Dvorak (Slavonic Dance). Lester Demetillo and José Valdez are icons in the art of classical guitar playing in the country, while Nathan Manimtim and Solaiman Jamisolamin are young guitar teachers of the College. Nathan Manimtim recently received his master’s degree in music from Illinois State University.

Admission ticket to the February 28 concert is Php 150 pesos, while the March 7 is Php 200. Students with valid IDs are entitled to 50 percent discount and senior citizens, 20%. For details, please call Josie Baradas at 929-6963 or 982-85-00 loc. 2639.

Tenor Noel Espiritu Velasco with mezzo-soprano Gigi Mitchell in concert at UP Music


UP College of Music greets 2013 with a memorable concert of art songs that express humanity’s most universal yet perplexing emotion: love. Slated on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 6:30 PM at the famous Abelardo Hall Auditorium of UP College of Music, the concert showcases interpretations of heart-rending art songs (half of them by Filipino composers) by world-class singers, lyric spinto tenor Noel Espiritu Velasco with partner, mezzo-soprano Gigi Mitchell-Velasco. UP Faculty Augusto Espino collaborates on the piano.

Mr. Velasco is considered “one of the Philippines’ national treasures,” having won the prestigious Pavarotti International Voice Competition. His voice is famous for its expressivity, artistry, elegance, style, and meaningfulness. To his credit are hundreds of commanding performances of roles in well-loved operas by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Bizet, Debussy and Richard Strauss in some of the best opera houses in the contemporary world and in concert appearances with outstanding symphonic orchestras, from New York, London, Rome, Paris to Ekaterinburg.

Ms. Mitchell-Velasco, Mr. Velasco’s artistic partner of over 30 years, is also an international opera singer whose voice is ideally suited to the German romantic repertoire. Her rendition of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder was described by New York Times critic Tommasini to be “dark-hued sound and elegant.” A reviewer for Wall Street Journal also called her a “most finished artist, sensitive to every name of the text.” Formerly trained flutist at Curtis Institute of Music (where Mr. Velasco also earned an Artist Diploma in Voice), Ms. Mitchell-Velasco has an extensive concert history to her credit, the latest one being a performance of a song “Field of the Dead” in Prokofiev’s film score Alexander Nevsky at the Masachussetts International Festival of the Arts last November.

Admission ticket to the Abelardo Hall Concert is 300 pesos, with 50% discount to students with valid IDs and 20% to Senior Citizens. The travel of the Velascos to the Philippines has been generously provided by Francis Padron and members of the New Horizon Singers. For ticket reservations, please call Josie Baradas at 9296963 or 9818500 local 2639.


Sounds of Philippines History


Just as the recent global diffusion of North-American hip-hop music spawned multifarious varieties of local hip-hop musics around the world, Afro-American jazz has also found new sonic faces in urban spaces that have welcomed it.  This we find in 20th century Asia, particularly in Manila where reception of jazz is inevitable given the fact that Manila has been one of Asia’s entrepot, a crossroad, a contact zone where the two-way traffic of ideas and music commodities converged.  The transnational exchange between “East” and West” is  thus deeply manifest in Philippine landscape from the 19th century kundiman which came perhaps from the 18th century Spanish fandango to the late 19th century when Spanish zarzuelas became vernacularized.  These are evident of transculturation or the mixing of foreign with local cultural elements.  The circulation of printed sheet music that incorporated local images, rhythms and colors–afforded by capitalism, technology and the market–was another case of host culture assimilating foreign expressions into the local.  The “Pinoy jazz” of post-Pacific war paralleled  these developments.

The UP College of Music presents two concerts demonstrating this music-language diversity or hybridity that fundamentally characterizes Philippine culture.  On September 6, 6:30 pm, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Prof. Rayben Maigue, will render an all-Flipino concert of “Pinoy Jazz” from late 70s to present.  Historically, this repertoire is a witness to the age of postmodernity where mixing of disparate elements, leading to the birth of unstable hybridities, is the norm.  The concert, to be annotated by jazz historian Ritchie Quirino, will feature “works” by the best proponents in the genre in the Philippines such as Matt Catingub, Jun Palacio, Domeng Valdez, Willy Yusi, Bobby Enriquez, Boy Palacio, Ritchie Quirino, and the most influential of all, Angel Peña.   This concert also commemorates the foundation of UP Jazz Ensemble in 1978.

From this sajonismo, the College equally celebrates hispanismo in Philippine culture with a rare concert on September 13, 6:30 pm featuring Philippine salon music from 1860s onwards.  Dubbed “Tertulia sa Abelardo Hall,” this concert showcases popular musics from the pages of Philippine history.  The phrase “popular music” means music  that were circulated among piano-owning social class in 19th century urban Philippines, i.e., music played in the salons of middle to upper class of Philippines society.  The development of national consciousness in late 19th  century owed much to this group, i.e., Filipino ilustrados (enlightened).  They were intellectuals who exchanged ideas among themselves through print medium: the newspaper, books, and commodified printed sheet music of the past that the concert recreates in the present.

In cooperation with the UP Colleges of Home Economics and Fine Arts, this event will showcase pieces for solo piano, duo, instrumental trios, songs, poetry reading and dance by Prof. Augusto Espino, Jourdann Petalver, and with the special appearance of young pianist Lorenzo Medel.  Outstanding students of the College such as Charlene Magalit, Roxanne Abuel, Raymond Roldan, Ralph Taylan, and Guiseppe Diestro will join their professors in the event.  Prof. Pat Silvestre curates the show.  Spanish refreshments will be tasted during the intermission.  Prof. Lou Decenteceo directs the show, with Lex Marcos as designer.

Tickets to the jazz and tertulia concerts are at 200 pesos each.  Attendees to the tertulia concert are requested to don on salon society Filipiniana attire.”  For details, please call Josie Baradas at 929-6963 or 981-8500 loc. 2629.

Lester Demetillo’s Protest Songs in Abelardo Hall

Exterior to the canon of dead composers that is still being propagated in conservatories in Manila (though one can apologize for the ideology of this canon in terms of its benefit in musical discipline and training), UP College of Music inculcates all types of humanly significant music expressions that have created diverse forms of solidarities in histories. In the Philippines, music did and continues to matter in the formation and sustenance of its pluralistic societies. Without  it, how social realities have been experienced through time cannot be conveyed. It proposes ‘truths” beyond rational calculation and appeals to collective memories, embodied sensations, or to what one would call, ‘direct experience.’ Though this is individually mediated, ‘direct experience’ is always social because music is communicative (yet not in the manner of symbolic words).

 On Thursday, August 16, 6:30 pm, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP College of Music relives ‘protest songs’ composed by its guitar faculty, Lester Demetillo, during years of political upheaval in the 1970s and 1980s in the Philippines. Lester will be joined by his sister Becky Demetillo and her husband UP Diliman professor in Art Studies, Edru Abraham, who will annotate the show. Becky used to sing with Karina Constantino-David as “Inang Laya”  whose vocal renditions during years of political oppression moved sentiment and social critique into democratic public opinion and social reforms. Lester’s songs are set to texts by noted activists Ed Maranan, Doming Landicho, and Karina David. Lester’s songs are partly inspired by American protest songs, having been influenced in particular by creations during the Great American Depression of 1930s and particularly that which emerged from 1960s and 1970s civil rights and liberties movement such as those by Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary. In the Abelardo Hall concert, Lester will be joined by Astarte Abraham, Mario Andres, and Lory Paredes.

 The concert is dedicated to the late activist Susan Fernandez and visual arts professor of UP Baguio Darnay Demetillo.

For details regarding admission tickets to the show,  please call Josie Baradas of UP Music at 929.6963 or 926.0026.