Documentations of Transcultural Philippine Music from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music

The other series is the set of audio (CD) recordings of transcultural Philippine music. There are also three in this series, which contains rare historical Philippine music of popular and art music. These are constitutive of a notated music-cultural tradition borne to colonial experience in the Philippines, particularly in the urban area.


​The first in the series contains popular piano music from Manila during the last half of 19th century Spanish Philippines. The colonial pianism exhibited in this volume shows a remarkable diversity. Many were printed as commodities, i.e., as sheet music by Massaguer, D Paterno, Perez, Nakpil, Valdes y Pica. They circulated among members of the then emerging civil society, the public sphere made up of the ilustrado (educated) class. This was the status group for whom the next generation–the art classical composers (Santiago, Abelardo, Buenaventura, and Molina) of early 20th century–were writing for. A few cuts in the album came from manuscript sources such as that by Adonay and Valdez y Pica. These musics were performed in elite gatherings in the private houses of affluent citizens of the city. The CD is highlighted by Diego Perez’s Recuerdos de Filipinas of 1886, which was the first secular music in the islands to appropriate Filipino “folk” songs and dances. These became the basis of a piano medley in style brilliant. The piece was exhibited in many Philippine, regional, and world expositions, where it always garnered awards.

​The second in the CD series contains vocal and instrumental works. The album starts with the extant hybrid Philippine music from pre-modern 18th century Manila, the devotional villancico set to a Tagalog text and now preserved in the Dominican archive in Spain. This piece is sung by the world famous Philippine Madrigal Singers, which is a resident group in the UP College of Music. The CD also contains rare examples of Tagalog song-dance cundiman and cumintang from mid-19th to late 19th-century century. This CD showcases divergent Spanish and American styles. In early 20th, the changing taste for American music is felt in vaudeville artist Lou Borromeo’s print music “My Beautiful Philippines.” Meanwhile, European conservatory classicism–as in Alexander Lippay’s arrangement of Manuel Velez’s music “Palad Sa Kabus”– is included and this presents a good counterpoint to the album’s selections.

​The third CD spans ensemble music that is a testimony to the Spanish-Philippine and Philippine-American relations and revolutions (pieces by Nakpil and Fajardo). Important pieces in this are the music of Pedro Navarro, a student of Adonay and the first Filipino conductor of the famed Philippine Constabulary (PC) Band founded by the affable Black American conductor Walter Loving. PC Band is famous for having awed John Philip Sousa; it won a medal in the 1904 St Louis World Exposition. A brief excerpt from Juan Hernandez’s zarzuela in native language, Minda Mora is also contained in the CD. This work demonstrates the growing civic consciousness among the residents in Manila circa 1905, that is, after the American colonial government installed democratic governance in the early years of its occupation of the Islands. The CD is highlighted by three art musics such as by the Viennese-trained Alexander Lippay (“Theme and Variations on the Philippine National Hymn), Nicanor Abelardo’s violin sonata, which was written in Chicago in early 1930s, and the masterful piece by Antonino Buenaventura, Symphony in C, played by the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

UP College of Music Centenary Concert

Marking the 100th Foundation Year of the UP College of Music, a concert dubbed “Sandaang Taon ng Himig at  Tinig: Pagpupugay ng UP Kolehiyo ng Musika” is scheduled on Sunday, 4 September 2016 at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, Quezon City, at 5:30 PM. Formerly known as UP Conservatory of Music, UP College of Music opened its doors to 104 students who wanted a professional career in music from a balanced theoretical and practical curriculum that was materialized in a modest building in R. Hidalgo Street, Quiapo. The Conservatory was a brainchild of Senator Joaquin Luna’s Act No. 2623, which had the full support of University of the Philippines’ (UP) President Ignacio Villamor, first Filipino president of UP, who envisioned music graduates who would be a pride to the nation.

In its one hundred years, UP College of Music has its vision fulfilled, producing ten National Artists in Music, two of who– Jovita Fuentes and Andrea Veneracion–came from the Department of Voice. The program for the evening consists of music that has instilled the important cultural value for strength in Filipino identity in music such as Lucrecia Kasilag’s Prelude Etnika, Jose Maceda’s Kubing, Ramon P. Santos’s Daragang Magayon, Visayan song “Ay! Kalisud,” Francisco Feliciano’s “Pokpok Alimpako,” and “Pamulinawen,” Lucio San Pedro’s Lahing Kayumanggi, Antonino Buenaventura’s Sa Dakong Silangan, Antonio Molina’s “Hatinggabi,” Felipe de Leon’s “Iba-ibang Kulay,” and “Sayaw Igorot.” Nicanor Abelardo and Francisco Santiago are not in the roster of National Artists awardees because they were long gone in 1972 when the award was instituted. In recognition to their achievements, especially Nicanor Abelardo, who is perhaps the greatest Filipino composer of all times, the immortal kundiman “Nasaan Ka Irog” will be sung as well as Santiago’s “Pilipinas Kong Mahal.”

The concert will feature performing groups of the College such as UP Tugma (Krina Cayabyab, conductor), UP Guitar Orchestra, UP Rondalla (Elaine Espejo-Cajucom), UP Dance Company (choreographer Elena Laniog), UP Concert Chorus (Janet Aracama), UP Madrigal alumnus Arwin Tan’s Novo Concertante Manila, UP Chorus Class (Raul Navarro), UP Symphonic Band (Rodney Ambat), UP Orchestra (Edna Marcil Martinez), faculty of the College such as singers Ramon Acoymo, Maria Carmila Molina, Rainier Cruz, Ligaya Quinitio, Raymond Diaz, Katherine Molina, Rica Nepomuceno, Jonathan Velasco, Albert Roldan (collaborating pianist), Ma. Cecilia Valeña, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, Alegria Ferrer, and pianists Ena Maria Aldecoa, Michelle Nicolasora, Pia Margarita Balasico, and Carolyn Cheng, who will render 8-hand piano arrangements by Augusto Espino. Josefino Toledo is the concert program chair. Highlight of the concert is the UP Music Centennial Awards which will recognize outstanding music teachers who have propagated love of music for a better Philippine society and for the well being of its citizens. Admission to the concert is free. For inquiries, please call 9818500 locals 2629, 2639 or 9260026.

Music, Capitalism, and the Nation: A Symposium on the Roots of Transcultural Philippine Music

The University of the Philippines College of Music cordially invites the public to an interdisciplinary one-day symposium on the theme “Music, Capitalism, and Nation: On the Roots of Transcultural Philippine Music,” on Thursday, 18 August 2016, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, 9AM to 5PM. A gathering of local music scholars, the symposium will explore the history of music modernity in the country, particularly on the effects of the larger force of late 19th century capitalism in the development of syncretic (transcultural) Philippine music that combined old and new music-cultural elements. Some of the effects of this late 19th century capitalism in the country were the production of the first and only music theory book in Tagalog (paper by Arwin Q Tan), “Print Music Commodification and Costumbrismo” (paper by Jose S Buenconsejo), “Selling Zarzuela” (Isidora Miranda, University of Wisconsin-Madison), “Music Journalism” (Ma. Patricia Silvestre), “Localizing Imported Danza” (Ma. Alexandra Chua, University of Santo Tomas), “Concept of Individual Property in Music” that led to the first music plagiarism case in the Philippines (Jonas Baes). To illustrate the larger ramifications in the incorporation of European cultural presence in modernizing Asia, Dr. David Francis Urrows, special guest speaker from Hong Kong Baptist University, will discuss “Music Education in China under the French Protectorate as Cultural Interchange.” Philippine Studies expert Dr. Ramon “Bomen” Guillermo will be the keynote speaker.

The symposium is open to the public, especially to college teachers in the humanities and social science, with conference fee of 500 pesos (cost for conference kit and admission ticket to Enzo Medel piano concert). The symposium itself is free to students with valid IDs.