Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nicanor Abelardo and Francisco Santiago - Titans in Philippine Music

They perfected the Kundiman, distinctly Filipino into world class sonata and art song.
Dr Abe V Rotor 

Nicanor Abelardo (1893-1934) "Father of the Sonata in the Philippines".

Composer, pianist, and teacher.  His most popular works include the official song of the University of the Philippines,U.P. Beloved, Magbalik Ka Hirang, Himutok, Nasaan Ka Irog, Kundiman ng Luha, Bituing Marikit, and Mutya ng Pasig.

t age five the young Abelardo learned solfeggio  and how to play the bandurria; at six he was already able to play the William Tell Overture on the guitar; at age eight, he composed a waltz, Ang Unang Buko, He later learned to play the piano while working for his uncle, painter Juan Abelardo, in Manila, where he studied in primary schools.  He was barely 15 years old when he taught music in .schools in San Ildefonso and San Miguel, Bulacan,
Before he enrolled at the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music, he worked as a pianist in pubs and theaters in Manila.

He eventually became a full-fledged instructor and obtained his teacher’s certificate in science and composition in 1921. In 1924, he became the head of the Conservatory’s composition department. He pursued further studies at the Chicago Musical College.

When he returned to the Philippines, he continued teaching at U.P. He also taught music to students in a boarding house run by his family. Among his students were National Artist Antonino Buenaventura, Alfredo Lozano and Lucino Sacramento.
Abelardo was credited for bringing the kundiman to the level of art. He also composed music for the sarswela as well as songs in different musical forms. He completed more than 140 compositionsHe was given the title the "Father of the Sonata in the Philippines".

Our foremost Kundiman composer also showed the elements of modernism in his music. This is heard in his “Cinderella Overture” and Sinfonietta for Strings.

He died on March 21, 1934, at the age of 41. He left behind a number of unfinished works, including a symphony, an opera, and a concerto.The main theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the U.P. College of Music were named after him.

 Francisco Santiago (1889-1947) The Father of Kundiman Art Song. 

A renowned pianist, composer and teacher, he earned his masters degree and doctorate in music from the Conservatory of Chicago in 1924. College of Music from 1930-1946. Among his compositions are Kundiman and Anak Dalita, the first art song kundiman, was sung Royal Court of Spain upon the request of King Alfonso II. His masterpiece Concerto in B flat minor for pianoforte and orchestra was presented at the Chicago Music School, where he received his doctorate degree in 1924.

He became the Director of the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music from 1930 to 1946. He also directed the music for such films as Manileña, Madaling Araw, and Pakiusap. Other compositions are  "Sakali Man", "Hibik ng Filipinas", "Pakiusap", "Ang Pag-ibig", "Suyuan", "Alaala Kita", "Ikaw at Ako", "Ano Kaya ang Kapalaran?", "Hatol Hari Kaya?", "Sakali't Mamatay", "Dalit ng Pag-ibig", "Aking Bituin", "Madaling Araw" and "Pagsikat ng Araw". 

He died in September 28, 1947. Twenty-one years later, he was given a posthumous award as Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan by the City of Manila. A hall at BDO Makati head office is named Franscisco Santiago Hall in his honor. 

Visit Listen to popular Kundiman songs sung by the country’s best singers.

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