College of Music has 2 National Artists

By Mariamme D. Jadloc


(JUN. 24)—Two of the six National Artists declared by the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines on Jun. 20, are from the UP Diliman College of Music (CM): Dr. Ramon P. Santos and Dr. Francisco F. Feliciano.

UP university professor emeritus Santos belongs to the new and experimental music group of Filipino composers.  He is cited for his great contributions to the quest for new directions in music in his capacity as composer, conductor and musicologist, taking as basis non-Western traditions and Southeast Asia.

Santos is known worldwide for his extensive works and studies in Philippine traditional and Southeast Asian music.  Some of his most notable compositions are “S’geypo for 16 flutes and drums,” “Alingawngaw II,” “Awit ni Pulao,” “Time-Space for Orchestra,” “Tin-ig for Orchestra,” “Time Improvisations” and “Likas-An II.” Santos’s works have been featured in major festivals in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The director of the UP Center for Ethnomusicology, Santos obtained from UP his Teacher’s Diploma in Music in 1964, and later his Bachelor of Music in 1965.  He later earned his Master of Music (with distinction) from the School of Music, Indiana University in 1969 and PhD from the School of Music, State University of New York at Buffalo in 1972.

Among Santos’s distinctions and awards are: Artist-in-Residence fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy (1999), Artist-in-Residence fellowship at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy (1998), Chevalier dé l’Orde Des Artes et de Lettres of France (1991), Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA, 1984) and Ilaw ng Karunungan (Outstanding Fullbrighter, 1980).

Santos was born on Feb. 25, 1941 in Pasig.

Meanwhile, Feliciano is distinguished for his important contributions as composer, conductor and educator and in bringing worldwide awareness of the Philippines’ unique indigenous music.

One of Asia’s leading figures in liturgical music, Feliciano has created more than 30 major works that include operas and music dramas, “La Loba Negra,” “Ashen Wings,” and “Sikhay sa Kabila ng Paalam” (Beyond the Farewell).  Feliciano’s compositions, including “Pokpok Alimpako,” “Pamugun” and “Salimbayan” are favorite competition pieces of choral choirs across the globe.

Feliciano has conducted internationally renowned orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Moscow State Symphony, in addition to the country’s Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

He was a faculty member of the CM Department of Composition and Theory from 1969 to 1972 and again from 1980 to 1986.  Feliciano founded the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM) in 1980 where he continues to write new songs and supervise the publication of a new Asian hymnal.  AILM is a school for church musicians.  He is also president of Samba-Likhaan Foundation, an organization devoted to the promotion of Asian music and arts and in putting these in the context of worship.

Feliciano is the recipient of the John D. Rockfeller III Award in Music (1977).  Among his awards include the first prize in the Hymn Writing Contest (Archdiocese of Manila, 1970) and the Purita Ponce-Enrile Scholarship in Composition (1962-1964).

Feliciano completed his Teacher’s Diploma (1964), Bachelor of Music (1966) and Master of Music (1972) from the UP Conservatory (now College) of Music (CM), and his Doctor of Musical Arts (with distinction) from Yale University in 1979.

Feliciano was born on Feb. 19, 1942 in Morong, Rizal.

The Order of the National Artists Award (Orden ng Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is the highest state recognition to persons in the arts.  According to the NCCA, it “is the highest recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts, namely Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film and Broadcast Arts, and Architecture and Allied Arts.”

The award is jointly administered by NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines and conferred by the Philippine President upon the two institution’s recommendation.