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Levi Celerio is a prolific lyricist and composer for

decades. He effortlessly translated/wrote anew
the lyrics to traditional melodies: “O Maliwanag
Na Buwan” (Iloko), “Ako ay May Singsing”
(Pampango), “Alibangbang” (Visaya) among

Born in Tondo, Celerio received his scholarship at

the Academy of Music in Manila that made it
possible for him to join the Manila Symphony
Orchestra, becoming its youngest member. He
made it to the Guinness Book of World Records
as the only person able to make music using just
a leaf.

A great number of his songs have been written

for the local movies, which earned for him the
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Film
Academy of the Philippines. Levi Celerio, more
importantly, has enriched the Philippine music for no less than two generations
with a treasury of more than 4,000 songs in an idiom that has proven to appeal
to all social classes.

Levi Celerio was born on April 30, 1910, in Tondo, Manila to parents that hailed
from Baliuag, Bulacan. He received a scholarship to the Academy of Music in
Manila and became the youngest member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
He wrote several number of songs for local movies, which earned for him the
Lifetime Achievement Award of the Film Academy of the Philippines. Celerio has
written lyrics for more than 4,000 Filipino folk, Christmas, and love songs, including
many that became movie titles.

Known for being a good lyricist, his songs cherish life, convey 'nationalistic
sentiments and utter grand philosophies. Celerio wrote more than 4,000 songs,
among them are popular pieces, which many consider to be immortal. At one
time or another, no Filipino could miss the tune or lyrics of Levi's Christmas songs:
Pasko na Naman, Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon (Ang Pasko ay
Sumapit), and Misa de Gallo.

His more popular love songs include: Saan Ka Man Naroroon?, Kahit Konting
Pagtingin, Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, Kapag Puso'y Sinugatan, and Ikaw, O
Maliwanag na Buwan, Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak, Sa Ugoy ng Duyan, and
Sapagkat Kami'y Tao Lamang, while his folk songs include Ang Pipit, Tinikling,
Tunay na Tunay, Itik-Itik, Waray-Waray, Pitong Gatang, Ako ay May Singsing,
Alibangbang, Alembong, Galawgaw, Caprichosa, Ang Tapis ni Inday,
Dungawin Mo Hirang, Umaga na Neneng, Ikaw Kasi, and Basta't Mahal Kita.
Celerio also wrote nationalistic songs such as Bagong Pagsilang, Lupang
Pangarap, and Tinig ng Bayan.

Celerio, for a time, was also recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records
as the only man who could play music with a leaf. Because of his talent, Celerio
was invited to The Merv Griffin Show, where he played "All the Things You Are"
with 39 musicians. Using his leaf, Levi wowed the crowd and got the attention of
the Guinness Book of World Records. The Book later listed the entry: "The only
leaf player in the world is in the Philippines". He would also later appear on That's
Composer, pianist, and teacher Nicanor
Santa Ana Abelardo was born in San
Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan, on February
7, 1893. He was the son of a photographer,
Valentin Abelardo, and a church singer,
Placida Santa Ana.

At age five the young Abelardo learned

solfeggio and how to play the bandurria
from his father. A year later, he was already
able to play the William Tell Overture on the
guitar. At age eight, he already composed
a waltz, “Ang Unang Buko,” which he
dedicated to his grandmother. He later
learned to play the piano while working for
his uncle, painter Juan Abelardo, in Manila,
where he studied in primary schools.

The prodigiously talented Abelardo started

teaching music in schools in San Ildefonso and San Miguel, Bulacan, when he
was barely 15 years old. Before he enrolled at the University of the Philippines
Conservatory of Music, he worked as a pianist in pubs and theaters in Manila.
At U.P. Abelardo won first prize for “U.P. Beloved” in a competition for the
university hymn. 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.

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 compositions, including Nasaan Ka Irog?, Kundiman
ng Luha, Mutya ng Pasig, and Bituing Marikit.

He died on March 21, 1934, at the age of 41. He left behind his wife, Sixta
Naguiat, and their six children. He also left 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.
Julian Felipe, composer of the Philippine
National Anthem, was born in Cavite on
January 28, 1861, to parents Justo Felipe
and Victoria Reyes. His musical talent
began to be honed when he was 10
years old, under the instruction of
Leandro Cosca. After Cosca’s death,
Pedro Catalan, a Recollect priest, taught
him to play the piano.

Catalan later employed him as an

organist at the San Pedro Parish Church
in Cavite. Felipe also taught music at a
girls’ school, La Sagrada Familia.

A prolific composer, Felipe produced

such pieces as Aurorita, Danza (Early
Dawn Danza), Cintas y Flores (Ribbons
and Flowers), and Motete al Santisimo
(Motet to the Most Holy). Owing to these
works, he became a member of the prestigious Santa Cecilia Musical Society.

A patriot, Felipe joined the Philippine Revolution in 1896. His participation in the
uprising resulted in imprisonment at Fort Santiago together with the “13 Martyrs
of Cavite.” The “13 Martyrs” were sentenced to death, but Felipe was found
innocent and was eventually released on June 2, 1897.

When Emilio Aguinaldo came to power, he commissioned Felipe to compose

“something stirring and majestic which can inspire our men to fight the enemy—
something which embodies the noble ideals of our race.” Thus, the
composition Marcha Nacional Filipina, also known as Himno Nacional
Filipino was born (see The Philippine National Anthem).

Felipe was elected councilor of Cavite after the Philippine–American War. He

was also appointed director of the Banda Nacional of the first Philippine
Republic in 1899, and served as bandmaster of the US Navy in May 1904. His
other works include Philippines, My Philippines, and Un Recuerdo, which is
dedicated to the “13 Martyrs of Cavite.” He died in Sampaloc, Manila, on
October 2, 1944.
A composer, conductor and teacher who
loved his country as much as he loved music,
Lucio D. San Pedro was hailed a National Artist
in Music in 1991. Like those of his cousin,
National Artist in Painting Carlos “Botong”
Francisco, his works contain folk elements that
can be found in Philippine culture. Moreover,
his works span a wide range, including
cantatas, chamber music, choral works,
concertos for violin and orchestra, music for
violin and piano, and songs for solo violin. Born
in 1913, San Pedro completed an
undergraduate degree in music at the
University of the Philippines College of Music,
with a double major in Composition and
Conducting, which he finished in five years
instead of eight. After that, he continued his
musical training at the Julliard School of Music.

Later, he taught at the UP College of Music, where he eventually became

Professor Emeritus. He was also chairman of the Theory Composition
Department. With a Ph.D. in Humanities, he taught theory, composition and
harmony at Centro Escolar University, La Concordia College, Philippine Normal
University, Philippine Women’s University, Sta. Isabel College, St. Joseph’s
College, St. Paul’s College, and St. Scholastica’s College. San Pedro became
director of Dramatic Philippines, and his career as a conductor included the
Banda Angono Numero Uno, Manila Symphony Orchestra, Musical Philippines
Philharmonic Orchestra, Peng Keng Grand Mason Concert Band, and the San
Pedro Band of Angono, his father’s former band. On March 30, 2002, Lucio San
Jose died at the age of 89. His major compositions include:

 The Devil’s Bridge

 Malakas at Maganda Overture
 Sa Mahal Kong Bayan
 Rizal’s Valedictory Poem
 Lulay
 Sa Ugoy ng Duyan (lyrics by Levi Celerio)
 Dance of the Fairies
 Lahing Kayumanggi
 Angononian March
On April 23, 1934, George Canseco was born
in Naic, Cavite. George Canseco was a
leading Filipino song composer. He is regarded
by music critics as one of the best sentimental
music maker of his time.

His music has become part of the ground on

which Original Pilipino Music stand on. Most of
his songs were interpreted by the country's ace
balladeer, Basil Valdez, whose career as a solo
artist took fortunate turns when he recorded
"Ngayon at Kailanman" in 1978. The songs

 "Kapantay Ay Langit",
 "Ikaw",
 "Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan",
 "Paano",
 "Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas",
 "Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan",
 "Hiram",
 "Kahapon Lamang" and
 "Dito Ba?"

are but a few of Canseco's around 300 compositions, all defining what classic
hits should be.

Born George Masangkay Canseco, he studied at the Naic Elementary School

and Jose Abad Santos high school. He then finished journalism at the University
of the East even worked for the Philippines Herald and Associated Press where
he was an editor. While working, he still played his own music until film producer
and Vicor Music owner Vic del Rosario discovered him along with cousin Orly
Ilacad. The composer went on to work as vice president of Vicor Music in the 60s
and 70s.

Today in Philippine history, April 23, 1934, George Canseco was born in Naic,
Cavite Aside from being a journalist, he also worked part time as a scriptwriter
for the Manila Broadcasting Company and news director at Eagle

Canseco began devoting himself into writing music when Martial Law broke out
in 1972, seeing that press freedom was being contained in that time. It was
during this period when Canseco was commissioned by former Philippines First
lady, Imelda Marcos, to compose the national tribute hymn, "I Am a Filipino"
(Ako Ay Pilipino).

Meeting Del Rosario proved to be the event that would turn his life around as
Canseco wrote for the Megastar Sharon Cuneta the song "High School Life" and
"Langis At Tubig" in the 1980s. The producer's faith in Canseco's craft had never
worn out as Canseco was even able to fill in lyrics for other composers like Willy
Cruz, Homer Flores and Ryan Cayabyab, thus he went further from his own
compositions and joined expert hands with other composers throughout his

Canseco's songs caused some of our most talented performers to rise to fame.
With songs hitting where it really hurts or loving where there's already love,
Canseco's songs defined a part in the lives of Regine Velasquez, Zsazsa Padilla,
Pilita Corrales, Dulce, Kuh Ledesma aside from Basil Valdez and Sharon Cuneta.
Canseco's last recorded love song made its way to Martin Nievera's 2002 album.

His manner of writing songs was as unusual as his gift as he can draw bittersweet
emotion from some imagined experience, play it over and over his head before
he would form melodies on paper. Unlike most masters of music, Canseco did
not train in formal schools of music. Instead, he self studied piano and learned to
interpret, write and compose notes at a very early age. His parents weren't into
music as well. His father Jose Canseco was a doctor while mother Cerafina, a
mathematician. Canseco was the youngest of three children.

Canseco became the president of the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors

and Publishers or FILSCAP in 1973. He won by a landslide in 1988 as a councilor in
the fourth district of Quezon City.

His very first composition was "I'll Never Be Yours" followed by "You're all I Love."
He translated the latter into Tagalog which became the theme song for the
Eddie Rodriguez movie "Kapantay Ay Langit," the song that brought Canseco to
immense popularity. From there, Canseco wrote.

 "Rain,"
 "Kailangan Kita",
 "Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo",
 "Kastilyong Buhangin",
 "Dito Ba", and
 "Langis At Tubig".

From Canseco's pen came eternal Original Pilipino Music. Most of which
interpreted by the country's ace balladeer, Basil Valdez, whose career as a solo
artist took fortunate turns when he recorded "Ngayon at Kailanman" in 1978.
In movies, Canseco became musical director for films like "Burlesk Queen",
"Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak", "Atsay" and "Miss X;" and wrote the most
unforgettable movie theme songs in "Kapantay Ay Langit" (which was named
best theme song in 1971).

The following compositions all won best theme songs for Canseco from the
FAMAS awards:

 "Imortal" (for the 1989 Metro Manila Film Festival)

 "Langis At Tubig" (1980)
 "Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan" (1982)
 "Paano Ba Ang Mangarap" (1983)
 "Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin" (1984)
 "Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit" (1991)
 Other songs that earned him best theme trophies are "Hiram" and
"Sinasamba Kita."

His english track "True Love Came Too Late" was named Awit Awards song of the
year in 1984 while Dulce's rendition of "Ako Ang Nagwagi, Ako Ang Nasawi"
bagged the grand prize in 1979 at the World Song Festival in Hong Kong.
Afterwhich, "Ngayon," another song interpreted by Basil Valdez earned the
grand nod from Likha Awit Pambata Songwriting Contest and Artistic
Achievement Award at the Pacific Song Contests in Sydney, Australia.

George Canseco, who is said to be the grandson of Don Telesforo Canseco the
first caretaker of the historic Casa Hacienda de Naic, died of complications
from liver disease and lung cancer on November 19, 2004 in Manila.
Dr. Francisco Santiago was born on
the 29th of January, 1889 in Santa
Maria, Bulacan, Philippines. He was
a composer, pianist, teacher and
film director. His parents were
Felipe and Maria Santiago. He
married Concepcion de Leon in
1923 and they had four children.

The young Francisco had his

elementary education at the
Colegio de San Juan de Letran. He
finished high school at the Liceo de
Manila. When he was seven years
old, he took piano lessons from a
private tutor. After three years, he
studied pianoforte under Blas
Echegoyen, and then Faustino
Villacorta and Primo Calzada. Because his family was poor, he had to support
himself throughout school.

When the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music was founded in

1916, he was taken in as a piano instructor. He studied advanced harmony and
counterpoint under Robert Schofield. Dr. Santiago obtained his teacher's
certificate in science and composition from the University of the Philippines in
1922. He obtained his masters in music at the Conservatory of Chicago, USA in
1924 and his doctorate at the Chicago Music School in the same year. It was
there that he presented his Concerto in B flat minor for pianoforte and
orchestra, which is considered his masterpiece. He returned to the Philippines in
1925 and resumed teaching at the University of the Philippines.1 He became the
director at the UP Conservatory of Music from 1930 to 1946. He was appointed
Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines.

Among Dr. Santiago's popular kundimans are "Sakali Man" and "Hibik ng
Pilipinas" (1917); "Pakiusap" (1921); "Ang Pag-ibig" (1922); "Ano Kaya Ang
Kapalaran?" (1938). Among his undated kundimans are "Hatol Hari Kaya?";
"Aking Bituin" and "Pagsikat ng Araw". The kundiman entitled "Kundiman, Anak
Dalita", which he wrote in 1917, was sung before the Royal court of Spain under
the request of King Alfonso II.2
Among his works in the classical genre are the "Philippine Overture" and the
"Sonata Filipina in D flat Major" written in 1922. The latter is the "first sonata written
in the Philippines introducing Philippine musical themes" according to the films,
among which are "Kundiman", "Leron-leron Sinta", "Madaling Araw", "Manilena",
and "Pakiusap" (the movie which was inspired by his own composition). Dr.
santiago also composed a version of "Ave Maria" for high voice with violin
obligato in 1919. He did musical transcriptions of "Ay, Kalisud!" (1928); "Ang
Kumintang", "Kura-kura" (a Jolo folk song) and "Hawi-hawi" (an Aeta folk song).
These last three pieces are undated. He also composed "Sumilang na Ang
Manunubos" in 1932, a Philippine Christmas carol, which according to
composer, Antonio Molina, is the "first Philippine Christmas carol ever written for
mixed chorus and symphony orchestra."3 Dr. Francisco Santiago wrote the
music of the sarswela, "Si Margaritang Mananahi" in 1913, with libretto by
Severino Reyes.

Dr. Francisco Santiago died on the 28th of September, 1947. He was

posthumously given the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award by the City of
Manila in 1968.
Antonio Molina (26 December
1894 – 29 January 1980) was a
Filipino composer, conductor and
music administrator. He was
named a unknown for his services
to music. He was also known as
the Claudia Debussy of the
Philippines due to his use of
impressionism in music. Molina
was born in Quiapo, Manila, the
son of Juan Molina, a government
official, who founded the Molina
Orchestra. He attended the
Escuela Catolica de Nuestro
Padre Jesus Nazareno in Quiapo,
Manila, and college at San Juan
De Letran where he was awarded
a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1909.
Molina made his first composition in 1912 titled Matinal, which is preserved in an
unpublished volume called Miniaturas, Vol. 1. He was appointed to teach
harmony, composition, music history, and violincello at the UP Conservatory of
Music, pursuing a career in music education until being appointed dean of the
Centro Escolar Conservatory of Music. He founded the CEU String Quartet which
was professionally organized and financed by its music school. As a composer
Molina is credited with over 500 compositions.

Antonio J. Molina, versatile musician, composer, music educator was the last of
the musical triumvirate, two of whom were Nicanor Abelardo and Francisco
Santiago, who elevated music beyond the realm of folk music. At an early age,
he took to playing the violoncello and played it so well it did not take long
before he was playing as orchestra soloist for the Manila Grand Opera House.
Molina is credited with introducing such innovations as the whole tone scale,
pentatonic scale, exuberance of dominant ninths and eleventh cords, and
linear counterpoints. As a member of the faculty of the UP Conservatory, he had
taught many of the country’s leading musical personalities and educators like
Lucresia Kasilag and Felipe de Leon. Molina’s most familiar composition is
Hatinggabi, a serenade for solo violin and piano accompaniment. Other works
are (orchestral music) Misa Antoniana Grand Festival Mass, Ang Batingaw,
Kundiman- Kundangan; (chamber music) Hating Gabi, String Quartet, Kung sa
Iyong Gunita, Pandangguhan; (vocal music) Amihan, Awit ni Maria Clara,
Larawan Nitong Pilipinas, among others.
Jose Maceda

Jose Maceda, composer, musicologist, teacher and performer, explored the

musicality of the Filipino deeply. Maceda embarked on a life-long dedication to
the understanding and popularization of Filipino traditional music. Maceda’s
researches and fieldwork have resulted in the collection of an immense number
of recorded music taken from the remotest mountain villages and farthest island
communities. He wrote papers that enlightened scholars, both Filipino and
foreign, about the nature of Philippine traditional and ethnic music. Maceda’s
experimentation also freed Filipino musical expression from a strictly Eurocentric

Usually performed as a communal ritual, his compositions like Ugma-

ugma(1963), Pagsamba (1968), and Udlot-udlot (1975), are monuments to his
unflagging commitment to Philippine music. Other major works
include Agungan, Kubing, Pagsamba, Ugnayan, Ading, Aroding, Siasid, Suling-
Jose Maceda, composer, musicologist,
teacher and performer, explored the musicality
of the Filipino deeply. Maceda embarked on a
life-long dedication to the understanding and
popularization of Filipino traditional music.
Maceda’s researches and fieldwork have
resulted in the collection of an immense
number of recorded music taken from the
remotest mountain villages and farthest island
communities. He wrote papers that
enlightened scholars, both Filipino and foreign,
about the nature of Philippine traditional and
ethnic music. Maceda’s experimentation also
freed Filipino musical expression from a strictly
Eurocentric mold.

Usually performed as a communal ritual, his

compositions like Ugma-ugma(1963), Pagsamba (1968), and Udlot-udlot (1975),
are monuments to his unflagging commitment to Philippine music. Other major
works include Agungan, Kubing, Pagsamba, Ugnayan, Ading, Aroding, Siasid,

As an ethnomusicologist, Maceda investigated various forms of music in

Southeast Asia, producing numerous papers and even composing his own
pieces for Southeast Asian instruments. His notable works include: Pagsamba for
116 instruments, 100 mixed and 25 male voices (1968); Cassette 100 for 100
cassette players (1971); Ugnayan for 20 radio stations (1974); Udlot-Udlot for
several hundred to several thousand people (1975); Suling-Suling for 10 flutes, 10
bamboo buzzers and 10 flat gongs (1985). In 1977, Maceda aimed to study
Philippine folk songs which he describes as having more focus on rhythm rather
than time measure.[2] From the 1990s, he also composed for Western orchestra
and piano. The examples are: Distemperament for orchestra (1992); Colors
without Rhythm for orchestra (1999); Sujeichon for 4 pianos (2002).

Jose Maceda collected audio records materials of traditional music amongst

various populations in Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, part of these audio
archives are deposited in the CNRS – Musée de l’Homme audio archives in
France (a digitized version is available online). His entire musical collections were
inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2007, as submitted by
the U.P. Center for Ethnomusicology and nominated by the Philippine
Filipino composer of interdisciplinary works that
have been performed in Asia, Europe and
North America; he is also active as a
musicologist. Mr. Baes studied composition with
Ramón Pagayon Santos at the University of the
Philippines Diliman in Quezon City from 1977–
82, where he earned his BMus in composition.
He also studied musicology there with José
Maceda from 1982–85. He later studied
composition and musical politics with Mathias
Spahlinger at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg
in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1992–94. He
finished his PhD in Filipino studies at the
University of the Philippines Diliman in 2004 with
his dissertation Modes of Appropriation in
Philippine Indigenous Music: The Politics of the
Production of 'Cultural Difference'.

Among his honours are the CCP-LFC Composition Prize (1980, for Awit ng Ibon)
and three awards from the chancellor, which earned him the Hall of Fame
Award for best research at the University of the Philippines, entitled Gawad
Chancellor para sa Pinakamahusay na Mananaliksik (2001–03). He later
received the Nippon Foundation Senior Fellowship for Asian Public Intellectuals

As a musicologist, he has undertaken much research into the music of the

Philippines and has written extensively about it in articles for publications in
Australia, Germany, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK, and the USA. He
contributed articles on the politics of the music of the Philippines to Perfect Beat:
The Pacific Journal of Research on Contemporary Music and Popular Culture
(1998, 2001–02, Macquarie University, Sydney) and Changing Sounds: New
Directions and Configurations in Popular Music (2000, edited by Toni Mitchell,
University of Technology, Sydney). He also wrote articles on José Maceda and
Ramón Pagayon Santos for Komponisten der Gegenwart (2002–03, edited by
Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer, edition text + kritik). He later wrote the article
Mangyan Internal Refugees and Spaces of Low-Intensity Conflict in the
Philippines for the journal SHIMA: The International Journal of Research into Island
Cultures (2007, Small Island Cultures Research Initiative, Macquarie University).

He has taught analysis and composition at the University of the Philippines

Diliman since 1996. He has lectured in Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia,
Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam.
Ramon Pagayon Santos, composer,
conductor and musicologist, is currently the
country’s foremost exponent of
contemporary Filipino music. A prime figure
in the second generation of Filipino
composers in the modern idiom, Santos has
contributed greatly to the quest for new
directions in music, taking as basis non-
Western traditions in the Philippines and
Southeast Asia.

He graduated in 1965 from the UP College of

Music with a Teacher’s Diploma and a
Bachelor of Music degree in both
Composition and Conducting. Higher studies
in the United States under a Fulbright
Scholarship at Indiana University (for a
Master’s degree, 1968) and at the State
University of New York at Buffalo (for a
Doctorate, 1972) exposed him to the world
of contemporary and avant-garde musical
idioms: the rigorous processes of serialism, electronic and contemporary music,
indeterminacy, and new vocal and improvisational techniques. He received
further training in New Music in Darmstadt, Germany and in Utrecht, the
Netherlands. His initial interest in Mahler and Debussy while still a student at UP
waned as his compositional style shifted to Neo Classicism and finally to a
distinct merging of the varied influences that he had assimilated abroad.

His return to the Philippines marked a new path in his style. After immersing
himself in indigenous Philippine and Asian (Javanese music and dance, Chinese
nan kuan music), he became more interested in open-ended structures of time
and space, function as a compositional concept, environmental works, non-
conventional instruments, the dialectics of control and non-control, and the
incorporation of natural forces in the execution of sound-creating tasks. All these
would lead to the forging of a new alternative musical language founded on a
profound understanding and a thriving and sensitive awareness of Asian music
aesthetics and culture.

Simultaneous with this was a reverting back to more orthodox performance

modes: chamber works and multimedia works for dance and theatre.
Panaghoy (1984), for reader, voices, gongs and bass drum, on the poetry of
Benigno Aquino, Jr. was a powerful musical discourse on the fallen leader’s
assassination in 1983, which subsequently brought on the victorious People
Power uprising in 1986.

An active musicologist, Santos’ interest in traditional music cultures was

heretofore realized in 1976 by embarking on fieldwork to collect and document
music from folk religious groups in Quezon. He has also done research and
fieldwork among the Ibaloi of Northern Luzon. His ethnomusicological orientation
has but richly enhanced his compositional outlook. Embedded in the works of
this period are the people-specific concepts central to the ethnomusicological
discipline, the translation of indigenous musical systems into modern musical
discourse, and the marriage of Western and non-Western sound.

An intense and avid pedagogue, Santos, as Chair of the Department of

Compositiion and Theory (and formerly, as Dean) of the College of Music, UP,
has remained instrumental in espousing a modern Philippine music rooted in old
Asian practices and life concepts. With generation upon generation of students
and teachers that have come under his wing, he continues to shape a legacy
of modernity anchored on the values of traditional Asian music.