1. What musical event in UP do you look forward to or regularly attend? Why?
Being from the College of Music, it is hard for me to pick favorites, and I try to attend as many concerts as I can. I particularly enjoy shows that feature Asian and Philippine music because we are the only university that can offer these. I also like contemporary or new music concerts. But I love the various concerts that each of our departments organize, and I relish going to various student recitals because they give me a real sense of what we as an institution are producing. Most of all, I look forward to the Abelardo Hall Concert Series because of the way it reaches out to new audiences through diverse offerings.
2. Name one or two composers, performers (individual or group), or mentors from UP who have largely contributed to Philippine music. Discuss briefly his or her contributions.
Foremost on the list would be Nicanor Abelardo, after whom the college is named. Known mostly for his kundiman, Abelardo was way ahead of other Filipino composers when he began writing in the contemporary idiom. His music remains modern and relevant today. Jose Maceda, on the other hand, made us aware of our musical identity as Filipinos by documenting traditional music, writing about it and conceptualizing new compositional possibilities inspired by his research. He left us his collection, now safeguarded by the UP Center for Ethnomusicology and which continues to be a valuable resource on Philippine music. Finally, there is National Artist Ramon Santos who epitomizes the accomplished Filipino musician—a prolific composer, respected author, dynamic cultural worker and administrator, and inspiring teacher.
3. Aside from the current program offerings of the College of Music, what else do you think should the college offer or promote?
The UP College of Music has played a central role in shaping the country’s concert music tradition through the body of work produced by our venerated composers and the artistry of the performers we have raised since the early 20th century. We have also blazed the trail for scholarship and research in the discipline. However, we need to pay attention to the music that ordinary people encounter everyday outside the concert hall if we want to remain relevant. There should be spaces in our recital halls, classrooms and library shelves for popular music, and by “popular”, I don’t just mean pop, but people’s music. We also need to incubate music programs that relate to physical, mental and social well-being. Finally, we need to have more engagements with the scientific community in areas where we can produce new knowledge and applications.