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MANUEL P. MARAMBA, OSB

        When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century to colonize and evangelize the people of the Philippine archipelago, they found natives whose culture included much music. Their cultural rites, whether religious or social included chanting and singing often accompanied by drums and other percussive instruments, blown instruments and some strings instruments. The Spanish educational system was established in 1596, a few decades after the establishment of Spanish rule. The Filipinos were taught to play musical instruments such as the guitar, flute, violin, harp and later the organ and the piano. In 1587, the first boy’s choir was organized by the Dominican convent of Sto. Domingo to which a school of music was attached later. In the Augustinian Convent of Guadalupe, the first Filipino orchestra was founded in 1601 and Fray Juan de Torres established the Manila orchestra in 1643. In 1742, the Archbishop of Manila, Juan Miguel Rodriguez ordered that a boy’s choir be organized. Thus, the Colegio de Tiples dela Santa Iglesia Catedral was founded. The school was given a curriculum patterned after that of the Conservatory of Madrid. The young boys were taught solfegio, vocalization, composition, organ, and stringed instruments. The Japanese invasion of Word War II saw the demise of the Colegio de Tiples. In 1960’s, the Colegio was revived for a few years.

       In the 19th century, writers mentioned the piano as not uncommonly found in the houses of the hacienderos (landed gentry) and illustrados (educated gentry) . Hired teachers went from house to house teaching the young ( mainly young ladies) to play the piano. The system continues today with teachers still going to private homes to instruct children and even adults in piano, voices, guitar, etc. During the Colonial period, music was either religious, those performed in churches and extra liturgical celebrations, or social or performed in homes for entertaiment during fiestas and other festivities.

       In 1906 the pioneering group of the Missionary Benedictine Sister of Tutzing arrived in Manila and one of the pioneer sisters, Sr. Winfreda Muller, OSB started giving music instructions. In 1907 came Sr. Baptista Battig, OSB, a German sister who was a concert pianist before she entered the convent and a pupil of a famous German pedagogue, Ludwig Deppe. She gave two public concerts in 1901 and 1911 and by 1981, St. Scholastica was offering courses in the music sciences. In 1920. Patrocinco Garcia gave her graduation recital and received the Music Teacher’s Diploma, the first to graduate from Music Tertiary Level course. In 1926, the course of Bachelor of Music was offered, which required original compositions to be performed at the graduation recital. In 1927, after a recital of her compositions, Sr. Baptista Battig, OSB was conferred the degree of Master of Arts in Music in the presence of government commissioners and representatives of the faculty of the University of Sto. Tomas, the first graduate degree in Music to be conferred in the island. In 1937, the school offered the degree of Master of Music, which included original orchestra/chamber compositions to be performed at the graduation rites.

       Meanwhile, on Feb. 4, 1961, the Philippine Legislature Act No. 2623 “appropriated the sum of P10, 000 to be expended in the establishment, installation and the maintenance in the City of Manila of a school of Music that shall also be a department of the University of the Philippine “. The first director (1916-1902) was George Wallace, a voice professor from the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, Massachusetts, USA). It was during the term of the second director, Robert L. Schofield (1920-1924) that Rosario Lopez-Quintos received the first Soloist diploma given by the School (SY 1924). The term of the 3rd director , Robert Schofield (1924-1930) saw the formation of UP Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. In 1930, the Bachelor of Music Degree was offered for the first time during the term of the 4th director, Dr. Francisco Santiago (1930-1946), the first Filipino to occupy the position. In 1931, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the conservatory performed for the first time under the baton of the director. In 1933, the first Bachelor of music graduates earned their diplomas: Julio Esteban Anguita, piano (future director of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music); Juan S. Hernandez, composition (noted professor and famous composer); Isabel de Padua, voice (diva and revered voice teacher), Veneranda Acayan, violin (first woman concert violinist and professor).

       Centro Scholar University (CEU), (which was founded in 1907 as Centro Escolar de las Señoritas) had a Music department under the direction of the famous composer Francisco Buencamino, Sr. It was only in 1930 that the department was elevated to a Conservatory of Music with Buencamino as its first director. It was at this time that the CEU Rondalla and the CEU Choir were organized.

       Santa Isabel College opened its music department in 1930 with Sr. Cecilia Maronilla, DC, a UP Music Graduate as its first head. In 1938, the government recognized its Music Teacher’s Course in piano and voice. Its first two graduates gave their graduation recitals in 1941.

      The Philippine Women University (PWU) offered music lessons in 1925, a few years after its founding. The Department of Music was organized in 1939. Dean Felicing Tirona established The Philippine Conservatory of Music, an affiliate school of PWU from 1943-1944. These pre-war years also saw the establishment of a music department in Silliman University, a school founded by American Protestant Missionaries in Dumaguete City.

      Some pre-war music schools are worth mentioning although they did not survive the War years: Colegio de Sta. Rosa, one of whose students was Jacinta Flores-Yatco (mother of concert violinist and conductor Oscar Yatco); the Academy of Music (1930) founded by Alexander Lippay; and Manila Conservatory of Music (1934) founded by Rodolfo Cornejo.

       Although several institutions were offering Tertiary level music courses at the outbreak of the second World War, only 2 institutions were granting Bachelor of Music degrees namely UP Conservatory of Music and the Music Department of St. Scholastica’s College (with the latter also offering a Master of Music degree course). Graduates and professors of these two institutions (and Lippay’s Academy of Music) founded and established new music schools. However, a marked decrease in the enrolment during the 1970s would cause the demise of the following schools: Holy Ghost College, St. Theresa’s College, Stella Maris College, La Consolacion College, St. Mary’s College, Laperal Music Academy, University Manila, National University, Valencia School of Music, etc. In 1964, National Artist Antonio Buenaventura founded the University of the East School of Fine Arts, which included a Music Department. It is there that the piano pedagogue, Rosario Picazo, taught the young piano prodigy Cecile Licad.

      Today the Conservatory of Music with the largest enrolment (650) is the Conservatory of Music of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas. The music department opened its doors in 1946 with Manuel Cuerva as its first director and Fr. Gregorio Garcia, OP as its founding Regent. In 1947, Julio Esteban Anguita was appointed the 2nd director. The CCP Encyclopedia biographers of Anguita mentioned that he was the chair of the music curriculum Committee of the Bureau of Education that “introduced the Bachelor and Master of degrees in Music in private schools base on the standards of American conservatories.” In 1948, the Conservatory started to offer the Teacher’s Diploma and the Bachelor of Music degree in Applied Music, Composition and Theory. Band conducting was offered as a new major in school year 1951. Almost from the start, the students of the Conservatory garnered top prizes in competitions. In 1955, during the term of Bernardino Custodio (1957-1961), the Master of Music degree in Applied Music, Composition, and Theory was offered in the UST Graduate School. In 1961, National Artist Antonio Buenaventura became Director (1961-1964) and founded the UST Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. When Sergio Esmilla Jr. took over (1964-1968), a new major was added: Music Education in 1964, and a preparatory department was established. When the noted concert pianist Benjamin Tupas became director (1968-1972), Guitar and Jazz courses were introduced. His approach to music education was geared towards excellent performances. Stella Brimo was appointed (1972-1980) after Tupas and became the first lady director of the school followed by Dr. Alejandra Atabug (1980-1992). There was a short-lived dance department during the incumbency of Dean Stella Brimo. Under these two deans, the woodwind and the brass wind departments as well as the string and piano, and voice departments tutored future winners in various competitions that included the National Music Competition for Young Artist (NAMCYA), Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO), and Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines (PTGP) competitions. The wind program that produced the UST Brass Quintet and UST Woodwind Quintet (both NAMCYA winners) evolved into the UST Symphony Band with Herminigildo Ranera as director and UST Symphony Orchestra with Cecinio Ronquillo as first resident conductor (1987). The present conductor of the Symphony Orchestra is Renato Lucas*.

       During the administration of incumbent dean, Erlinda Fule, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) designated the UST Conservatory of Music as one of the two Centers of Excellence for Music – the other is the UP College of Music. Under Dean Fule’s direction, the UST Annual Summer Music Camp and Music Festival was enhanced with the addition of the Post-College Bridging Program for Elementary and High School Teachers sponsored by CHED where they can earn 72 credit hours for promotion and professional advancement. The NCCA, CCP, and UST subsidize the Summer Music Program in cooperation with local government units and the church sector (diocesan and parochial). In the first semester (1998-1999), the Conservatory gave its first seminar on “The Music Component in the Humanities Course in College”. The UST Conservatory of Music offers a Teachers Diploma for all instruments, voice, music theory, composition as well as conducting, which may be choral, orchestral, or both. Also offered is an Artist Diploma in the performances. A Diploma for Sacred Music was recently introduced. Undergraduate Courses leading to a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, Pedagogy, Music Education with emphasis in Voice, Instruments, Conducting (choral, orchestra or band), Rondalla, Composition and Theory. It also offers Graduate courses leading to Master in Music Degree. It also offers a Doctoral Program and a research program. To date, beside the already mentioned UST Symphony Orchestra and the UST Symphony Band, the Conservatory has three choral groups: the Coro Tomasino, the Liturgikon (specializing in liturgical music) and an All-male Choir led by Antonio Africa. (The UST Singers, a university-wide singing group that was initially based in the Conservatory of Music, is internationally recognized for winning various international competitions.) It also has a Jazz Band (25 members), a String Quartet, A Faculty Brass Quintet, a Guitar Ensemble, a Saxophone Group and a Clarinet Quartet.

       Closed during the War years, the UP College of Music opened its doors in 1946 with Ramon Tapales as the new director (1946-1967). During his term, the curriculum was revised to include General Education subjects for the degree of Bachelor of Music. In 1962, the UP Concert Choir was organized under the director’s leadership of Juan Ramos (future dean) as his assistant. Year 1963 saw the formation of the UP Madrigal Singers by National Artist for Music Andrea Ofilada Veneracion. The Master of Music course was introduced in 1963 and Bachelor of Music major in Music Education in 1966. Under Eliseo Pajaro (1967-1968), the Preparatory department for children was established. He also became the first dean of the College of Music. During Dr. Ruby K. Mangahas’ term (1969-1977), the BM in Music Literature and BM in Theory were offered (1971). Six types of curriculum programs were also established: Graduate, Undergraduate, Diploma, Certificate, Special Training course for members of the Philippine Army Band including a Preparatory course for children. 1975 saw the emergence of the Philippine Youth Orchestra with Sergio Esmilla, Sr. as music director. At this time, the UP Madrigal Singers, the UP Concert Chorus and UP Cherubin/Seraphin attained international prominence.

       During Ramon Santos’s term (1978-1988), a highly selective and admission policy was implemented. The Bachelor of Music course was strengthened and re-structured into a 5-year program. New majors were introduced like Dance, Asian Music, and a post-baccalaureate program in Ethnomusicology. The Diploma in Creative Performance and Musical Arts (DCPMA) replaced other course offerings. The researches and studies on Philippine Ethnic Music of National Artist Jose Maceda made Filipinos more aware and appreciative of their ethnic cultural heritage.

       The term of Juan Ramos (1988-1996) saw the improvement of facilities and infrastructure supports of the College. Two new college-based performing groups came into existence: the UP Musika Asya (Philippine Gong Orchestra) and the Koto ensemble. A three-year certificate of specialization was introduced in the revised Master of Music Curriculum Program. In 1998, UP College of Music (with UST Conservatory of Music) was appointed by CHED as a Center of Excellence for Music.

       The College of Music offers two types of courses in the undergraduate level: a five year Bachelor of Music curriculum with major in instruments, voice, composition, music education, and Musicology; and a four-year diploma course in the creative and performing musical arts. A 3-year certificate program primarily for the performing arts is also offered with majors in the instruments, voice, musicology and conducting.

       During the Japanese occupation, the music department of St. Scholastica opened its door with Sr. Regintrudis Mayer as head. The Filipino Youth Symphony Orchestra was organized in St. Scholastica by Luis Valencia. During the Occupation, Sr. M. Cecilia Donato, OSB was the lone Master of Music graduate, and quite expectedly, the school also produced its first male graduate-Basilio Manalo, among 13 Music Teacher Music Diploma graduates.

       After the war, Sr. Gunfrida Schneyer, OSB (1946-1960) was appointed Dean. In 1951, the Bachelor of Music curriculum was revised with majors in piano and music sciences. A new course, Bachelor of Arts, major in Music, was introduced. During the term of Sr. Scholastica M. Benitez, OSB (1960-1976), Music Education was included in the B.M. curriculum. From 1968-1974, a Master of Arts in Education, major in Music Education was offered in consortium with De La Salle University. A new pipe organ was blessed in the college chapel in 1971. Dean Sr. M. Placid Abejar was appointed in 1976. The Philippine Research for the Development of Instrumental Soloist (PREDIS) was organized in 1984 and was based in St. Scholastica. In 1990, the Kabataang St. Scholastica Symphony Band (an outreach Program) was founded. The products of the PREDIS and the Symphonic Band programs eventually formed the Core of Manila Youth Symphony Orchestra, first under the leadership of Basillo Manalo, and presently under the baton of Arturo Molina.*

       The College of Music of St. Scholastica’s College offers an undergraduate music program, Bachelor of Music with major in piano, voice, instruments, and music education. It now implements a Master of Music program in piano pedagogy.

       In 1948, a new director, National Artist Antonio Molina was appointed Dean Of CEU (1948-1970) Conservatory of Music. Under his tenure, the curriculum was formalized and 5 departments were organized: piano, violin, voice, composition, and musical science. New courses were introduced including a course leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Filipino Music. The conservatory offers a Bachelor of Music degree in performance, theory, composition, and conducting.

       Sta. Isabel College of Music department bestowed its First Bachelor of Music degree in performance in 1951. With Sor. Catalina Ledesma, DC as the new dean after the war, a new major in Music Education was offered as well as an undergraduate degree Major in Marimba. The Soloist course in piano was introduced when Ben Tupas, Ernesto Lejano, and Manuel Maramba joined the faculty. Currently, the Music Department offers a Bachelor of Music degree in performance and Music Education. It also offers the Master of Music degree in piano and music education with Cecilia Basilio Roxas as dean.*

       The Philippine Women’s University College of Music and Fine Arts during and right after the war was ably guided by Dean Felicing Tirona, succeeded by National Artist Dr. Lucresia Kasilag. When Dr. Kasilag was appointed artistic director and later president of the newly established Cultural Center of the Philippines, Vilma Santiago-Felipe succeeded her with Harold Galang as assistant dean. The college offers courses leading to the Bachelor of Music degree, Music Teachers Diploma, Artist Diploma, and Bachelor of Fine Arts. The degree of Master of Music is offered through the Graduate School of the University.

       St. Paul College Music Department opened in January 1940 with Sr. Marie de St. Charles Freitag, SPC as its first head. Sr. Marie Vincent, SPC was director until 1971. In 1949, the Bureau of Private Education recognized the department as a Conservatory of Music and granted it the right to offer the Bachelor of Music degree in piano and voice. In 1957, two majors were added, violin and cello, and in 1960, Marimba, and Music Education. In the early 1950s, the All Girls String Orchestra and the College Glee Club were organized and went on nationwide concert tours. The conservatory today offers undergraduate courses major in Performance and Music Education leading to a Bachelor of Music Degree. *

       The College of Music of La Concordia College, already in existence before the war, was headed for a long time after the war by Sor. Graciana Raymundo, DC.

       During her term, she founded the Gregorian Institute, which granted a certificate in Sacred Music. The institute evolved into the Archdiocesan Institute for Music in liturgy now based in Sta. Isabel College. The current head* is Araceli Concepcion Agoncillo. The College of Music offers undergraduate courses major in performance and Music Education leading to a Bachelor of Music degree.

       There are a few educational institutions outside Metro Manila that offer tertiary level music courses. In Region 1, the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (Southern La Union), Agoo (La Union) offers a Master in Teaching Music degree. In Region IV, the Adventist University of the Philippines in Silang, Cavite have been granting the Bachelor of Music degree since 1955 (current head is Corazon Coo*) In Region V, Colegio de Sta. Isabel, Naga City offers a Bachelor of Music Degree (since 1967) major in piano. Region VI has two institutions: University of St. Agustin, Iloilo City- B.M. in Piano, Voice, Music Education and Theory (since 1967) and West Visayas State University, La Paz, Iloilo offering a Diploma in Music (1993) and B.M. in Music Education (1996).

       In Region VII, Silliman University, Dumaguete City offers a Bachelor of Music degree (1996). Among its students and graduates are a good number of church musicians, conductors, and performers. In Region VIII, Holy Infant College, Tacloban City offers an AB major in Music Arts (1964), Bachelor of Music (1964), and M.A. in Education major in Music Education (1977). In Region X, Lourdes College, Cagayan de Oro offers Bachelor of Music courses (1985) and in Region XI, the University of the Immaculate Concepcion in Davao City offers Bachelor of Music degree (1953).

       At present, there are eight institutions in the National Capital Region that offer Tertiary level music courses. Philippine Normal University offers Bachelor and Master of Science in Education degrees with music as emphasis. The Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM) in Quezon City is patterned after the German system and specializes in Sacred Music. The Paul VI Institute of Liturgy offers also liturgical courses and special modules in liturgical music composition designed for composers. The YAMAHA School of Music System also offers diploma courses in music performance, piano, organ , and instruments. The government recognizes its courses.

       There are non-music tertiary degree programs that contain a course in music appreciation like art appreciation. The CHED aims to implement humanities subject in college that would have a significant music component. UP and UST are now on a CHED program of conducting seminars for teachers of Humanities subject on the music component of the course.

       Tertiary level Music Institutions are obviously concentrated in the National Capital Region. The schools in other regions have much less enrollment and need a more specialized faculty with expertise in various music fields. The CHED, in naming the UST Conservatory of Music Conservatory of Music and the UP College of Music Centers for Excellence in Music, have also tasked the two institutions to share their resources in helping other schools upgrade their curricula and the expertise of their faculty. Cebu City has an evolving music sector with the organization of the Cebu Symphony Orchestra under the aegis of the Sala Music Foundation by Ingrid Sala Santa Maria. A tertiary level music school still has to be established in Cebu since St. Theresa’s College already ceased to offer college courses in music. In Mindanao, the music institutions in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro show promise. Dumaguete City and Iloilo City in the Visayas and Naga City  in Luzon, already have institutions that could be developed into future centers of music excellence for their respective regions.

*1999 data

About the Author:
Manuel P. Maramba, OSB graduated with a Master of Music and an Artist’s Diploma in piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. An active member of the League of Filipino Composers, his major works include “Awakening”, (1981) and a full-length ballet “Seven Mansions”; concerto for Piano (1982); “Transfiguration I” for Strings, Woodwinds, and Bass (1983; and “Transfiguration II”, a sacred cantata on San Lorenzo Ruiz and is responsible for the highly-successful operas “Aba! Sto. Niño” and “La Naval”. He is the Assistant Director of the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and teaches at the UST Conservatory of Music and the Central Seminary.