The winning entry in the NCCA Composers’ Prize 2016 is from the solo instrument category.

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NCCA Arts Section Head Ferdinand Isleta, National Artist Dr. Ramon Santos, Dr. Alfredo Buenaventura, Prof. Josefino Toledo, Competition Director Jed Balsamo, and CEU Conservatory of Music Program Head Angelito Ayran, Jr.. (photo by Skyzx Labastilla of the competition secretariat)

by Jed Balsamo

After the launch of the NCCA Composers’ Prize 2016 earlier in March, the Competition Secretariat received over 20 entries.  Competition Director Jed Balsamo of the Theory & Composition Sector of the National Committee on Music then assembled the jury whose task is to evaluate and scrutinize the submitted compositions worthy to receive the prize for that particular category.  The jury is composed of: Dr. Alfredo Buenaventura, former Dean of the Centro Escolar University (CEU) Conservatory of Music; Prof. Josefino Toledo, a multi-awarded composer and conductor; and Dr. Ramon Santos, National Artist for Music.  The adjudication of this auspicious endeavour took place on 20 June 2016 at the Executive Board Room in CEU Manila.

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From left to right: National Artist Dr. Ramon Santos, Dr. Alfredo Buenaventura, Competition Director Jed Balsamo, and Prof. Josefino Toledo (photo by Skyzx Labastilla of the competition secretariat)

The four categories are for song cycle, any solo instrument, chamber music, and rondalla ensemble.    The standard for selection was so high that, after careful deliberation, the jury decided to award a prize in only one category.  The winning entry is from the solo instrument category entitled “Pagtangis ng Kahapon” from composer Alann Timothy Pacpaco.  This composition uses a great deal of improvisation as well as explores a number of extended playing techniques for the guitar such as sul ponticello (near the bridge), Bartok pizzicato (deliberate placing of the string, and mute, among others, to amplify the intensity and emotion to the listeners.  There are only few original Filipino works written for solo guitar so, this piece shall be a worthy addition to the literature of Philippine guitar music.

The composer explains the piece is entitled as such because until people will start changing how history is taught to students for the better, the rich history of our national identity will continue to “lament” over the complacent and negligent mind of the modern-day Filipino youth.  He ‘hopes to bring reconciliation between himself (as part of today’s youth) and to his miseducation of the past, paying homage to our national history as it is the only way that we recognize ourselves more as a Filipino in its truest sense.’

The 2nd NCCA Composers’ Prize guidelines and mechanics for 2017 is now underway and shall be released soon through the NCCA website  and social media accounts.

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