ERNANI J. CUENCO
National Artist for Music (1999)
(May 10, 1936 – June 11, 1988)
Ernani J. Cuenco is a seasoned musician born on May 10, 1936 in Malolos, Bulacan. A composer, film scorer, musical director, and music teacher, he wrote an outstanding and memorable body of work that resonates with the Filipino sense of musicality and which embody an ingenious voice that raises the aesthetic dimensions of contemporary Filipino music. Cuenco played with the Filipino Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Manila Symphony Orchestra from 1960 to 1968, and the Manila Chamber Soloists from 1966 to 1970. He completed a music degree in piano and cello from the University of Santo Tomas where he also taught for decades until his death in 1988.
His songs and ballads include “Nahan, Kahit na Magtiis,” and “Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa,” “Pilipinas,” “Inang Bayan,” “Isang Dalangin,” “Kalesa,” “Bato sa Buhangin” and “Gaano Kita Kamahal.” The latter song shows how Cuenco has enriched the Filipino love ballad by adding the elements of kundiman to it.