05 March 2016
Abelardo Hall
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

Dr. Ramon P. Santos
National Artist in Music
Emeritus Professor of the UP College of Music

Atty. Ramon Maronilla, Dean Jose Buenconsejo, fellow alumni,

While still a student at the UP Conservatory of Music, my only motivation was to learn as much as I could, pursuing diligently my passion for composition and conducting, studying my solfegge, harmony, dictation, as well as other subjects like languages - Spanish, German, French, even winning First Prize at the Spanish Declamation Contest sponsored by the Department of European Languages. Even before I graduated, I was already conducting different choirs, and directing operettas like the “Mikado and Trial” by Jury Gilbert and Sullivan, “Mapulang Bituin” by Rosendo Santos and “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti. I was still a student when I won the prestigious Bonifacio Centennial Composition Contest Symphonic Ode category in 1962 (with a whopping prize of Ps. I,000) at the awarding ceremonies held at the Luneta Grandstand. During my entire student life, I never thought about earning a living or making money out of music. I was just bent on pursuing knowledge and excellence in my chosen field of endeavour as well as related areas of learning. And up to now, I still aspire to discover new horizons in the field of music and the arts, whether it is in creation, performance, scholarship, education, or administration.

Therefore, my message to you this morning is to be the best you are and never sit on your laurels, because there is no limit to learning no matter what age you have reached.

Another view of things is that you are graduates of the University of the Philippines Conservatory or College of Music, the cradle of excellence for Filipino music, the home of such names as Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago, Francisco Buencamino, Felipe Padilla de Leon, Antonino Buenaventura, Lucio San Pedro, Ernesto Vallejo, Sergio Esmilla, Jovita Fuentes, Evelyn Mandac, Ramon Tapales, Rosendo Santos, Regalado Jose, Eliseo Pajaro, Jose Maceda, Corazon Dioquino, and many others whose lives, talents and vision have contributed so much to the leadership of this school in the field of the musical arts. You must continue to engage in this agenda of perfection and excellence in your chosen fields and try to even transcend the limits of these fields to discover further avenues and spaces in the sphere of human expression. I am also glad to note that this school, although we profess an area of specialization, we are also encouraged to engage in other related work, like a pianist singing in choruses and teaching music theory, avoiding compartmentalized knowledge that makes us less of a total human being. As musicians, we deal with the spiritual and the metaphysical world, where feelings and emotions are comingled with the conceptual realms and philosophical thought. We therefore have the sublime mission to amalgamate these domains in our human potentiality.

At this point in time, we now have the capability to enrich our environment with the different musical expressions that we have come to know. We are now beginning a new era in musical understanding where we begin to realize the vast musical world that we live in, and while we continue to pursue excellence in the field of western music, we are also able to execute and study the musics of other cultures, like Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan, West Africa, and our very own musical traditions in the Philippines including Kalinga, Maguindanao, and the Filipino rondalla. This is the only school in the whole of Southeast Asia and perhaps East Asia that has this kind of program exists in Asian music and we should be proud of this distinction.

And so we are entering a phase in the illustrious history of this school, where we are also now turning our attention on the rediscovery of the more recent yet forgotten literature of our westernized Filipino heritage and perhaps achieve greater understanding and appreciation of the distinctive difference of the Filipino expression from its western origins.

There is still so much to be done, as you can see, but I am hopeful that the spirit of discovery will continue to yield valuable fruits towards the enrichment of a globally humane, expressive and creative society.

Maraming salamat and good morning to all.





Important Announcements

General Election of the Board of Directors will be on Saturday April 9, 2016 5pm at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.