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ANTONIO R.

BUENAVENTURA

National Artist for Music (1988)

(May 4, 1994 – January 25, 1996)

-Antonino R. Buenaventura vigorously pursued a musical career that spanned seven decades
of unwavering commitment to advancing the frontiers of Philippine music
- In 1935, Buenaventura joined Francisca Reyes-Aquino to conduct research on folksongs and
dances that led to its popularization.
-He composed songs, compositions, for solo instruments as well as symphonic and orchestral
works based on the folksongs of various Philippine ethnic groups.
-He was also a conductor and restored the Philippine Army Band to its former prestige as one of
the finest military bands in the world making it “the only band that can sound like a symphony
orchestra”

This once sickly boy who played the clarinet proficiently has written several marches such as
the “Triumphal March,” “Echoes of the Past,” “History Fantasy,” Second Symphony in E-
flat, “Echoes from the Philippines,” “Ode to Freedom.” His orchestral music compositions
include Concert Overture, Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, Philippines Triumphant, Mindanao
Sketches, Symphony in C Major, among others.

ERNANI J. CUENCO
National Artist for Music (1999)
(May 10, 1936 – June 11, 1988)
-Ernani J. Cuenco is a seasoned musician born in May 10, 1936 in Malolos, Bulacan

-A composer, film scorer, musical director and music teacher, he wrote an outstanding and
memorable body of works that resonate 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.

JOVITA FUENTES
National Artist for Music (1976)
(February 15, 1895 – August 7, 1978)
-Long before Lea Salonga’s break into Broadway, there was already Jovita Fuentes‘ portrayal
of Cio-cio san in Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at Italy’s Teatro Municipale di Piacenza
- she was teaching at the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music (1917) before
leaving for Milan in 1924 for further voice studies. After eight months of arduous training, she
made her stage debut at the Piacenza
-She later embarked on a string of music performances in Europe essaying the roles of Liu
Yu in Puccini’s Turnadot, Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme, Iris in Pietro Mascagni’s Iris, the
title role of Salome (which composer Richard Strauss personally offered to her including the
special role of Princess Yang Gui Fe in Li Tai Pe)
-In recognition of these achievements, she was given the unprecedented award of
“Embahadora de Filipinas a su Madre Patria” by Spain

Her dream to develop the love for opera among her countrymen led her to found the Artists’
Guild of the Philippines, which was responsible for the periodic “Tour of Operaland” productions.
Her life story has been documented in the biography Jovita Fuentes: A Lifetime of
Music (1978) written by Lilia H. Chung, and later translated into Filipino by Virgilio Almario.