Lucio D. San Pedro
Maestro Lucio San Pedro, is a giant in the Philippine music scene,with a wide-ranging body of works that include chamber of music, concertos for violin and orchestra, choral works, cantatas, band music, songs for solo voice, and music for violin and piano.
Maestro San Pedro called his musical philosophy "creative nationalism," but instead of being parochial, his music is universal; it is evocative without being literal. "I do not believe that nationalism in music can be expressed solely by literally using the materials of folk songs. The composer, rather, should squeeze from these materials the essence, style, atmosphere, and the common touch that is Filipino and express it in terms of his personality, style, and temperament."
A composer, conductor and teacher who loved his country as much as he loved music.
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The Maestro and his music were firmly rooted in the small town of Angono, Rizal, born on February 11, 1913, an idyllic setting blessed with a view of both lake and mountains. It was Angono's rustic charm -- the colorful fiestas and the verdant scenery, as well as the simple nobility of its common folk -- that inspired the Maestro to write his music.
San Pedro came from a family with musical roots and he began his career early. When he was still in his late teens, he became a church organist, taking over the job after the death of his grandfather. By then, he had already composed songs, hymns and two complete Masses for voices and orchestra.
He died of cardiac arrest on March 31, 2002 at the age of 89. A number of national artist attended his tribute at the Tanghalang Pambansa, including: Napoleon Abueva, Daisy Avellana, Leonor Gokingco, Nick Joaquin, Arturo Luz, Jose Maceda, and Andrea Veneracion. He is buried in his hometown of Angono, Rizal.
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San Pedro completed an undergraduate degree in music at the University of the Philippines College of Music, with a double major in Composition and Conducting, which he finished in five years instead of eight. After that, he continued his advanced musical composition training with Bernard Wagenaar of the Netherlands. He also studied harmony and orchestration under Vittorio Giannini and took classes at Julliard School of Music 1947.
Later, he taught at the UP College of Music, where he eventually became Professor Emeritus. He was also chairman of the Theory Composition Department. With a Ph.D in Humanities,k he taught theory, composition and harmony at Centro Escolar University, La Concordia College, Philippine Normal University, Philippine Women's University, Sta. Isabel College, St. Joseph's College, St. Paul's College, and St. Scholastica's College.
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The Maestro's skill in composing simple songs and complex orchestrations is evident in "Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan," which he composed while on his way home to Philippines aboard a ship with master lyricist Levi Celerio (who penned the words after Maestro san Pedro set down the melody). "Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan," now a classic Filipino lullaby, also forms the fourth movement of his most famous orchestral work, "Suite Pastorale," which pays tribute to his hometown to Angono. "Maestro San Pedro's orchestral works are unsurpassed for their imaginative orchestration," the music critic Antonio Hila once wrote "The Maestro knows definitely his meat, for as by instinct he knows precisely when to use the horms, the oboe or the flute. And when the orchestra plays together, one simply marvels at the sound, the tone colors are being unraveled...but what unpretentious appeal. The Maestro writes with an unassuming heart, a heart that likewise tempers the mind. It is the feel, more than the cold technical requirements of the craft that makes his music pulsate with life. But the taste is not popular, neither the style. In his hands, these folk materials take on an impressive artistic aura as he transforms them into great symphonic music."
San Pedro bacame director of Dramatic Philippines, and his career as a conductor included the Banda Angono Numero Uno, Manila Symphony Orchestra, Musical Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra, Peng Keng Grand Mason Concert Band, and the San Pedro Band of Angono, his father's former band.
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