Friday, 29 November 2013

Biography of Filipino composer, Dr. Francisco Santiago

Dr. Francisco Santiago was born on the 29th of January, 1889 in Santa Maria, Bulacan, Philippines. He was a composer, pianist, teacher and film director. His parents were Felipe and Maria Santiago. He married Concepcion Z Ocampo in 1923 and they had four children. 

The young Francisco had his elementary education at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. He finished high school at the Liceo de Manila. When he was seven years old, he took piano lessons from a private tutor. After three years, he studied pianoforte under Blas Echegoyen, and then Faustino Villacorta and Primo Calzada. Because his family was poor, he had to support himself throughout school. 

When the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music was founded in 1916, he was taken in as a piano instructor. He studied advanced harmony and counterpoint under Robert Schofield. Dr. Santiago obtained his teacher's certificate in science and composition from the University of the Philippines in 1922. He obtained his masters in music at the Conservatory of Chicago, USA in 1924 and his doctorate at the Chicago Music School in the same year. It was there that he presented his Concerto in B flat minor for pianoforte and orchestra, which is considered his masterpiece. He returned to the Philippines in 1925 and resumed teaching at the University of the Philippines.1 He became the director at the UP Conservatory of Music from 1930 to 1946. He was appointed Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines. 

Among Dr. Santiago's popular kundimans are "Sakali Man" and "Hibik ng Pilipinas" (1917); "Pakiusap" (1921); "Ang Pag-ibig" (1922); "Ano Kaya Ang Kapalaran?" (1938). Among his undated kundimans are "Hatol Hari Kaya?"; "Aking Bituin" and "Pagsikat ng Araw". The kundiman entitled "Kundiman, Anak Dalita", which he wrote in 1917, was sung before the Royal court of Spain under the request of King Alfonso II.2 

Among his works in the classical genre are the "Philippine Overture" and the "Sonata Filipina in D flat Major" written in 1922. The latter is the "first sonata written in the Philippines introducing Philippine musical themes" according to the films, among which are "Kundiman", "Leron-leron Sinta", "Madaling Araw", "Manilena", and "Pakiusap" (the movie which was inspired by his own composition). Dr. santiago also composed a version of "Ave Maria" for high voice with violin obligato in 1919. He did musical transcriptions of "Ay, Kalisud!" (1928); "Ang Kumintang", "Kura-kura" (a Jolo folk song) and "Hawi-hawi" (an Aeta folk song). These last three pieces are undated. He also composed "Sumilang na Ang Manunubos" in 1932, a Philippine Christmas carol, which according to composer, Antonio Molina, is the "first Philippine Christmas carol ever written for mixed chorus and symphony orchestra."3 Dr. Francisco Santiago wrote the music of the sarswela, "Si Margaritang Mananahi" in 1913, with libretto by Severino Reyes. 

Dr. Francisco Santiago died on the 28th of September, 1947.  He was posthumously given the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award by the City of Manila in 1968.

1 Santiago, Francisco. pp. 362, CCP Encyclopaedia.
2 Ibid. 3 Ibid.

1 comment:

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