Examples Of Contemporary Music In The Philippines & Some Popular Artists

Jul 28, 2021
Tired after reading too many sources about the examples of contemporary music in the Philippines? We will give you the most valuable and relevant information.

In our special post about music and arts, let us introduce some examples of contemporary music in the Philippines and a list of popular names from this country.

From the 1500s to the late 1800s, America and Spain colonized the Philippines. As a result, even in the 20th century, Western compositional techniques played a big role in forming Filipino composers’ works. 

Let’s see more details about how contemporary music in this country formed, how it has evolved, and excellent Filipino composers as standard examples of contemporary music in the Philippines

What Is Contemporary Music in The Philippines?

When mentioning contemporary music in the Philippines, people will think about the connection from the elements and ideas of Western art music in the twentieth century, together with the musical styles and latest trends in the entertainment industry.

The modern repertoire from the Philippines includes all the pieces with idioms in the twentieth century. These idioms have developed from various stylistic movements, like expressionism, impressionism, neoclassicism, with new and so-called avant-garde music.

The standard formats in classical European music have been very popular in many of the famous works. Those formats, for example, are the symphonic and tone poems, the symphony, the concerto, cantata, etc.; therefore, music critics broadly categorized them in the neo-classic group.

Simultaneously, there are also two enormous influences on these works: Debussy’s music with its textural colors, and the early twentieth-century expressionist compositions with their “seems-to-be-dissonant,” ambiguous tonalities. Moreover, many artists have added non-Western instruments’ sounds to their tonal fabric.

Philippine music has undeniably made significant progress to the contemporary from its indigenous roots. Throughout many centuries and several colonial influences, music in the Philippines has changed to a Westernized style. The periods of American colonies and after World War II are the most convincing evidence to see the Filipino music differences.

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Contemporary Music Artist In The Philippines: Popular Names And Their Works

Rodolfo Cornejo

Rodolfo Cornejo was born in Singalong, Manila on May 15, 1909. His mother, Crisanta Soldevilla, inspired him in music when he saw her practicing private piano lessons with Maestra Gelacio Reyes’ guidance.

When Cornejo turned six, his mother realized that he was ready for piano lessons. Later, Rodolfo became the most diligent student in class, and in his first recital, he surprised everyone by amazingly playing fourteen pieces with six encores.

People around Cornejo considered him a child prodigy. When he was eight, he played organ for the Pasay Catholic Church. Cornejo wrote the first composition in his life at the age of ten, “Glisandro Waltz.”

Unlike other composers in the Philippines, Rodolfo Cornejo is the only one that has two musical doctoral degrees. In 1947, he completed his Doctor of Philosophy Major for Composition at Neotarian College in Kansas. Then at Chicago College, Cornejo got the Doctor of Music degree honoris causa in 1954.

Rodolfo Cornejo

Cornejo graduated from the University of the Philippines. Moreover, the then UP President Rafael Palma offered him a teaching position. Some of his students at the University of the Philippines later became well-known musicians today, like Candida Bautista, Flora Zarco, Felipe De Leon, and Lucio San Pedro.

Dr. Cornejo understood very well all the difficulties of musicians in this country. Hence, in 1934, he founded the National Federation of Music. The main goal is to encourage and raise the standard of Filipino music. Throughout Dr. Cornejo’s lifetime, he composed about three hundred combinations of vocal and instrument pieces.

Some of his most famous compositions are Beneath this heart of clay (1959), Philippine Fantasy (1962), Ruby (1964), Piano Trio (1966).

Chino Toledo

Josefino Chino Toledo was born in Manila, Philippines, on March 6, 1959. Toledo comes from a musical clan from Nueva Ecija. His parents are Victor Odulio and Lolita Estaban Toledo.

His father is the founder of the Pangkat Kawayan. Through Toledo’s early participation here, he luckily got exposure and training for music.

At the Laperal Music Academy, Toledo started learning formal music lessons. Toledo continued studying music at the University of the Philippines. Some famous music masters honed his brilliant musical skills – Ramon Santos, Eliseo Pajaro, and Lucio San Pedro. And he also became the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, France’s student.

Later, in 1979 he completed a music major Bachelor’s degree in composition at the University of the Philippines. In 1986, Toledo attended the Cleveland Institute of Music from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. 

Toledo also became a conductor and musical director in some productions from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, like Bayan, Bayani, Bayanihan; Sanlahi; Supling; Pinoy Ako; Lagi Kitang Naaalala. He also conducted many famous Filipino composers’ premiering works in Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and China.

Chino Toledo

Toledo’s works cover many areas, including films, theater music, Philippine Sarsuwelas’ revisions, editing. Mr. Toledo is the recipient of the Chancellor Award for Outstanding Musical Works at the University of the Philippines and the Ten Outstanding Young Men Award.

About his marriage life, Toledo married a music education graduate Emily Ramos. Together they have a daughter Charisse Loraine Toledo.

Here are some of his well-known works: TANIKALA, AGHOY NG KALIKASAN (Lament of Nature), ALI-IW, TULAILI, UG-NAY, DALAWANG UG-OG, TATLUHAN (TRIO).

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Ryan Cayabyab

The final contemporary music artist in the Philippines from our list is Raymundo Cipriano Pujante Cayabyab, Ryan Cayabyab, or Mr. C - like many people call him in the music industry. He was born in Manila, Philippines, on May 4, 1954. His parents are the soprano Celerina Pujante and Alberto Cayabyab. His mother was also a professor at the College of Music from the University of the Philippines.

At only four, Cayabyab already took piano lessons from music students while being on the UP campus with his mother. When turning 14, he could perform Preludes of Johann Sebastian Bach and Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (solo piano reduction).

After graduating from college, Cayabyab worked as a full-time professor for the UP Diliman’s Department of Composition and Music Theory.

Ryan Cayabyab is one of the most prolific and popular composers in the Philippines at the moment. He has written many works from masses, choral pieces, theatre musicals, ballet to pop songs. Cayabyab also made works for movies and commercial jingles.

As an accompanist, conductor, and music director, Cayabyab had performed for other countries’ presidents and royalties. He has performed with the most outstanding Filipino music figures in many places in the United States, like Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Washington Convention Center, the Orpheum in Vancouver. Cayabyab has also been a judge of some talent shows like Pinoy Idol and Pinoy Dream Academy. 

Ryan Cayabyab

His foundation of a music school – The Music School of Ryan Cayabyab (original name: Ryan Cayabyab The Music Studio) is one of his most significant contributions. This school specializes in training and flourishing performance artists.

About his family, Cayabyab married a music graduate Emmy Punsalan and has two children: Antonio Maria and Cristina Maria Cayabyab.

Here are some of his award-winning theatre musicals: El Filibusterismo, Magnificat, Noli Me Tangere, Alikabok, Rama Hari, Spoliarium, KATY, Ilustrado, LORENZO.

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Examples Of Contemporary Music In The Philippines: Wrapping Up

Hopefully, our post gives you enough information to explain and show you the examples of contemporary music in the Philippines. With three of the most popular names from our artist list on Corner4men.com, you will know more about their achievements and contributions in the Filipino and global contemporary music industry.

Thank you, and hope to see you again!

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