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Today in History

MANILA, Jan. 29 — On January 29, 1889, Francisco Santiago, the Father of Kundiman Art Song, was born to musically-minded peasant parents — Felipe Santiago and Maria Santiago — in Santa Maria, Bulacan.

Poverty did not stop him from pursuing his studies in piano. He became a piano instructor in 1916 when the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music was established during the same year.

Notably, Santiago's most famous piece, "Kundiman (Anak-Dalita)," was sung upon the request of King Alfonso XIII before the Royal Court of Spain in 1917.

His other compositions include: "Sakali Man," "Hibik ng Filipinas," "Pakiusap," "Ang Pag-ibig," "Suyuan," "Alaala Kita," "Ikaw at Ako," "Ano Kaya ang Kapalaran?", "Hatol Hari Kaya?", "Sakali't Mamatay," "Dalit ng Pag-ibig," "Aking Bituin," "Madaling Araw" and "Pagsikat ng Araw."

His masterpiece “Concerto in B flat Minor” for piano forte and orchestra was presented at the Chicago Music School, where he received his doctorate degree in 1924.

He also directed the music for such films as "Manileña," "Madaling Araw," and "Pakiusap."

Santiago became director of the U.P. Conservatory of Music from 1930 to 1946, and was subsequently named U.P. Emeritus Professor of Piano on May 25, 1946.

He died on September 28, 1947 at the age of 58. (PNA)


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