‘Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal:’ An evening of Ernani Cuenco music

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Maestro Ernani Cuenco: A most important composer during the second golden age of Philippine cinema.

Maestro Ernani Cuenco: A most important composer during the second golden age of Philippine cinema.

Bakás Pilipinas/Philippine Historic Preservation Society is inviting the community to the 2016 Great Filipino Composers Series, an annual project. On September 17 at 8 p.m., they will present the life and works of Ernani Cuenco at the Loreto Theater of the Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker Street.

Maestro Cuenco is arguably the most important composer during the second golden age of Philippine cinema. He wrote songs for films and did musical scoring. He was honored posthumously as the Philippine National Artist for Music in 1999. His works have garnered him multiple awards, among others, from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, Gawad Urian, and the Metro Manila Film Festival. A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, he was recognized as the university’s most outstanding alumnus in 1977. His most notable works include ‘Kahit Na Magtiis,’ ‘Sa Bawat Sandali,’ ‘Bato Sa Buhangin,’ ‘Kalesa,’ ‘Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa,’ and the immortal ‘Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal.’

It is said that ‘Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal’ was written for his wife Madalena “Nena” Marcial.

He earned a music degree major in piano from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music, as well as a master’s degree also in music from Santa Isabel College. He was playing for a band in the 1960s when he was spotted by actor Joseph Estrada. This began his career composing film ballads and collaborating with other artists, such as Levi Celerio, to do musical scores. The movie ‘Bato sa Buhangin’ with Fernando Poe Jr. and Vilma Santos, won for Cuenco the 1976 FAMAS Best Theme Song. He taught music at UST for several years until his death in 1988.

The NYC concert will be under the music direction of Enrico Lagasca and the stage direction of J. William Herbert Sigmund Go. The performing ensemble consists of Donna Danielson, Antoni Mendezona, Katrina Saporsantos, Joy Tamayo, Marvin Gayatgay, Leo Leal, Joseph Legaspi, Rogelio B. Peñaverde Jr., Dennis Bernardo, and the San Lorenzo Ruiz Choir of New York. New musical arrangements of the maestro’s works for voice and chamber ensemble will be written by Paulo Tirol.

The 2016 Great Filipino Composers Series is presented by the San Lorenzo Ruiz Choir of New York in partnership with Jose Ramos and Rogelio Peñaverde Jr. It is also presented in part by the JCI Philippine-New York Chapter, Bakas Pilipinas, and the Philippine Community Center Services for Aging. The event is a production of Ilustrado, LLC.

The following tickets are available:

Patron – $100 (Prime Orchestra Seating)
Standard – $45 (Orchestra Seating)
Basic – $35 (Balcony Seating)

Bakás Pilipinas is a New York-based not-for profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and sites in the Philippines. Visit the website at:

To order your tickets, send a check made out to “Bakas Pilipinas” indicating how many tickets and prices, plus your email address. Arrangements will be made for tickets to be picked up at the door. Checks should be received no later than September 13.

Mail checks to:
P.O. BOX 2706
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008

For questions, contact aquirona@yahoo.com, or leave a message at 212 673-1010.

One Comment

  1. Kamala Griff wrote:

    Keep up the amazing work, The FilAm.

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