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City gov’t firms up National Artist push for violinist Kabayao

ILOILO CITY: The nomination of Violin Virtuoso Gilopez Lopez Kabayao in the “Order of the National Artist” is now being firmed up with the Iloilo City government mapping out a resolution of recommendation through the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

‘Mr. Kabayao’s unparalleled contributions to the arts, particularly in the realm of violin mastery, resonate deeply within our cultural heritage and inspire countless individuals both locally and internationally,’ Mayor Jerry Treñas said in his letter endorsement to the city council.

‘As custodians of our nation’s cultural legacy, endorsing his inclusion in the Order of the National Artist is not only a tribute to his exceptional talent but also a celebration of the rich artistic tapestry of the Filipino people.’

The SP during its regular session on Wednesday tasked the Committee on Tourism, Culture and Historical Affairs chaired by Councilor Rudolph Jeffrey Ganzon to look into the recommendation.

The Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. (IDFI), a private organization com
mitted to preserving, promoting, and developing Ilonggo identity through public-private-community convergence, initiated the nomination of the artist as early as December last year.

In a resolution, the foundation said that for the past 70 years, Kabayao has ‘created a substantial and significant body of work and consistently displayed excellence in the practice of their art form, thus enriching artistic expression or style.’

Kabayao was born in 1929 in Negros Occidental, whose roots are from Iloilo.

He is the first Filipino to play at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York. He earned a Presidential Award of Merit in 1969, and a President Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1972.

He was dubbed ‘Father of Outreach for Classical Music,’ bringing the music of the masters to the masses for more than six decades starting in the 1950s, holding concerts of classical music for the grassroots in even the most unconventional venues from Aparri to Jolo.

‘Now in his 90s, Kabayao can still play the Scherzo Tarantelle by hear
t, no music sheet, and with exactly the same fervor and timing. ST is a little more than five minutes and one of Weiniawski’s most difficult pieces for violin and piano,’ said Joy de Leon, deputy assistant to the IDFI president.

The Order of National Artists (Order ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is the highest recognition given to Filipino individuals who made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts, namely music, dance, theatre, visual arts, literature, film, broadcast arts, and architecture and allied arts.

It is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and conferred by the President of the Philippines.

Source: Philippines News Agency