MANILA, Philippines— A necrological service will be held on Sunday at 9 a.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Main Theatre for the late National Artist for Music Andrea O. Veneracion, after which interment will follow at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
Veneracion, founding choirmaster of the University of the Philippines (UP) Madrigal Singers, died Tuesday at 10:50 p.m. in her home. She was 84 years old.
She suffered a stroke on Dec. 31, 2005, and never recovered. She regained consciousness for a while, and was comatose until her death. She would have turned 85 Thursday.
Her remains will be cremated Thursday and the ashes will be brought to Immaculate Conception Cathedral Grottos in Cubao.
Born in Manila on July 11, 1928, Veneracion is survived by her husband, Dr. Felipe Veneracion and their five children, and grandchildren.
A byword in choral singing
Her name has become a byword in choral singing. She formed the UP Madrigal Singers in 1963 and held its first concert on Oct. 1 the same year at the UP Abelardo Hall. Singing a cappella, in the now familiar circular form, she would occupy the first seat and from there lead the group to glorious singing. It did not take long for the music lovers and the public to heap praises on the choir.
In 1980, the choir changed its name to Philippine Madrigal Singers (Madz) when it became a resident company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines with annual financial subsidy.
“Mrs. Veneracion was my mom’s colleague at the UP College of Music so I knew her since I was a kid,” composer/arranger/conductor Ryan Cayabyab told the Inquirer. “She was one of two choral conductors who recognized my ability to write choral music. She was instrumental in bringing my works to international audiences through the UP Madz.”
“She spawned a new generation of choral conductors and choristers, and richly deserves being named a National Artist for all her contributions in choral music and Filipino music in general.”
The Madz celebrates its golden anniversary this year. Since its founding, the group has become an icon of choral excellence and is adulated worldwide for its sterling performances.
In celebration of the Madz’s golden anniversary and in recognition of Veneracion’s effort to propagate and uplift choral singing in the country, the CCP is sponsoring the first International Choral Competition in the country on Aug. 7-10, 2013.
The Madz has won a string of first prizes in international choral competitions in several European countries, and has earned the distinction as the “winningest” choir in the country. Its crowning glory was its winning the grand prize at the European Grand Prix Competition (EGPC) in 1996, virtually making it the only Philippine and Southeast Asian choir to have won the prestigious award.
In 2001 Veneracion passed the baton to her assistant choirmaster, Mark Anthony Carpio, who led the choir to win the Grand Prize once more in the EGPC in 2007, making it the first choir to win the Grand Prix twice and the only Asian choir to have done so. The choir has cut several recordings done in the country and in other European and Asian countries.
In recognition of her expertise in choral singing, Veneracion held important positions in international choral associations. She was vice president for Asia of the International Federation for Choral Music in 1990. In 1996, she was the artistic chairperson of the International Choral Festival in Cagliari, Italy. She was also chair of the International Festival in Taipei in 2001. She sat as an adjudicator in several international competitions in Europe and Asia.