National Artist for Music and former Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Lucrecia Roces Kasilag passed away due to a lingering illness Saturday. She was 90 years old.
Necrological services for Kasilag, or Tita King as she is fondly called, will be held on Thursday, August 21, at the CCP Main Theater. Interment is scheduled at the Manila South Cemetery.
Proclaimed as National Artist for Music in 1989, Kasilag's work consisted of more than 200 original compositions, incorporating elements of world music to enrich Filipino national traditions. She also incorporated indigenous Filipino instruments in orchestral productions such as the prize-winning "Toccata for Percussions and Winds, Divertissement and Concertante," and the scores of the Filiasiana, Misang Pilipino and De Profundis.
Her orchestral music included Love Songs, Legend of the Sarimanok, Ang Pamana, Philippine Scenes, Her Son, Jose, Sisa and chamber music like Awit ng mga Awit Psalms, Fantaisie on a 4-Note Theme, and East Meets Jazz Ethnika.
As a music educator, Kasilag served as dean of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) College of Music and Fine Arts from 1953-1977 and became its Dean Emeritus upon her retirement.
Among the numerous positions entrusted on her included serving as director of the Center for Arts and Humanities of the PWU, honorary adviser to the Asian Arts Festival, chairperson of the League of Filipino Composers and CCP president and artistic director.
Kasilag was behind the establishment of the Bayanihan Folk Arts Center in 1957 and became the chairperson of the Philippine Society for Music Education in 1971 and the chairperson of the Asian Composer’s League in 1975.
As music director, Kasilag had worked closely with colleagues Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula, Isabel Santos, Jose Lardizabal and Dr. Leticia P. de Guzman and made Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company one of the premier artistic and cultural groups in the country.
Born in San Fernando, La Union on August 31, 1917, Kasilag completed her elementary education at the Paco Elementary High School as valedictorian in 1930 and from PWU as valedictorian in 1933.
She pursued her education at the PWU and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
It was in 1939 when Kasilag received her Music Teacher's Diploma from St. Scholastica's College (SSC) where she also taught piano and music theory, and at the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music from 1946 to 1947.
She obtained her Bachelor of Music degree at the PWU in 1949 and in the same year, pursued graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York under a Fulbright Travel Grant.
She received an Eastman School of Music fellowship, and studied theory under Dr. Allen I. McHose and composition under Dr. Wayne Barlow. She completed her M.A. in 1950.