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Seasons Greetings!

Lucio San Pedro 
and His Colorful Music

By Miguel Luis Morales
Edited by Nina Macaraig-Gamboa
Illustrated by Jonuel Benedict A. Reyna

Lucio D. San Pedro

Lucio was born on February 11, 1913 in Angono, Rizal, the son of Elpidio San Pedro and Soledad Diestro. At a young age, he composed various hymns and became the local church organist, succeeding his late grandfather.

San Pedro graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music with a double major in Composition and Conducting. While at UP, San Pedro wrote a symphonic work called “Suite Pastorale.” In 1943, he wanted to write lyrics for one of its movements to submit to a competition sponsored by the Japanese government during its occupation of the Philippines. He did not join the competition. San Pedro took further studies at the Juilliard School of Music in 1947. On a ship upon his return home, San Pedro met Levi Celerio who wrote the lyrics for this movement, what would become the iconic “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”, a lullaby and ode to a mother’s love.

San Pedro excelled as a teacher, conductor, and composer. He eventually became Professor Emeritus at his alma mater, UP. He also taught in many other universities. San Pedro conducted the Banda Angono Numero Uno, Manila Symphony Orchestra, Musical Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra, Peng Kong Grand Mason Concert Band, and the San Pedro Band of Angono. He was a prolific composer whose works included band music, concertos, choral works, cantatas, chamber music, and songs for solo voice. Among his famous compositions are “Simbang Gabi”, “Lahing Kayumanggi”, and “Sa Mahal Kong Bayan”, which touch on Filipino culture.

San Pedro was dubbed a “creative nationalist” for his artistic way of showing love for his country. He won countless awards, the most prominent being his conferment as National Artist of the Philippines for Music in 1991.

Angono, Rizal has been recognized as the “Arts Capital of the Philippines” largely because of its being the home town and inspiration for San Pedro and his cousin, town-mate and fellow National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco. Francisco was a skilled muralist who was posthumously named National Artist for Visual Arts (Painting) in 1973.

Levi Celerio, who would collaborate with San Pedro again after “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”, was also named National Artist for Music and Literature in 1997.

San Pedro died on March 31, 2002, at the age of 89.