Antonino Buenaventura: Soldier, Composer Posted by Carrie B. Yan on 12/30/2010 04:16 PM
A soldier by profession, Col. Antonino R. Buenaventura was made National Artist in Music in 1988. He has spent seven decades pushing Philippine music forward, composing songs for solo instruments and also symphonic and orchestral works that are based on folk music of different ethnic groups. Thus, he became the bridge between the earlier masters of folk music and today’s generation.
Buenaventura was born on May 4, 1904 in Baliwag, Bulacan. As a young boy, he was exposed to the music of his father, who was a band leader during the Spanish times. A sickly child who was unable to engage in much physical activities, he spent his time learning the clarinet and composing his own melodies instead. Though he graduated from the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music, he wanted to be part of the military. He started teaching at the UP, but was later commissioned by Gen. Basilio Valdes and assigned to Dau. In time, he was transferred to the Philippine Military Academy where he taught and conducted the PMA Band until World War II. When Baguio was bombed, he and his wife moved to San Pablo, Laguna, where they established a music academy. He then led the Philippine Constabulary for the next sixteen years. In 1935, he and Francisca Reyes Aquino, National Artist in Dance, conducted research on Philippine folk songs and dances, which has influenced the popularization of folk music up to this day.
Buenaventura’s major works include:
• The Triumphal March • Echoes of the Past • History Fantasy • Second Symphony in E-flat • Echoes from the Philippines • Ode to Freedom • Concert Overture • Prelude and Fugue in G Minor • Philippines Triumphant • Mindanao Sketches • Symphony in C Major