Iloilo City endorses Gilopez Kabayao for National Artist Award

ILOILO. Violin virtuoso Gilopez Lopez Kabayao was endorsed for Order of the National Artist by the Iloilo City government. With him is wife Corazon Kabayao, a concert pianist.
ILOILO. Violin virtuoso Gilopez Lopez Kabayao was endorsed for Order of the National Artist by the Iloilo City government. With him is wife Corazon Kabayao, a concert pianist. (Photo by Leo Solinap)

THE Iloilo City Government has officially endorsed violin virtuoso Gilopez Lopez Kabayao for the prestigious "Order of the National Artist," recognizing his significant contributions to Philippine culture and music.

The Iloilo City Local Culture and Arts Council (ICLCAC) recently passed a resolution supporting Kabayao's nomination, a move initiated by various cause-oriented groups, including the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. (Idfi).

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas praised Kabayao's violin mastery for its significant impact on the nation's cultural heritage, highlighting the City Government's role in preserving the nation's rich artistry.

Treñas emphasized that supporting Kabayao's nomination aligns with the city's role as a custodian of national culture.

The Order of National Artists, the highest national recognition bestowed upon Filipino artists, is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines and conferred by the President of the Philippines.

Ronald Cartagena, city planning and development coordinator and executive director and secretariat of ICLCAC, remarked on the significance of Kabayao's nomination.

"Kabayao's illustrious career has not only showcased Ilonggo talent on the global stage but has also made invaluable contributions to both local and international music scenes," he said.

Born in Negros Occidental with deep roots in Molo, Iloilo City, Kabayao's international breakthrough came at the age of 19 when he performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on March 18, 1950. He was the first Filipino invited to this prestigious venue.

Kabayao, often referred to as the "Mozart to the Barrios," "Father of Outreach for Classical Music," and "Traveling Salesman of Music," is celebrated for democratizing classical music by performing in remote and unconventional venues across the Philippines.

His commitment to cultural outreach and lecture recitals extended from Aparri to Jolo, including performances in schools, marketplaces, cockpits, dilapidated basketball courts, hospital corridors, and mountain villages.

His international engagements have also fostered global cultural exchanges, including performances with a Japanese orchestra post-war and organizing the first orchestra in Singapore.

Through these efforts, Kabayao has not only promoted Filipino music globally but has also played a pivotal role in enhancing cultural diplomacy. (Leo Solinap/SunStar Philippines)

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