|13 June 1861 – 1 April 1901|
|Place of birth:||Quiapo, Manila|
|Place of death:||Manila|
Manuel Antonio Mata (13 June 1861 – 1 April 1901) was a music teacher and composer. He and his father, Natalio Mata, were known organists in the Quiapo Church during their time. His works were used in feasts and special ceremonies. His uncle was musician and composer Julio Nakpil.
Early life and education
Mata was the born on 13 June 1861 in Quiapo, Manila. He was the only son of Natalio Mata with his first wife, Maria Nakpil. It is not clear whether his mother was the older sister or the aunt of composer Julio Nakpil, who served as Secretary of Command for the revolutionary army under Andres Bonifacio. E. Arsenio Manuel’s Dictionary of Philippine Biography states that the two were siblings. On the other hand, the publication released by the Philippine Information Agency in commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence indicates Manuel Mata and Julian Nakpil as cousins. It was Mata who taught Nakpil how to play the piano.
Mata was educated in a private school. However, he received early musical instruction from his father. His skill in playing the piano and the church organ was already evident by the age of fourteen. Mata played the church organ while his father directed the church choir.
Mata started teaching piano to the children of prominent families in Manila. Among his students were children of the Chuidians, Marcaidas, Sunicos, Lontoks, and Guidotes. He was also the piano teacher of Victorino Carrion, the operatic singer who was one of the first Filipino recording artists.
Mata composed music which ranged from religious to dance pieces. His first compositions include:
- Siempre Allegre – a pas á quatre or a dance performed by four ballerinas
- Concha and Adela y Pacita – both tanda de valses (set of waltz); Adela y Pacita were written for Telesforo Chuidian’s daughters
- Pilar y Vicenta and Fandango Filipino – both polkas
These pieces were recognized with a diploma of honor during the Exposición Regional de Filipinas in 1895.
His other compositions include:
- Paulita, Amanda, and Clarita – all tanda de valses; Amanda was written for Amanda Marcaida
- Aguas de Carriedo (1882) – played during the inauguration of the Carriedo Water System
- Plegaria á Santa Teresa – won the third prize in the contest held during the saint’s feast in October 1882
- Á los Dolores de la Virgen Santísima – a collaboration with his father; he wrote the 2nd and 4th numbers in the piece
- Misa Pastorela – sung on Christmas Eve and the feast of the Three Kings
- Salve á la Virgen del Carmen – for the patron saint of San Sebastian Church in Manila
- Salve á la Virgen de la Paz – for the Virgin of Antipolo
- Despedida Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno – sung during novena masses in Quiapo Church
- Misa San Roque – sung during special church services in Quiapo Church
Mata’s religious pieces were never printed while his other secular compositions were either lost, burned, or forgotten.
Mata did not only play the piano but was also skilled in playing the guitar, bandurria, and the harmonium which is similar to a church organ.
Family and personal life
Mata married Rosario Vergara on 28 May 1881 and they had ten children. He died of a pulmonary disease on 1 April 1901 leaving his sister, Salud Mata, to take over his duty as organist of the Quiapo Church, where his remains still lie.
- Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography, Volume 1. Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications, 1955.
- “110th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence.” Philippine Information Agency. (Accessed 1 March 2010).
- “Manila, 19 October 1882.” Letters Exchanged Between Jose Rizal and Other Reformers – 1882. (Accessed 1 March 2010).
- “Music in The Heart of Manila: Quiapo from the Colonial Period to Contemporary Times: Tradition, Change, Continuity.” University of California Riverside Department of Music. (Accessed 1 March 2010.)