Francisco Feliciano

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Francisco Feliciano (19 February 1941 – 19 September 2014) was a Filipino conductor and song composer. He was declared as National Artist for Music in 2014. He was one of the country's leading composers and known as an exponent of liturgical music. Among his major works were ‘’Missa Mysterium’’ and ‘’Sikhay sa Kabila ng Paalam’’.

Early life and education

Feliciano was born on 19 February 1942 in Morong, Rizal. His father Maximiano Feliciano exposed him to their band “Morriz Band” and their genre of music.

He started his music career when he joined a band in high school and played cymbals and the clarinet. He studied at the University of the Philippines (UP) and attained a Masters degree in Music Composition.

He was the choir conductor and instructor in music fundamentals at St. Andrews Seminary. He obtained a diploma in Music Composition from Hochschule der Kuenste in Berlin, Germany. He graduated in Yale University School of Music with Master of Musical Arts and gained a doctorate in Musical Arts Composition. His teachers in conducting were Arthur Weisberg and Martin Behrmann. He also studied composition under Jacob Druckman, Isang Yun, H.W. Zimmerman, and Krzysztof Penderecki.


Among Feliciano's works and arrangements were Buksan mo ang aming mga labi, Mass of Saint Andrew, Pamugun choral, with soprano solo, Pokpok alimpako chorus, and Three Visayan folksongs: for high voice.

He has composed more than 30 major works including operas and music dramas like La Loba Negra, Ashen Wings, Sikhay sa Kabila ng Paalam, and the Life of Wartime Filipino Hero, Jose Abad Santos. His large works were Transfiguration and Missa Mysterium for orchestra and large chorus, the ballet Yerma, and several prize winning compositions including Pokpok Alimpako, a favorite piece of choirs in international choral competitions, and Salimbayan. Umiinog, Walang Tinag (Perpetuum Immobile) was premiered in New York City at the ISCM Festival. His latest choral works, Pamugún and Restless, has been performed by Filipino choirs in various choral festivals in Europe. Dr. Feliciano was given a John D. Rockefeller III Award in Music Composition in 1977.

He has created several of liturgical pieces, mass settings, hymns, and songs for worship. He supervised the publication of a new Asian hymnal containing mostly works of Asian composers at the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, a school for church musicians he founded 20 years ago. His works were published worldwide in hymnals and worship books of various churches. He was an active clinician, having conducted workshops on creative music writing in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany.

Dr. Feliciano was invited to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Moscow State Symphony and also in some orchestras in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Japan.

He was the former president of the Samba-Likhaan Foundation: The Asian School of Music, Worship and the Arts, an organization located in Quezon City. Devoted to the promotion of Asian music and arts, its goal is to put music and art in the context of worship.


Feliciano was given the following awards: Music Promotion Foundation Scholarship in Composition, 1958 to 1962; First Prize, Composition Contest, University of the Philippines, 1962; Purita Ponce-Enrile scholarship in Composition, 1962-64; and First Prize Winner, Hymn Writing Contest, Archdiocese of Manila, 1970.


He died on 19 September 2014 at the age of 73 because of cancer. A necrological service was held on 24 September at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). His remains lie at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.




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