Lucrecia R. Kasilag

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Lucrecia Roces Kasilag on a 2018 stamp of the Philippines

Lucrecia Roces Kasilag (August 31, 1918- August 16, 2008) was a noted composer, educator, cultural and arts administrator, and performing artist. She was named National Artist in Music in 1989. She pioneered the fusion of Filipino ethnic and Western music. She dared to mix indigenous Filipino instruments with Western orchestra in her prize-winning "Toccata for Percussions and Winds, Divertissement and Concertante," and the scores of the Filiasiana, Misang Pilipino and De Profundis. She was fondly called "Tita King".

Early life and education

She was born in San Fernando, La Union on August 31, 1918. Her mother, Asuncion Roces-Kasilag, encouraged her in her music studies. Her piano teachers were Concha Cuervo and Pura Lacson-Villanueva. She attended Paco High School and graduated as valedictorian in 1930. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Philippine Women's University. In 1939 she received a diploma in music teaching at St. Scholastica’s College, where she was a student of Sister Baptista Battig.

In 1950, she completed her graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York under a Fulbright Travel Grant. In 1953 she became dean of the PWU College of Music and Fine Arts in 1953. She established in 1957 the Bayanihan Folk Arts Center to research Philippine music. Through her efforts she made Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company the primary artistic and cultural ensemble of the country.

In 1977, she retired from her position as Dean and she was honored when she was named Dean Emeritus of the PWU College of Music and Fine Arts. During the Marcos years, Kasilag was very much involved with First Lady Imelda Marcos' Cultural Center of the Philippines. Under the term of President Corazon Aquino she served three years as special consultant of the Office of the President.

Her compositions as her own preferences are influenced by her professors and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was introduced by professor, Allan Irving McHose. It is with the so called "East-West flavour."

Kasilag died from pneumonia on August 16, 2008 at the age of 89.


Among more than the 250 compositions for orchestra and chamber she has written:

  • Love Songs
  • Legend of the Sarimanok
  • Ang Pamana
  • Philippine Scenes
  • Sisa
  • Awit ng mga Awit Psalms
  • Fantasie on a 4-Note Theme
  • East Meets Jazz Ethnika


  • Doctor of Music, Honoris Causa from the Centro Escolar University, 1975
  • Doctor of law, Honoris Causa from the Philippine Women's University, 1980
  • Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa from the St. John's University in New York, 1981
  • The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awardee for Culture and the Arts, 1989
  • National Artist of the Philippines for Music, 1989
  • Avicenna award from the USSR
  • Dama de La Orden Alfonso X el Sabio from the Spanish government
  • Japan’s Third Class of the Order of the Precious Crown
  • France’s Commandeur dans l’Ordre de Arts et des Lettres


  • Samson, Helen F. Contemporary Filipino Composers. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Company, 1976.
  • Lucrecia Kasilag. (Accessed September 23, 2008)
  • Tariman, Pablo. "Kasilag, national artist for music, dies; 89." (Accessed September 23, 2008)
  • "The Filipina as National Artist." Manila Standard Today. (Accessed September 23, 2008)



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