Amparo Acuña, the forgotten ‘grandioso’ pianist

Souvenir program of Amparo Acuña for her piano recital in Barcelona, Spain
Memento program of Amparo Acuña for her piano recital in Barcelona, Spain

From the antebellum years, the Thirties, comes information about yet one more excellent musical artist forgotten by historical past—a classical pianist from Capiz, Amparo Acuña, who gave acclaimed live shows in Manila and Spain.

Amongst the newspapers and magazines of the interval, in Spanish and English, which adopted the course of her profession from 1929 to 1934, have been La Vanguardia, The Tribune, Sunday Tribune Journal, The Philippines Free Press, Graphic, Excelsior journal, El Debate and The Philippines Herald.

She was born in 1906 in Capiz (later Roxas Metropolis), and got here from a politically distinguished household. Her father was the provincial governor, and Speaker (later President) Manuel Roxas was a primary cousin. Her mother and father have been Rafael Acuña and Concepcion Hispano of Valencia, Spain.

Spanish was the language at house. Acuña later graduated from the College of the Philippines with a level in commerce.

At a really early age, she was compelled by her mother and father to check the piano; actually, her first piano instructor was Jovita Fuentes, no much less. She didn’t like the classes at first, however stored up along with her research till she turned proficient in the artwork. Quick-forward: In 1933, Fuentes “de la fama internacional” gave a grand live performance in Iloilo assisted on the piano by her former pupil, Acuña.

Pianist Amparo Acuña on the cover of Sunday Tribune Magazine after giving a recital at Manila Metropolitan Theater shortly after her return from Spain —PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FELIX FAMILY
Pianist Amparo Acuña on the cowl of Sunday Tribune Journal after giving a recital at Manila Metropolitan Theater shortly after her return from Spain —PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FELIX FAMILY

A rave evaluation in Spanish, its origin misplaced, declared that “señorita Acuña was born to make art, divine art, a pedestal, to elevate and conquer the glory, a glory which reflects on the honor of the land of her birth.”

Memento packages throughout the interval give the vary of the pianist’s repertoire: Puccini, Albeniz, Rossini, Brahms, Gershwin, De Falla, Debussy, Hernandez (“Ulila sa Pag-ibig”) Molina (from “Trio in F Major,” based mostly on Philippine people songs), Sarasate, Schumann, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Ravel.

‘Great concert artist’

We first hear about Acuña as a performer in 1929, with The Philippines Herald saying that she would give a live performance at San Beda Faculty. In reference to this occasion, El Debate hailed her as a terrific live performance artist (“la gran concertista”). An unidentified evaluation, almost certainly in La Vanguardia, which regularly reported on the pianist, declared that she gave a “grandioso” (excellent) recital at San Beda; it was a terrific success, and all the numbers have been nicely applauded.

By 1931, Acuña was recognized sufficient to embark on a profitable sequence of live shows in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain. The Philippines Free Press, then printed in Spanish, mentioned that “she conquered Spain with five magnificent (‘magnificos’) concerts in various venues in Barcelona, where she graduated from the famous Academia Bidiella.”

Mr. and Ms Ramon Felix (the former Amparo Acuña), right, with other legation staff during a reception at Buckingham Palace in London
Mr. and Ms Ramon Felix (the former Amparo Acuña), proper, with different legation workers throughout a reception at Buckingham Palace in London

La Vanguardia headlined that “La Acuña” was nicely obtained in Madrid, with “Amparing” quoted as saying that the expertise exerted “una ponderosisima influencia” (highly effective affect) on her.

Again on house grounds, in 1932, she gave a live performance at Manila Metropolitan Theater “con la cooperacion de la banda de la Constabularia.” One other live performance for the advantage of an antituberculosis society that yr was thought-about a “triumph.”

One in every of the final live shows she gave was at the house of a Marguerite Teahan, apparently a distinguished member of society, in February 1934, with composer Rodolfo Cornejo conducting Constabulary Orchestra. The Tribune and La Vanguardia reported that pianist and musicians obtained an ovation.

Farewell to music

In 1936, Acuña married Ramon Felix, a banking and finance graduate of New York College who later turned a diplomat who served in the Philippine legation, headed by Ambassador Leon Ma. Guerrero, at Court docket of St. James in London. A 1949 picture reveals the Felix couple with different legation workers throughout a reception at Buckingham Palace.

With the marriage, the now Ms Ramon Felix mentioned goodbye to music, opting to develop into a full-time spouse and mom. She bore her husband 5 kids.

Curtain call for the artist after a concert at a Manila theater
Curtain name for the artist after a live performance at a Manila theater

Her son, Gabriel Felix, a businessman named after his grandfather, recalled that their mom “was a devoted housewife always in support of my dad, who was an old-school disciplinarian, and she would always act as a peacemaker. We the children always wondered why she gave up all her achievements for marriage and family, and decided that she had experienced it all before and then chose a regular life over the glitz.”

Acuña, who died in 1986 at the age of 80, was a part of a flowering of the arts, a type of golden age in the Philippines regardless of the Nice Melancholy in America: Manila Metropolitan Theater and Manila Grand Opera Home, the place worldwide artists carried out; Manila’s newspapers flourishing in three languages; Manila Symphony Orchestra, Abelardo and Santiago in music; Amorsolo, Tolentino and Edades in visible arts; Filipino opera divas deciphering Puccini in Europe; and the first era of writers in English—Juan C. Laya, Stevan Javellana, Nick Joaquin, Bienvenido Santos and Carlos Bulosan in the United States. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

Acuña featured in Excelsior magazine during her 1929 concert at San Beda College
Acuña featured in Excelsior journal throughout her 1929 live performance at San Beda Faculty

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