With wife Nena Marcial...
Prof. Ernani J. Cuenco: National Artist for Music From the collection of
REMEMBER WHEN? - Danny Dolor (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2019 - 12:00am

The obra maestra of Prof. Ernani J. Cuenco, National Artist for Music, is Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, dedicated to his beloved wife Nena Marcial. They were inseparable and had two children.

Other popular songs by Cuenco are Bato sa Buhangin, Kalesa and Kahit Na Mag-tiis, the lyrics of which was written by former President Joseph Estrada during one of their many nightly informal musical sessions.

…and with then San Juan Mayor Joseph Estrada in the ’60s.

The friendship of Erap and Ernani started in the early ‘60s, when Ernani and a group of friends performed nightly in one of the more exclusive restaurants in Makati. Then San Juan Mayor Joseph Estrada was impressed by the music of Cuenco. From then on, Erap hired Ernani to be musical director of the movies he produced and topbilled. Other producers and directors availed themselves of Ernani’s services.

Cuenco won countless awards from cinema and musical and cultural grounds, culminating in being posthumously named National Artist by President Estrada.

Ernani J. Cuenco

Cuenco was tutored by the best music teacher of Bulacan, Doña Belen Aldaba. After grade school, he enrolled at University of Santo Tomas High School and then its conservatory of music. At UST, Cuenco studied piano under Prof. Julio Estevan Anguita and violin under Prof. Ramon Mendoza. He finished his master’s degree at Santa Isabel College. UST granted him a scholarship in cello, mentored by Prof. Modesto Enriquez.

Cuenco was a member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Herbert Zipper and Manila Chamber of Soloists under Prof. Oscar Yatco. — RKC

ERNANI J. CUENCO
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