Cruz, Syjuco: Achievers /Ingrid, Rey resume journey
SUNDRY STROKES - Rosalinda L. Orosa () - January 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The following citation by the JCI Senate and Insular Life, which sponsored The Outstanding Filipinos (TOFIL) Award, says everything or nearly everything about Isagani R. Cruz:

“Highly principled and a deeply ethical person, Isagani Ronquillo Cruz, Ph.D., has worn many hats. But no matter what hat he wears, he has always devoted his life to the advancement of the Filipino people through his untiring work as literary writer, newspaper columnist, editor, publisher, cultural worker and manager, television host, literary judge, cabinet undersecretary, anthologist, book reviewer, quality assurance assessor and consultant, lecturer, scholar and teacher.

“His outstanding achievements in the fields of literature, journalism and media have earned him various local and international recognitions, including the prestigious Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de Merite, British Council Senior Fellow, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature Hall of Fame, South East Asian Writers Award, Gawad Dangal ng Wikang Filipino, Gawad Pangbansang Alagad ni Balagtas, Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan sa Panitikan, among others. Known to be a complex person, he is able to write about and discuss issues simply. He stimulates minds with ease as he blends wit and humor. Prolific in both English and Filipino, he is a literary giant.”

*   *   *

When I was cultural editor of the post-EDSA Manila Times, Cesare A. X. Syjuco was my visual arts critic. Reading his pieces, I immediately realized he was no ordinary critic with his vast knowledge, keenest perception of his subject and his literary style. Even then, I was already aware that Cesare was encompassing other fields as poet, painter, musician (guitarist and singer), that his wife Jean-Marie was likewise a painter, and that their children had inherited their multi-faceted talent. This was later consistently proven by the family’s diverse exhibits, held singly or jointly.

Cesare’s most recent literary feat is a CD album/poetry book of text visuals and music entitled “A Sudden Rush of Genius” — how fitting! — subtitled “The New Underground Poetry of Cesare A. X. Syjuco.” The book was adjudged one among the Five Top Best in Design” by the National Book Awards 2010 jointly sponsored by the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board.

In the album, Cesare recites his poems, among them “Murder X the mannered tongue”: what idlings erect the mannered tongue/so that it quivers on its pivot/and reberberates/murder most foul, the slanderous/rhythm that kills by inflections,/a genuflection, prim/and proper as it’s cheap? discard/the verbiage of speech, and its place/a thousand verses bloom, each resplendent,/each discreetly poisoned at the bud…/an aromatic dangerous seduction/this: lilting as (bowed) strings/silken to the ear, sensuous and black.,/the game is played with/plagued with/diagrams, the magic a sham, the trans-/formation an illusion., cold speech/is murder in any language., is., mur-/der., in., any., language.,

The book has this write-up: “A living legend, the reclusive painter, poet and critic Cesare A.X. Syjuco is undoubtedly the most acclaimed Filipino multimedia artist of our time. The prizewinning ‘Hybrid Poems’ featured in these new recordings have previously appeared in various literary publications, art projects and exhibitions, and Cesare’s occasional live performances of his own poetry and music from 1981-2008.”

More on the author: “Hailed by the Philippine press at age 15 as “the young Mozart of Pinoy Rock”, Augusto R. Syjuco was the lead guitarist, composer and arranger for FAUST!, the phenomenal art-rock band of prodigious siblings that was discovered by MTV Asia in 1996, quickly signed to a major record label and disbanded two years later after releasing two controversial albums that included the historic ‘My Secret Identity’ in 1998 – probably the first full-length album to be released for free on the worldwide internet.

“Abandoning music for the next eight years, he graduated summa cum laude, AB, in Information Technology from San Beda College Alabang. He is now Systems Analyst for a US tech conglomerate.”

Eminent pianists Ingrid Santamaria and Reynaldo Reyes resume their Romantic Concerto Journey, started in Jan. 2001, with Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 on Jan. 15, 4 pm at HMV Hypoallergenics, Makati; Jan. 16, 11 am, at Pastor Ancestral Home, Batangas; Jan. 20, 4 pm, Queen of Peace Convent, QC; Jan. 21, 5 pm, Romero and Associates, Makati.

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