Ernani Joson Cuenco
National Artist for Music, 1999
Ernani Cuenco graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music and obtained a master’s degree in the same field from Santa Isabel College. He began composing when actor Joseph Estrada asked him to write the musical score for the movie “Wild, Wild, Jess” in 1966. He played with the Filipino Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Manila Symphony Orchestra from 1960 to 1968, and the Manila Chamber Soloists from 1966 to 1970. He was given the Best Musical Director Award at the Manila and Quezon City Film Festivals, and the Filipino Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) for the movies “El Vibora” (1972), “Pedro Penduko” (1974), “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig” (1974-75), “Diligin mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa” (1975-76), “Bato sa Buhangin” (1976-77), and “Bakya mo Neneng” (1977-78). UST named him the most outstanding alumnus in music for the year 1977.