By: Christine Marie Lim Magpile, LPT
The UP College of Music will hold a special concert entitled, “Octogintá” as a tribute to the pianist and pedagogue Prof. Mauricia D. Borromeo for her 80th birthday. Prof. Borromeo served as dean of the UP College of Music (2000–2004). She also served as vice-chair of the Humanities Division of the National Research Council of the Philippines. Presently, Prof. Borromeo is a member of the Music Committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The concert will feature the faculty, students, alumni, and performing groups of the UP College of Music such as the UP Arco, UP Concert Chorus, UP Dance Company, UP Guitar Orchestra, UP Rondalla, and the Philippine Madrigal Singers.
The concert will be held on July 23, 2019, Tuesday, at 2:00 p.m. at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP Diliman. Admission is free and open to the public.
An Inspiration to the Future Generation of Music Educators and Musicians
In her interview by the author, Prof. Borromeo shared, “My father plays the violin while my mother plays the piano. My father would like me to play the piano as he plays the violin.” She added, “The nuns in my school teach piano to students.” Graduating valedictorian in high school, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo had the option to take medicine in college but she chose to study music instead.
Prof. Mauricia Borromeo obtained graduate music degrees from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (Piano, 1971) and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Music Education, 1973), where she was twice awarded the Levi Barbour Scholarships for Oriental Women and was elected to the Pi Kappa Lambda, the USA National Music Honors Society.
She has also served as president of the Piano Teachers’ Guild of the Philippines for two terms. As an academician, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo has been a resource speaker at the regional and national music education and piano pedagogy seminar-workshops. She has also written articles on Philippine Music in the Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (l994).
Although retired from the academe, Prof. Borromeo is still actively involved in national projects of the Philippine Society for Music Education, the UP Center for Gifted Education, and the Cauahian na Gaddang.
A Mentor to the Gifted Young Pianists
Prof. Mauricia Borromeo expressed that “Music education students and piano majors should have a clear goal in mind. It’s a gift… teaching and performing.” She added that “Students should be sensitive about the importance of proficiency and artistry.”
As a proficient pianist, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo has mentored several piano winners of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) where she serves as a regional judge in the choral and instrumental categories. Teaching kids at the Extension Program of the UP College of Music, she cited that the role of parents in molding the student’s interest in music is important. Despite her busy schedule, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo finds time to perform as collaborating artists at recitals of colleagues and promising young artists.
Expressing Tribute from Colleagues
In an email correspondence with National Artist for Music, Prof. Ramon Pagayon Santos shared that “Prof. Mauricia Borromeo became a catalyst for Music Education and Piano pedagogy, as well as music administration. She gave a new thrust in the field of music teaching where she advocated for research in traditional music, having immersed herself in the investigation of Gaddang folksongs as well as other similar cultures.”
According to Santos, Prof. Borromeo “emerged as one of the leading figures in producing highly proficient pianists who have become world-class individuals in their later studies.” He added, “One of her shining moments is her stint as the dean of the UP College of Music, where she revitalized many programs which had been waylaid in the years immediately before her term. Up to now, she is still busy with leading the music committee of the NCCA and doing her mandate of contributing to the enrichment of the musical environment of the Philippines.”
For Prof. Borromeo’s eightieth birthday, Santos expressed that she “certainly deserves all the love and accolade of your colleagues, both young and old, for all your contributions to Philippine music.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Jocelyn Timbol-Guadalupe, college secretary, wishes Prof. Maurie Borromeo good health and blessings. “She deserves to have a wonderful birthday as she has been a blessing to her students because Prof. Maurie has shared her life and music to young Filipino musicians and music educators.” Timbol-Guadalupe added, “As a music educator, her keen insight and critical thinking in making personalized music programs is consistent especially when she was teaching us elementary music education methods.”
Memorable Moments with Maestra Mauricia
As one of her colleagues at the Music Education Department, Prof. Jocelyn Timbol-Guadalupe fondly recalls that Prof. Maurie Borromeo “told us to look at each child and make methods adaptable to the situation rather than ‘taking the methods hook, line, and sinker’ as she would say.” Timbol-Guadalupe added that Prof. Maurie used to cook soup for music education majors during finals week. As she remembers, “Prof. Maurie would always tell me that to teach is to share with love.”
Her former student Albert Napoleon Roldan now a lecturer at the UP College of Music shared, “My most memorable experience with Prof. Borromeo was when I won first prize in a piano competition in 2005. Prof. Borromeo encouraged me to join. I have learned from Prof. Borromeo her teaching style and have imbibed some of her teaching habits, which I apply in my own piano classes as well. Roldan added, “A good tone, a proficient technique, and an unforced but encouraging, well-rounded pedagogical approach are some of her ways in teaching music.”
“I am grateful for the privilege of having you as one of my mentors. You have taught me not just playing the piano but also about life,” expressed Roldan for Prof. Borromeo’s birthday. Roldan is thankful to Prof. Borromeo for exposing him to competitions, introducing him to a vast array of music literature, and widening his horizons. “You are a kind-hearted and patient teacher. I hope and pray that you could continue to inspire and teach more young minds,” Roldan warmly expressed for Prof. Borromeo’s birthday.
Living Life to the Fullest
Upon learning about the concert as a tribute for her birthday, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo responded, “This is very humbling.” She feels grateful to the organizers (Prof. Ena Aldecoa and Prof. Sherla Najera) and the College Executive Board for celebrating her birthday at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.
Asking what she considers her greatest achievement, Prof Mauricia Borromeo expressed, “Having good health at eighty years old.” She hopes to continue sharing music to children, tap their gifts, and build their self-confidence.”
Let us celebrate the eightieth birthday of a beloved educator who is generous and selfless, an artist par excellence. Truly, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo is an inspiration to many generations of musicians.