The former Dean of the Conservatory of Music and piano virtuoso Prof. Raul M. Sunico, PhD received the 2021 SUDI Awards in the 1st National Commission for Culture and Arts SUDI (NCCA SUDI) Awards, premiered on August 21, 2021. Sunico, who served as the Conservatory’s Dean from 2002 to 2016, was recognized for his valuable contributions to the Filipino music in the first decade of 2000s.
The Thomasian virtuoso and the ivory keys
Throughout his career, the multi-faceted Sunico has been no stranger to awards, recognitions, and standing ovations of the crowd, both on local and foreign soil, after he hit the last key of his piano concerts.
Known for immortalizing classical Filipino kundiman, folk songs, as well as contemporary and pop compositions, Sunico studied each song and blended it with his knowledge gained in the Juilliard School of Music in New York, and in the New York University; he aimed to bring timeless Filipino songs in the international map.
Moreover, Sunico’s notable contribution was to bring to life and to evoke national pride in the pioneering Filipino classical songs written by National Artists for Music Julio Nakpil, Felipe de Leon, Levi Celerio, and Ernani Cuenco, to name some, in every concert. Furthermore, Sunico recorded his renditions of classic Filipino love songs in his three-volume anthology entitled “Filipino Love Songs – In a Classic Piano Mood”.
In 2005, he was named the “Best Male Classical Instrumentalist” in the Aliw Awards, hosted by Ultimate Entertainment. A year later, Sunico, along with Thomasian cello professor Assoc. Prof. Renato Lucas, PhD, bagged the “Best Instrumental Recording” award for their recording of George Canseco’s “Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan.” In the same year, the Far Eastern University conferred the degree Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) to the Thomasian virtuoso. In 2008, he was named the Outstanding Artist in the Dangal ng UST Awards.
Sunico served as the artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2009; he was elected by the CCP Board as its president the following year.
In its two-part program, NCCA recognized nine awardees and three special citations, whose contributions fall in the 2000 to 2009 category; while the second installment of the program, to be aired on August 28, 2021 at 7 p.m., will recognize 10 awardees and five special citations, whose contributions fall in the 2010 to 2020 category.
A brainchild of the National Artist for Literature and former NCCA chairman, Dr. Virgilio S. Almario, the SUDI Awards is given to the outstanding musical achievements of artists, musical pieces, journals, cultural workers, or institutions that defined the past decades.
Moreover, SUDI is an Ilokano adjective synonymous to “illustrious”, “renowned”, “celebrated”, or “famous”.