Ep. 26 - Honoring Folk Tradition Through Innovative Composition - Nilo Alcala

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"A lot of my choral works get inspiration from Philippine indigenous chants. We have 7000+ islands with different cultures and soundscapes, and that is itself is a very rich jump-off point for a new composition. I contact a tribe, interview them, ask permission to use a folk chant, and recompose it in a manner that is respectful of the original form of the chant but with something new added to it."
Trailblazing composer and artist Nilo Alcala is carving a legacy for Philippine Arts internationally. He is the first Philippine-born composer to receive the COPLAND HOUSE Residency Award (2017), as well as to be commissioned by Grammy-winner Los Angeles Master Chorale. He is also the first Filipino-American artist to be featured as Musical America Worldwide's Artist of the Month, and be awarded The American Prize in the Professional Division, Major Choral Works Category. He has received two Ani Ng Dangal (Harvest of Honor) awards from two Philippine Presidents.
His commissions include San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, Asia-Europe Foundation; Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival; Korean Ministry of Culture; National Music Competition for Young Artists, Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra, and many other ensembles. Other notable performances include the World Youth Choir, Asia Pacific Youth Choir, San Francisco Girls Chorus, the U.P. Symphony Orchestra, the Metro Manila Community Orchestra, and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.
Alcala's virtuosic choral works have been performed by numerous winning ensembles in prestigious competitions and festivals in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. He was member and composer-in-residence of the Philippine Madrigal Singers (UNESCO Artist for Peace). An Asian Cultural Council grantee, Alcala was a Billy Joel Fellow at Syracuse University where he received the Irene L. Crooker Music Award.
Alcala was composer-mentor from 2016 to 2019 of Pasadena Master Chorale’s “Listening to the Future” program for promising high school composers. In 2022, in cooperation with the Rotary Club University District (Quezon City, Philippines) Alcala has established the Rotary Club University District-Nilo Alcala Arts Scholarships or RCUD-NAAS for student artists.
To get in touch with Nilo, you can visit his website, www.niloalcala.com, or you can find him on Instagram or Twitter: @alcalanilo.
Email choirfampodcast@gmail.com to contact our hosts.
Podcast music from Podcast.co
Photo in episode artwork by Trace Hudson from Pexels

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