Art, Exhibit, Lobby, Museum, UP Vargas Museum

Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project

Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project
20 June 2008, 6 : 00 PM
The Lobby, G/F
UP Vargas Museum

To celebrate the centenary of the University of the Philippines, the UP Jorge B. Vargas Museum presents the soft launch of the Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project on 20 June 2008, 6:00 PM at the Lobby of the UP Vargas Museum.

The Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project is an ongoing residency project of Australia-based artist Alwin Reamillo at the UP Vargas Museum. This developmental restoration project involves the artist’s sourcing of old upright and grand pianos and its transformation as art case instruments. These art case pianos also function as conceptual portraits to pay tribute to the memory of Nicanor Abelardo. Considered as the first modernist composer in the country and the composer of the university hymn, UP Our Beloved / UP Naming Mahal, Abelardo also wrote the first piano concerto in the country and pioneered the research of traditional musical forms that led to the development of the Kundiman to art music status.

The artist’s installation will feature two art case instruments, built from found Wittemberg upright pianos (1990) as prelude to the development of the grand piano. The installation will thematically focus on Abelardo’s classical work Mutya ng Pasig, which will be animated through text, objects, found piano parts and imagery drawn from extant photographs and popular culture to mark the artist’s musical journey as a composer. To signify work in progress, the artist will also feature a found grand piano, which will be developed in the months to come. A series of small-scale, wing-shaped piano lids and its mirror construction will also be developed to depict the artist’s journey as a government scholar to the United States. These ‘wing works’ thematically reference other classic Kundiman compositions such as Nasaan Ka Irog and Bituing Marikit. The final launch of the Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project is set in December 2008.

For the opening of the installation exhibit, students from the UP College of Music will play selected pieces to highlight the musical legacy of Abelardo.

For details on the Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project, please contact the UP Vargas Museum at numbers 928-1927 (direct line), 928-1925 (telefax), 981-8500 locals 4024 / 23, or email us at


About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.


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