Andrea Veneracion - Biography


She was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and earned her Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano and Voice at the University of the Philippines Diliman graduating Cum Laude. She was a lyric soprano soloist in various Oratorio works and in the Opera Stage. She was also a very accomplished pianist and accompanist and was the accompanist of National Artist for Music, Jovita Fuentes for a number of years. Apart from being an extraordinary musician, she was also an exceptional athlete as a competitive swimmer. In fact, she was part of the Philippine Swimming team who first competed internationally in Hong Kong.

Later on, she continued to pursue her Master's Degree in Voice at Indiana University School of Music - Bloomington as a Fulbright scholar, where there she encountered the Indiana University Madrigal Singers which rallied the music of the Renaissance period.

Upon her return to the Philippines in 1963, she established a singing group with the same idea. This group was initially exclusive of U.P. faculty members and students and became officially known as the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers. She established a tradition for which the Madz, as they are fondly called, are known for: unlike most choirs, the Madz were seated in a semicircular formation without a conductor. The Choirmaster is at the left-most end of the circle who leads the group by giving their cues.

Under her direction, the Philippine Madrigal Singers won major awards in international choral competitions - Spittal, Austria; Arezzo and Gorizia, Italy; Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Debrecen, Hungary; Varna, Bulgaria; Tolosa, Spain; and Marktoberdorf, Germany. In 1996, she led the Philippine Madrigal Singers to its victory in the 1996 International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain. This made them eligible to compete for the European Choral Grand Prix on the following year and eventually won the title in Tours, France.

She is also the founding choirmaster and first conductor of the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM) Chorale.

Later, some of her choristers went on to establish their own careers as well-known music performers and choral composers, conductors and arrangers in the Philippines; they include Ryan Cayabyab, Joel Navarro, Joy Nilo, Victor Asuncion, Montet Acoymo, Robert Delgado, Edgardo Nepomuceno, Jonathan Velasco, Eudenice Palaruan, Fr. Arnold Zamora, Christopher Borela, Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero and the present Madz Choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio.

In 1997, She was awarded the TOFIL (The Outstanding Filipino) Award for Culture and the Arts For her contributions to the development of choral singing in the Philippines.

Eventually in 1999, Ma'am OA was named National Artist for Music, the highest cultural award bestowed by the Philippine government for an individual.].

In 2001, she retired as the Choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Together with an artistic committee, she personally selected Mark Anthony Carpio, her Assistant Choirmaster at that time, to be her successor. The Madz turnover ceremonies were held in a special concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines coinciding with the launch of her biography "A Life Shaped By Music" by Marjorie Evasco.

She continued to guide the Madz under Carpio's baton by joining them in their 2002 North American Tours, 2003 Asian Tours and 2004 European Concert Tours. She was also there to witness Carpio's first international competition as Choirmaster (and the Madz's first competition after 7 years) at the 2004 International Competition of Habaneras and Polyphony in Torrevieja, Spain, where the Madz won First Places for both categories and was also the last choir to do so.

In December, 2005, she suffered a massive stroke which led to her paralysis. The Madz is constantly performing benefit concerts, the proceeds of which are used to help the Veneracion family for Ma'am OA's medical expenses.

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