Nicanor Sta. Ana Abelardo (February 7, 1893 - March 21, 1934) was a Filipino composer known for his Kundiman songs, especially before the Second World War.
Nicanor Abelardo was born in San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan. His mother belonged to a family of artists in Guagua, the Hensons. He was introduced to music when he was five years old, when his father taught him the solfeggio and the banduria. At the age of 8, he was able to compose his estoryahe first work, a waltz entitled "Ang Unang Buko," which was dedicated to his grandmother. At the age of 13, he was already playing at saloons and cabarets in Manila. At age 15, he was already teaching in barrio schools in San Ildefonso and San Miguel Bulacan. All of these happened even before young Abelardo finally took up courses under Guy F. Harrison and Robert Schofield at the UP Conservatory of Music in 1916. By 1924, following a teacher's certificate in science and composition received in 1921, he was appointed head of the composition department at the Conservatory. Years later, he ran a boarding school for young musicians, and among his students were National Artist Antonino Buenaventura, Alfredo Lozano and Lucino Sacramento. In the field of composition he is known for his redefinition of the kundiman, bringing the genre to art-song status. Among his works were "Nasaan Ka Irog," "Magbalik Ka Hirang," and "Himutok." He died in 1934 at the age of 41, leaving a collection of more than 140 works.
As a composition major at the University of the Philippines, he also composed the melody for the university's official anthem, U.P. Naming Mahal.
The building housing the College of Music in UP Diliman (Abelardo Hall) is named in his honor.
The main of the Cultural Center of the Philippines is named in his honor (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo).
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