Dr. Rodolfo S. Cornejo was a distinguished Filipino composer-pianist-conductor and professional lecturer. He was a musician who became a church organist at the age of 8, a composer at the age of 10, whose composition was published when he was 13 (a military march entitled "Salute" dedicated to then Governor;General Leonard Wood of the Commonwealth Period), a holder of a Teaches Diploma from the University of the Philippines at 23, and a degree holder of Master in Music ( Mus. M.) in composition conferred by the Chicago Musical College at 24.
His Symphonic Suite in 5 movements, which was well received by his American professors in New York, was finished within 28 days.
He served as director-pianist for the American USO Concert Unit in Europe during World War ll ( a Captain assigned to the 9th U.S Air Force Special Service Division), and was appointed by then Pres. Manuel L. Quezon as Researcher and Official Composer of the Philippine Government-in-exile in Washington D.C. ( Ironically, his composition was used as background music for documentary film taken on the funeral of the President.)
After the war he became a piano soloist with the New York Symphony Orchestra, the CBS Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles WPA Symphony Orchestra and others.
He returned to the Philippines and became a soloist with the Manila Symphony Orchestra. He was composer and musical director of Sampaguita and Vera Perez movie companies, directing the musical scores of 27 movies. He taught Humanities at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
His rare and distinct talent was his exceptional ability to render on piano classical and contemporary "on-the-spot" improvisations based on a succession of notes or number given by the audience.
His over 35 works include symphonies, concertos for piano, violin and marimba, rhapsodies, sonatas, chamber music, solo voice and chorale music and solemn mass music among others.
He has been nominated and considered several times for the prestigious National Artist Award in Music. He passed away on 1 1 August 1 991 at the age of 82.
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