Cultural Center of the Philippines President Raul Sunico was recently honored with the title of “Commendatore nell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (Order of the Star of Italy) by the President of the Republic of Italy. The award ceremony was held at the residence of Italian Ambassador and Mrs. Massimo Roscigno, who conferred the award on behalf of their president.
The multi-awarded pianist and former Dean of the UST Conservatory of Music was cited for his significant contributions towards strengthening cultural relations between the Philippines and Italy—including the production of Italian operas by Verdi and Puccini; inviting Italian soprano Elena Monti, pianists Christian Leotta and Fermo Roscigno, and violinist Uto Ughi; acquiring the Italian concert grand piano Fazioli, considered by many artists as the leading brand of pianos today, for the Cultural Center of the Philippines; and coordinating several musical events with former Italian Ambassadors Rubens Fedele and Luca Fornari to celebrate the Italian National Days.
As a pianist, he had been a silver medalist at the Viotti International Piano Competition in Vercelli and a finalist in the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano. He had also performed solo recitals in Rome and Milan.
Sunico’s plaque reads:
“One of the greatest personalities of this country’s cultural world, Raul Sunico boasts an exceptional academic and artistic curriculum, ranging from Music—his main field of activity—to Mathematics, Statistics, and Philosophy.
Sunico graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Music (cum laude), Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and Master of Statistics from the University of the Philippines.
A scholarship from the Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines established by Former First Lady Imelda Marcos enabled him to finish with a Master of Music degree from the prestigious Juilliard School as well as a Ph. D in Piano Performance from the New York University. He was later conferred an honorary degree as Doctor of Humanities by the Far Eastern University.
“Sunico is a sincere lover and admirer of Italy, Italian culture, and especially the great musical tradition of our country, and despite being burdened by so many commitments and responsibilities, has always collaborated with maximum availability, generosity, and dedication to the cultural initiatives of our Embassy, often hosting them at the CCP, always providing every possible support, always ready to promote them at best,” Ambassador Roscigno noted.
Sunico’s family, friends, and associates attended the affair.