A FORMER substitute teacher for a two-unit keyboard class is the new dean of the Conservatory of Music.

Composer Antonio Africa vows to take the Conservatory’s 70-year-old tradition of musical excellence to a global audience.

Africa, who earned the degree bachelor of music in composition at UST in 1986, replaced Raul Sunico, who had served as dean since 2002.

In an interview, Africa said his vision is to “go beyond the frontiers of what has already been established by the Conservatory” and be more recognized internationally.

“We are looking into internationalization and eventually making the Conservatory one of the best in Asia, if not, the world,” he said.

The new dean also aims to improve the Conservatory’s internal relations.

“We are now focusing on providing better facilities, equipment and musical instruments for both faculty and students,” Africa said.

As a musician, Africa said the biggest challenge he faced was avoiding comparisons with others.

“You have to keep up with yourself and be at par with everybody because there are many others out there who could be better than you,” he said. “Although music is not an economically viable profession, it is the passion that makes the difference. Passion fuels the improvement and personal satisfaction of the musician.”

Africa has always been inclined toward a career in music. He was part of the San Beda College Glee Club in high school and took up piano lessons at the Centro Escolar University Conservatory of Music.

Prior to his appointment, Africa taught theory and musical literature, composition, conducting and music technology at the Conservatory.

He trained under renowned Thomasian pianist Fr. Manuel Maramba, OSB and San Beda College music teacher Aurora Carreon.

Africa finished his master of arts in music at UST in 2007 and his master’s in ethnomusicology at Philippine Women’s University (PWU) in 2011. In 2015, he finished his doctor of philosophy in music at PWU.


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