Priest-musician Manuel Maramba dies

Published July 13, 2020, 3:59 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Benedictine monk Father Manuel Maramba of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Manila, succumbed to pancreatic cancer around 2:49 a.m. Monday, July 13, only nine days after celebrating his 84th birthday, CBCP News announced. 

(Archdiocese of Caceres Commission on Liturgical Music / MANILA BULLETIN)

Born in Pangasinan, Maramba started playing music at a very young age. 

His first public performance, age 11, was at the Saint Joseph Parish in Las Piñas City. 

He would eventually become the official accompanist of the Las Piñas Boys Choir at 14.

Maramba was also the youngest to participate in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists piano competition in 1978.

After finishing his music degree in piano at the UST Conservatory of Music in the 1950s, Maramba studied music further at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, obtaining his Master of Music degree at the age of 19.

He would go on to earn a Master of Musical Arts in Performance degree at Yale University’s School of Music.

Aside from his degrees in music, he also obtained his licentiate in sacred theology and canon law.  

Maramba made his monastic profession of vows in April 1962. He was ordained to the priesthood in December 1967.

In 1997, Maramba founded the San Beda College Alabang Symphony Orchestra, formerly known as the St. Benedict College Band.

Maramba composed three operas namely, “Aba! Sto. Niño,” “La Naval,” and “Lord Takayama Ukon.”

His other compositions include a song in honor of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and the official hymn to the 1996 National Eucharistic Congress, the music for “Awakening” as commissioned by Ballet Philippines, and the music for Philippine Ballet Theater’s production of “Seven Mansions.”