Guitarist | Composer | Conductor
Michael Dadap was born to a family of musicians in the coastal village of Hinunangan, Leyte where he grew up surrounded by church music, jazz, big bands, and folk music. His early musical training in solfege, theory, and composition from his older brother Jerry was to profoundly influence his career and pedagogic philosophy. After graduating from the University of the Philippines majoring in Philosophy, Michael Dadap came to New York in 1971 to pursue his studies in Music at the Mannes and Juilliard Schools of music. His successful Carnegie Recital Hall debut in 1974 was followed by extensive concert tours in the United States, Europe, and the Far East. Mr. Dadap’s busy schedule does not hinder his passion for the classical guitar. An accomplished classical guitarist, he is very active both as performer, composer, and recording artist. He has published and recorded at least 6 CD albums including his original works & arrangements Philippine folk songs as well as vocal and instrumental works by Filipino composers. His CD album, “Intimate Guitar Classics” (1988) was the featured album in February 1990 on the New York Times classical radio station, WQXR, Other CDs include, “Lambingan” (1979), Dadap’s arrangements of popular Filipino love songs for solo guitar; “Songs of the Visayans for Soprano and Guitar” (1981), Dadap’s original art song settings for guitar and soprano based on Visayan folk songs; “Himig Ng Puso” ( 2002-03), or “Songs from the Heart”, featuring works of Filipino composers; and a collection of favorite works for guitar, “Serenades for Guitar” (2002-03). In 2009, Michael Dadap and Tenor Sal Malaki began to collaborate on “Mga Sining Awit” (“Art Songs” for tenor and guitar based on works by Filipino composers; Mr. Dadap’s compositions are also included in this album which was released on July 13 2010 in New York City).
In February 2010, Michael Dadap was one of the major participants of the First Philippine International Guitar Festival held in Manila. He conducted master classes, performed solo and also collaborated with Filipino guitarist, Florante Aguilar, in a duo concert at the CCP. He also conducted the Manila Symphony Orchestra performing Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez. Mr. Dadap gives regular chamber music concerts with violinist Yeou-Cheng Ma also known as the Dadap-Ma Duo. As an ensemble, they have performed extensively in the United States, Asia, and Europe.
His passion as a mentor, composer, and conductor, is revealed in his body of work as the music director of the Children’s Orchestra Society (COS). Since 1984, Michael Dadap has been the Artistic/Music Director and principal conductor of the COS in New York. In collaboration with COS faculty and staff, he initiated and developed orchestral teaching programs for young musicians, believing strongly, as backed up by his own childhood experience, that children who can read music fairly well at an early age are more motivated, open-minded, and adventurous, to learn new and challenging music material. These programs, designed for children to have fun learning in a friendly and nurturing environment, include solfege and ear training for the very young, early chamber music for all levels and the introduction of reading music before playing an instrument. Thus the phrase, “Teaching Children the Language of Music”, has become the official COS signature.
In 1992, Mr. Dadap founded the most advanced group within the Orchestra – Young Symphonic Ensemble, (YSE) with an aim to provide these talented young musicians the opportunity to perform on the concert stage with some of the world’s finest artists. Over the years, YSE worked, collaborated, and played music with concert legends, including violinists Cho-Liang Lin, Sarah Chang, Chee-Yun, Soovin Kim, and Jaime Laredo, violist Michael Tree, flutist Paula Robison,
clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and David Shifrin, pianists Cecil Licad, Emmanuel Ax, Li-Jian, Helen Huang, Sharon Robinson, and Orli Shaham, and cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Hai Ye-Ni and Eric Jacobson.
As a composer, Mr. Dadap has won the Asian-American Alliance for the Arts award for his work, “Handurawan Dance Suite,” premiered in 1988. Other works include “Song Cycle for Tenor, Flute & Guitar” and “Sonata for Violin & Piano” premiered at Alice Tully and Weill Recital Halls. In November 1990, Mr. Dadap was honored at a program featuring his works at Manila’s Cultural Center of the Philippines. In 1998, he wrote a suite for a symphony orchestra “Sinulog” which was premiered at Alice Tully Hall. Among his latest works include his most recently published Serenades for Guitar in the Visayan Style, a children’s musical play, Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of the Bitter Melon) a full-length ballet, “Legend of Tikling Bird” in the Folkloric style. A die-hard lover of his heritage’s music and culture, Mr. Dadap dedicates a large portion of his career to promote Filipino folk music, pioneering the awareness of the Philippine Rondalla in the United States. He is the founding music director of the Iskwelahang Pilipino Rondalla of Boston Massachusetts. He travels annually to the Philippines to perform concerts, teach, and give guitar master classes and workshops on a 14-string Philippine folk instrument, the Bandurria. Mr. Dadap is a strong advocate for developing and building a high level Orchestra of Plucked Instruments, (Orchestra sin Arco) also known in his country as the Rondalla. His first published book, “A Complete Method for the Virtuoso Bandurria”, is now widely used among folkloric Instrumental ensembles in the Philippines and here in the United States. His song cycle “Mga Awit Ng Pagibig” scored for Voice, Cello and Piano was featured in the 39th Season gala of Ballet Philippines in October 2008 at the CCP.
In December 2000, Michael Dadap became the first recipient of the “2000 Artist of the Year Award” sponsored by the Flushing Council on the Arts in Queens. On December 7, 2006, Mr. Dadap received from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the “Pamana Ng Lahi” Presidential Award in the Malacanang Presidential Palace in recognition of his remarkable achievements as a virtuoso musician, composer, and music teacher, proponent of Philippine traditional music and promoting Philippine culture and causes through his work. Mr. Dadap resides in Queens, New York with his wife, COS Executive Director, Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma. They have two children, Daniel and Laura.