Some of the rondalla pioneers
at the beginning of the 20th century:
- Pedro Buencamino(1866-1923)
- He was born in Abucay, Bataan. In his hometown he learned how to play the guitar and the bandurria. When he moved to Manila, he ventured into business of repairing stringed instruments. In addition , he manufactured guitars and bandurrias, violins, violoncellos, basses and harps. It took him three days to make one guitar and about a week to finish a violin. He developed an octavilla(octavina) and a piccolo of his own design.
- Victorino Carrion(1872-1935)
- He was a famous opera singer(tenor) and voice-culture instructor. How he became a musician is interesting. Whenever he had a couple of centavos in his pocket he would give them to a beggar who played the guitar and he would urge the beggar to teach him how to play the instrument. He soon learned to play the mandolin and the bandurria as well. Then he began teaching the art to the youngsters in his neighborhood. Organized Comparza Santa Cecilia in 1908.
- Manuel Antonio Mata
- Besides the piano and the organ, he also played the guitar, the bandurria and the harmonium.
- Natalio Mata
- He taught individual persons how to play the piano, the flute, and the guitar.
- Leonardo Silos(1826-1910)
- He befriended a private music teacher and this teacher taught him how to play the guitar. After mastering a book on the guitar, he gave guitar lessons. When the bandurria, the mandolin, and the laud were introduced in the Philippines and became popular he also taught the playing of these instruments until 1909.
- Rosalio Silos(1862-1896)
- Originally a pianist, he gave up the piano and studied the flute under his father, who also taught him how to play the guitar.
- Telesforo Sucgang(1855-1916)
- A native of Banga, Capiz, he was a painter, sculptor, composer and educator. His favorite instrument was the ocarina, but he also played the guitar, the violin, the bandurria and the piano.
- Nicanor Abelardo(1893-1934)
- A native of San Miguel, Bulacan, he was one of the great Filipino composers. He said, "To me the love of music was of such intensity that finally my father consented to teach me solfeggio and the bandurria, which was the favorite instrument, probably because of its being easier to acquire than anything else at that time". He soon learned to play the guitar and at the age of six he surprised and thrilled listeners with his guitar rendition of the William Tell Overture.
- Juan Silos, Jr.
- A Filipino composer and arranger who is known as the "father of the rondalla". He organized several rondalla groups including school rondallas at St. Anthony's Institution, Centro Escolar University, Assumption College. Stella Maris College, College of the Holy Spirit, University of Santo Thomas, and the far Eastern University. He also organized the "All-Star Filipino Rondalla" in 1949 which displayed its versatility with the performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concert No. 1 in B-flat and Khatchaturian's Saber Dance during Benny Goodman's farewell concert in 1949.
- Antonio J. Molina
- A renowned Filipino composer of instrumental and vocal music, he paralleled Juan Silo's enthusiam and artistry in the field. He formed several rondalla groups like the Comparza Joaquin(1905-1913) which played aboard the American Luxury Liner; Rondalla Ideal(1909-1912); Rondalla Filarmonica Juvenal(1913), which was composed of teenagers; and Yellow Taxi Rondalla(1940), which played with a Philharmonic Band conducted by Lucio San Pedro.
- Jose Estacion
- The uncle of Juan Silos, Jr., had two famous rondalla groups: Comparza Gumamela named after the flower worn by its members on the lapel of their white coat in any formal gathering; and Rondalla Apollo(1909), which was formed one Christmas eve at the Matute residence, and whose members belonged to prominent families in Manila. He headed the Conservatory of Amoy, China, and organized the Philippine Rondalla in 1927.
- Hilarion Rubio
- A composer who acted as the consultant for the La Concordia College Rondalla. in 1942.
- Dalmacio Samarista
- Conducted Rondalla Oriental in 1914.
- Macario Hernandez
- Succeded Juan Silos Jr. in directing the Centro Escolar College Rondalla.
The late 20-th century rondalla pioneers can be classified into two:
those that are foreign-based and those that are Philippine-based.