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(From Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Byline: Pablo A. Tariman
In the five-part series on the "Holocaust in Manila," the Inquirer recalled the sad fate that befell Manila's prominent families, among them the Lims (Vicente), the Escodas (notably Josefa Llanes Escoda), the Quirinos, the Syquias, the Del Mundos, the Lahozes and the Colaycos, among others. But the series left out a holocaust victim who was a national treasure.
An equally shocking aftermath of the holocaust of 1945 is the death of the first Filipino violin prodigy and probably the last of the great Filipino violinists, Ernesto Vallejo.
Born in 1909, Vallejo was to the violin born as Cecile Licad was to the piano born.
If Licad impressed Van Cliburn at age 11, Vallejo at age 12 impressed no less than the great Russian violinist Mischa Ellman when the latter visited Manila in 1921.
It was Ellman himself who suggested that Vallejo be given the chance to study abroad.
The young Vallejo entered the Riverdale Country School in New York and finished his high school there.
As it was, Vallejo was not just a prodigious violinist, but a renaissance man probably in the mold of Jose Rizal.
He also studied the piano, became proficient in French, and excelled in tennis and swimming at the same time. After only three years of violin studies in the United States, …