Emilio del Rosario


Emilio Veloso del Rosario, Jr., a distinguished faculty member at the Music Institute of Chicago for more than 40 years, passed away October 3, 2010 in Cedarburg, Wisconsin after a three-year battle with cancer. A brilliant pianist and master pedagogue, he shared his knowledge and passion for music through an extraordinary performing and teaching career that shaped the lives of hundreds of music students.

The eldest child of Emilio Mendoza del Rosario, Sr. and Magdalena Veloso, Emilio del Rosario was born in Manila, Philippines on May 3, 1934. When Emilio del Rosario was three years old, his parents began taking piano lessons. Although he was young, Emilio del Rosario was very attentive during his parents' lessons. To the amazement of everyone, he started playing the pieces his parents were learning, and he played them effortlessly and flawlessly.

Shortly thereafter, he began taking piano lessons with his aunt, Isabel Veloso, an accomplished and respected musician. He graduated high school at age 13 and went on to earn his Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) and an Artist Diploma from the Santo Tomas University in Manila. His teachers included Mieczyslaw Munz, Erno Balogh, and Julio Esteban. At the Peabody Conservatory, Emilio del Rosario was the first student of the famed American pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher, thus becoming a part of a historic teaching tradition that stretches back through Artur Schnabel, Theodor Leschitizky, and Carl Czerny to Beethoven.

Mr. del Rosario's extensive performing career included recitals, chamber music concerts, and guest appearances with orchestras throughout the United States and Asia. Highlights included performances at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, the United Nations, the National Gallery, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, and with the Manila Symphony Orchestra. He received numerous prizes, awards, grants, and scholarships, including the Steinway Prize, the Paul Thomas Prize at the Peabody Conservatory, Concert Artists' Guild Recital Award, and the Philippines Outstanding Artist Award.

In 1965, Dr. Herbert Zipper, president of the now - Music Institute of Chicago, recruited Mr. del Rosario to the faculty after the two men crossed paths in Manila, where Dr. Zipper was a guest conductor of the Manila Symphony with whom Mr. del Rosario had performed.

While many teachers of Mr. del Rosario's caliber chose to work only with older, established students, he preferred to discover and nurture young students, explaining that he was "most gratified by finding music in a child and then developing it beyond the child's wildest dreams." Nationally renowned for developing young talent, Mr. del Rosario attracted students who often drove hundreds of miles to study with him. Nicholas Roth, now an associate professor of piano at Drake University, reminisced,

"My mother drove me to the Music Institute of Chicago every Saturday for lessons (150 miles each way). Mr. del Rosario had a rare ability to appeal to every student's individual learning style; he knew how to motivate students to achieve their potential."

In addition to his work at the Music Institute of Chicago, Mr. del Rosario gave master classes for teachers' associations in the United States and Japan and served on numerous judging panels. In 1986 and 1992, he received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the National Foundation of the Arts.

As Mr. del Rosario said in a 1998 interview, "It's really very simple. I not only love what I do, I love my students as well. They are like my children. And I am one of the luckiest people around."

Our Legacy

The Emilio del Rosario Music Foundation was established in 2010 to honor the legacy of Emilio del Rosario, master pianist and teacher who dedicated his life to developing young pianists into successful performers, educators, and lifelong supporters of classical music.

Our Mission

The Emilio del Rosario Music Foundation provides performance opportunities for young piano students with Chicago-area community and professional orchestras, supports classical music education through scholarships for promising students, and fosters appreciation of classical music by connecting student musicians with local communities. Our activities include performance opportunities and master classes for young piano students, and the commissioning of new music to support aspiring young composers.

Organization and History

The Emilio del Rosario Music Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, supported by students, parents, and the general public. It was founded in 2010 by Brenda Huang, a former student of Emilio del Rosario and 1991 recipient of the Gilmore Young Artist award.

EDR Piano Concerto Competition

Since 2010, the Emilio del Rosario Piano Concerto Competition has provided more than 25 young piano students with the rare opportunity to perform with an orchestra. Each year, six finalists from the Junior and Senior divisions are selected to perform a movement of a piano concerto with the Harper College Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, the Elementary division was added to encourage students as young as seven years old to strive for excellence in classical music performance.

The first International Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition, in March 2014, builds on the success of the EDR General Concerto Competition to nurture and promote top young classical pianists at the international level through performance experiences with professional orchestras.

Future Activities

With your support, we hope to expand our programs to include scholarships for music study, commissions of new works for the piano by young composers, and extensive performance engagements for our concerto competition winners across the United States.