Leonor Kilayko: A Woman of Dedication and Passion for Music

Leonor Kilayko graced the Cebuanos on a fine Saturday evening with her piano playing some unforgettable classics like Pour le piano L. 95 of Claude Debussy (1862-1918), (1770-1827) Ludwig van Beethoven’s Variations in C minor, Wo080 and Ballade No. 1 in G minor, op.23 by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

Leonor Kilayko

Pour le piano (For the piano) L. 95 of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) is a suite for solo piano composed in 1901 by Claude Debussy. (1770-1827) Ludwig van Beethoven’s Variations in C minor, Wo080 is a solo piano work by Beethoven composed in 1806. Ballade No. 1 in G minor, op.23 by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was written in 1831. It is one of the more popular Chopin pieces and was prominently featured in the 2002 Roman Polanski film, The Pianist. 

A former professor of the University of the Philippines College of Music and University of Santo Tomas Conservatory Music confided that she played the three classical pieces in her show because she finds joy and comfort in playing them.

Leonor Kilayko, founded the national piano competition which is also a joint effort of the Keyboard Department of the University of the Philippines College of Music and the Steinway Boutique Manila. This is to encourage young pianists in the Philippines ages 18-25 to achieve excellence in performance and be recognized as the crème of the crop in the Philippines to the wider audience. The competition is held at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium and Minihall, University of the Philippines College of Music.


Influenced by her father and a house in Talisay, Negros Occidental (where she grew up) filled with the piano playing of her mother, played key roles in Kilayko’s love for piano at such an early age. Driven by her passion, she pursued Bachelor of Music degree in St. Scholastica’s College, Manila and attained her postgraduate studies at the Mannes School of Music in New York, under Russian pedagogue Olga Stroumillo. In Germany, she then completed the highest degree in performance granted to high caliber music graduates, Konzertexamen, at the Staatliche Hochsule fur Musik Koln.

She has a high regard for Russian and Poilsh musicians as two of the best in the world. Kilayko loves the virtuoso technique of Russian American classical pianist and composer, Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz and she also likes Polish American pianist, Arthur Rubinstein who is regarded as the greatest Chopin interpreter of his time.

Candidly, Leonor Kilayko only plays the piano because according to her, “it’s enough to master one instrument. It’s not a joke to be a master!”

True enough, she spent decades honing her piano skills and become a master of the instrument. Her dedication for concertizing had earned her the rightful place to play in esteemed concert halls in Europe like Wigmore Hall in London, Belgishces Haus in Koln, and many more.

That’s Leonor Kilayko, the Filipino concert pianist and pedagogue par excellence but to the hearts of people who know her, she is a woman of dedication and passion for music.

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