Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata is the one of the country’s leading artists, a seasoned performer, teacher, writer and administrator, earning him wide recognition for his performance and efforts in cultural development, including the 2000 TOYM Award (Ten Outstanding Young Men), the Katha Award for his recording “Pelikula”, the 2001 Aliw Award Best Instrumentalist for his performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the 2002 Gawad ng Maynila Award. The 1997 National Book Award (Book Design) for his children’s book Water in the Ring of Fire, and the NCCA Alab ng Haraya Award.
Mr Bolipata started the violin at the age of 8 with Oscar C. Yatco as a scholar of Stella G. Brimo, and continued with Basilio Manalo and Rizalina Buenaventure. At 12 he won First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists, subsequently leaving to study at the Julliard School of Music in New York. His teachers include Dorothy Delay, Jascha Brodsky, Felix Galimir and James Buswell. He was a member of Alexander Schneider's New York String Orchestra and an original member of the New World Symphony in Miami under Michael Tilson Tomas.
He has performed worldwide as soloist and chamber musician (Bolipata Trio, Keats Trio, Gavin Quartet) in the major halls in America including Alice Tully Hall, Fischer Hall, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall and Kennedy Center, as well as numerous concerts in America, Canada, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, China Spain and France. He has performed with the Beijing Philharmonic, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the Bulgaria radio Orchestra, and as a regular soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and Saint-Saens Rondo Capriccioso with the Sophia Philharmonic of Bulgaria.
In 1990 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Art (Washington) and Artists Affiliates (New York) to bring culture to the rural areas of America which served as an impetus for his return to the Philippines to establish CASA San Miguel, a community-based arts center in Zambales that integrates arts and the rural community, working with over 100 gifted children from the community. In 2000 he co-founded the Metro Manila Community Orchestra, and the Symphony By The Sea Community Orchestra in Subic SBMA.
Mr. Bolipata served as a Trustee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, served as Executive Director of Miriam College’s Music Center for Applied Music, and is currently a commissioner to the Philippine National Commission of UNESCO.
Mr. Bolipata has significant award-winning and recognized contributions to local televisions and cinemas as producer (Puting Paalam, Concierto, Mangatyanan), actor (Boses), composer (theme song if Ina Kinasusuklaman Ba Kita) and film scorer (Boses, Boundary)
Currently he serves as founder and president of CASA San Miguel, a community-based arts center which has engaged close to 2000 children from the local community (now with a satellite for children from Tondo through CENTEX) in the art and music process as well as some of the most prominent artists in the country today including Elmer Borlongan, Don Salubayba, Myra Beltran, Carlo Gabuco, Leeroy New, among others. Many of its alumni have gone on to make names for themselves with prizes in local and international competitions, grants for residencies, international seminars, exhibits and workshops. A Casa San Miguel alumni can be found in every orchestra in the Philippines today. Most recently he was conferred the 2017 Gawad Tanglaw Ng Lahi Award, the highest honor given by the Ateneo de Manila University.