Nilo Alcala completed his Masters in Music Composition (2009) at Syracuse University Setnor School of Music (New York State) where he was awarded the Irene L. Crooker Music Award. A recipient of a Billy Joel Fellowship, Alcala also received grants from the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) of the Philippines. He was a BS Development Communication graduate from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (1999) prior to his admission to the BM Composition program of the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Music. He graduated Magna cum laude (2007) and received the Gawad Tsanselor Natatanging Mag-aaral Award.
Alcala’s awards also include the 2004 Asian Composer’s League (ACL) Young Composer Award (2nd Prize) in a competition of chamber music compositions held in Jerusalem, Israel, as well as the 2008-2008 POLYPHONOS Young Composer Award given by The Esoterics, a vocal-ensemble based in Seattle, USA. Alcala’s portfolio for Polyphonos was chosen from among 128 entries from different countries. In February 2009, Alcala received an Ani ng Dangal Award from the NCCA in recognition of his victories in international competitions.
The Metro Manila Community Orchestra has premiered Alcala’s works entitled “Diary of a Synaesthete” (orchestra) and "Speak to me my love/You are the evening cloud" (orchestra and voice) on February of 2006 and 2007, respectively, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). He was also the Philippine delegate to and featured composer in the 1st I'mPULSE International Music Camp organized by the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) in February 2005. His works also received readings from acclaimed international chamber groups as the Cassatt String Quartet and the Da Capo Chamber Players.
Alcala’s commissions include the official contest pieces for the Youth Choir Category of the 2005 National Music Competitions for Young Artists or NAMCYA as well as the 2008 Voices in Harmony choral competition organized by the Children’s Museum and Library, Inc. Alcala’s choral works have also been performed by a number of Asian choirs in festivals, concert, and competitions held in China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Austria, Belgium, and Slovakia.
An active chorister, he was member and composer-in-residence (2004-2007) of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Asia’s most awarded and most traveled choir. The group premiered his works in concert tours in the United States, and several countries in Asia and Europe, including the following prestigious international competitions: 35th Florilege Vocal de Tours (Tours, France) and the 2007 European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (Arezzo, Italy). Alcala’s concert tours with the Philippine Madrigal Singers include Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain (May-August 2004); Korea (Dec, 2004); Thailand (March 2005); USA (November-December 2005) Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and France (May-June 2006), and Japan (December 2006).
Other accomplishments under his name include nominations for Best Music Score at the 2003 Star Awards for Movies, Golden Screen Awards, and the 24th Metro Manila Film Festival for the movie "Homecoming" by acclaimed Filipino director Gil Portes. He also won Best Sound Design/Musical Score for the short animated film "Flowertrail" at the 2004 INDEO Film Festival held at the UP Film Center.
Alcala’s composition teachers include Nicholas Scherzinger, Gregory Mertl, Daniel Godfrey, Jonas Baes, Christine Muyco, Josefino Chino Toledo, and Ramon Pagayon Santos.