Raul M. Sunico graduated from the University of the Philippines with the degrees of Bachelor of Music (cum laude), Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and Master of Statistics. A scholarship from former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos through the Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines enabled him to finish his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, major in Piano Performance from the New York University. In 2005, he was also conferred a Doctor of Humanities degree (honoris causa) by the Far Eastern University.
Sunico won the silver medal in the 1979 Viotti International Piano Competition in Vercelli, Italy, was a finalist in the 1979 Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy and received the Henry Cowell Prize in the 1980 University of Maryland International Piano Competition in the United States. He has also served on the juries of the Bergen Philharmonic Competition in New Jersey, Isidor Bajic Memorial Piano Competition in Novi Sad, Serbia; Piyabhand Sanitwongse Piano Competition in Bangkok, Thailand; the Manila Symphony Competition, the Jeffrey Ching Piano Competition and the Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines Competition in Manila.
A TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines) Awardee for Music in 1986, Sunico was likewise conferred a 1996 PAMANA Presidential Award for Overseas Filipinos, and received the 1995 Ceres Alabado Award for Children’s Books, 1998 UP Professional Award, 1998 Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award, given by the City of Manila, 1999 KATHA Award for Best Solo Instrumental Recording, given by the Philippine Recording Industry, 2003 Diamond Jubilee Award by the U.P. Chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society, 2005 Aliw Award as Best Male Classical Instrumentalist, 2006 Awit Award for Best Instrumental Recording, 2008 UST Dangal Outstanding Artist Award, 2012 Outstanding Bulakeno Award, 2013 SM Global Pinoy Award, 2014 Quezon City Diamond Jubilee Award, 2015 Presidential Order of Merit, and the FCCP Award for Excellence in Music from the Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines in 2017. He was conferred the Commendatore Award (Order of the Star of Italy) by the President of the Republic of Italy in April 2017. He has also recently been conferred as a Steinway Artist.
Sunico has given solo recitals in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Kosovo, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Indonesia, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, England, and the Philippines. He was the soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Transylvania Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), Ottawa Chamber Orchestra (Canada), Towson Community Orchestra (Maryland, USA), Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Normal University Wind Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonia, Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and most major Philippine orchestras.
Sunico has recorded around fifty compact discs, including his piano transcriptions of Filipino folk songs and kundimans, concertos by Grieg, Saint-Saens, Ravel, and Lucino Sacramento; solo classical pieces; popular American songs set to piano; chamber and duo piano music, and original compositions. He had written piano arrangements of Philippine songs in Himig and “Mga Awit ng Himagsikan”, and is currently the music author of the textbook series “Musika at Sining” for grades 3 to 6 used in public schools. He had played the world premiere of the two piano concertos of Lucino Sacramento and a number of compositions of Jeffrey Ching. He holds the singular distinction of being the only pianist in the world to perform the four piano concertos of Sergei Rachmaninoff in a single evening on two occasions (2003 and 2019), as well as the three piano concertos of Tchaikovsky in a similar setting (2015).
Sunico was the President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) from 2010 to 2017, in which capacity he had also sat in as the head of the Philippine delegation to the ASEAN Senior Officials Meetings on Culture and the Arts (SOMCA), Board Member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA). He is currently the Chairman of the Doctoral Studies Program of St. Paul College of Music and the Performing Arts, Vice Chairman of the Federation for Asian Cultural Promotions (FACP), President of the Klassikal Music Foundation (KMF), Board Member of the Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines (FCCP), Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines (JSSP), Philippine Italian Association (PIA), Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT), Society for Cultural Enrichment Inc. (SCEI), Benito and Catalino Yap Foundation (BCYF),
Perfoming Arts and Recreation Center (PARC) Foundation, Sunico Foundation for Arts and Technology, and is a faculty member of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music where he was the Dean from 2002 - 2016.