Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Reminiscences.Ingrid Sala Santamaria .As SoloRecitalist

- Amor S. Hernando - The Philippine Star

CEBU, Philippines - Fifty years of fine music playing by Cebu's Lady of Music deserve a grand celebration.

Beauty, elegance and grace per se do not make an accomplished pianist. For Ingrid Sala Santamaria (ISS), they are simply add-ons. A firm mental grasp is foremost when analyzing and interpreting a sonata or concerto or other music genres. Once the artist is able to capture the feel and master the technique, memory does the rest.

A keen memory is indubitably an edge. ISS studies musical compositions with devotion and persistence until the music permeates her entire being. At a performance during an association's seasonal conference three years ago, she relentlessly played seven concertos in a span of four hours without looking at a musical score. The Ingridian constant is the consignment to memory of all materials to be mastered. No sheaf of printed material is ever brought onto the stage.

Every time ISS is scheduled to perform, she practices as if she were determined to win a competition. Every performance must always be perfect or near-perfect, whether playing for a select group or for thousands of people. "Everytime I have to study a concerto or a sonata, it is like climbing a mountain," Ingrid explained. She is perhaps the only Filipino pianist so far who gets invitations with short-time notices and who very seldom declines. She views every performance as a challenge to oneself, an invitation to become the ideal pianist.

"A good musician must be able to project the sounds intended by the composer," quipped ISS, "regardless of fragility in physique or sparseness in the use of body movements."

The lady has performed solo recitals in various cities and towns all over the country.Abroad, she has performed in Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, USA, Peking, Mexico, New York, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, France, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Hongkong, Malaysia, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Poland, Monte Carlo and Stockholm. Among her memorable solo performances were those in Europe: the one in Poland on May 27, 1995, in ZelazowaWola,the birth place of Chopin, during the 13th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition and the other one in Salzburg, on September 17, 1985, where she held a special recital at the Music Room in the historic Royal Palace where Mozart used to delight Austrian royalty.

Within the span of fifty years, ISS took a hiatus from her concert career twice, from 1965 to 1975 when she taught at the International School and the Assumption School in Manila; and when she was developing the Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) from 1991-2000. The former because she had to put more premium on family life, and the latter because she felt that Cebu needed an orchestra to give it a distinctive soul. When in 1991 she announced her valedictory, a Manila columnist questioned the wisdom of ISS' decision to leave the stage at such a high point in her pianistic career. The answer, of course, was that she had to make a sacrifice for a worthy cause.

In the 1970s and 1980s, ISS delighted in performing solo recitals for heads of states who visited the Philippines and also during return visits to their countries. Some of the very memorable ones were the visits to the Philippines of: German president and Madame Heinrich Luebke, 1963; U.N. Secretary General and Mrs. Kurt Waldheim, 1977; Princess Margaret, 1978; the Costa Rican First Lady, 1978; the Prince of Malta, 1979; the PROC Vice Premier and Madame Li HsienNien, 1979; the Count from Barcelona, 1979; the Japanese Prime Minister, 1979; the Yugoslavian Vice-President, 1979; the New Zealand Prime Minister Muldoon, 1980; Moroccan Princess LallaMeryen;the French Economic Delegation headed by Guistaing; the state visit of Regan, McCurry and Ramsey, 1980; the Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki, 1981; and the Duke of Gloucester, 1980.

In some of her recitals, the lady pianist had performed four hands with thefollowing: Japanese pianist Izumi Tateno, American pianist Roberta Armacost and Filipino pianists Myrna Rodriguez Adad, Erlinda Velasco,Amelita Guevarra, Carminda de Leon Regala, Anita Cabahug Trasmonte, Abescar Base Jr., Carmencita Leocadio Ybud, Raul Sunico and Jonathan Coo. Early on, she performed with her mother, Pilar Blanco Sala, on few occasions.

At present, ISS continues to give solo piano recitals, pair up with former mentor Reynaldo G. Reyes in the Romantic Piano Journey Concerto Tours (RPCJT) series, serve as an accompanist to promising musicians and perform with various orchestras,the closest to her heart being the Peace Philharmonic Philippines (PPP), Cebu's orchestraof which she was founder and prime mover from 1991 to 2000.

(To celebrate her golden pianistic anniversary, ISS will perform Chopin's Concerto No. 1 in E Minor and Mendelssohn's Concerto No. 1 in G Minor at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Ballroom on September 7, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. with the Peace Philharmonic Philippines (PPP) quintet. There will also be an ISS Golden Memorabilia exhibit on this occasion.)

vuukle comment











  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with