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Ingrid Sala Santamaria: Cebuana and proud |

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Ingrid Sala Santamaria: Cebuana and proud

- Honey Jarque Loop - The Philippine Star

Ingrid Sala Santamaria is one of the most dedicated and accomplished pianists in the nation. As a solo pianist, she is proficient in all genres of music and specializes in brilliantly orchestrated classical standards.

Born in Cebu, Santamaria received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano at Cebu’s Battig Piano School under her first teacher, her mother, Pilar Blanco Sala. Further studies followed at the Juilliard School in New York under Josef Raieff, and in 1962, she received her Master of Music degree from the Sta. Isabel College of Music in Manila under Aida Gonzalez. Rigorous training continued throughout the years under reputed Filipino pianists such as Reynaldo Reyes, Jose Contreras and Benjamin Tupas.    

Santamaria has performed in countless concerts in key Philippine cities as well as foreign countries. Among her memorable concerts are the Philippine Premier of the Chinese Opus in 1975, Yellow River Piano Concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, televised nationally, premier soloist at Luneta’s Concert at the Park and in the ’80s several times in piano competitions in Japan and Thailand.

In 1951 Ingrid’s 10 year-old premier solo recital in Cebu City was held. Her mother, Pilar Blanco Sala, her first piano teacher, at the Battig Piano School

As founding chair of the Cebu Piano Teacher’s Guild, she initiated five-piano concerts with music introduced by professor Reynaldo Reyes. Likewise, as founding chair of the Salvador and Pilar Sala Foundation Inc. and with Susan Sala as president, the Sala Foundation spearheaded a Ten-Year Music Development Program for talented and deserving youth from Cebu and the South on a completely scholarship-basis program, totally unprecedented in the country. 

In 1995, The Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) was founded with Prof. Rodelio Flores as its resident conductor. The CYSO evolved as a maturing orchestral group and in 2000 was launched as the Peace Philharmonic Philippines. Concurrently the PPP Junior Ensemble was formed under Prof. Jeffrey Solares to insure a steady supply of well-trained musicians in Cebu.

Ingrid Sala Santamaria is conferred Doctor of Music (Music Education), Honoris Causa by De La Salle University Taft (2006).

In 2006, she commissioned Solares to make several string quartet arrangements as accompaniment to romantic piano concerts in lieu of orchestra or the second piano.  

On the occasion of her first Manila performances’ golden anniversary, Santamaria envisions this unique combination as her legacy to her niche in Philippine music, in partnership with Prof. Solares’ arrangements and her performances with the PPP quartets.

On Sept. 7 at the Marco Polo Plaza Ballroom, Cebuanos will warmly welcome her when she performs Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 and Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 1 with the PPP Chamber quintet composed of her former scholars and faculty (Mark Hamlet Mercado and Reynaldo Abellana on violin; Christian Abaiz, clarinet; Ariel Perez, bassoon; and Kit Manus, bass).

At Margot Fonteyn’s (left, background) Manila performances Ingrid was soloist of the Quezon City Philharmonic Orchestra.

This distinguished and much-loved Cebuana has earned several awards through the years, the most significant being named Chevalier Dan’s L’Ordre National Du Merite by the French Government by decree of French Republic’s President Jacques Chirac in 2004, and in 2006 De La Salle University Taft conferred on her the Doctor of Music Education degree honoris causa.

Enhorabuena, Ingrid! You make us very proud.

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