Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Santamaria launches ìMy Four Seasonsî

Amor S. Hernando - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Dr. Ingrid Sala Santamaria (ISS) will launch her coffee table book today, August 14, entitled Santamaria! (My Four Seasons) at the Cebu Country Club during a luncheon meeting.

This volume is a congeries of feature articles that were written about Dr. Ingrid Sala Santamaria over the years since 1950. The collation was conceived last year as one of the items to compose her Memorabilia as she celebrated fifty years of being a pianist.   One can trace by perusing diligently the historical evolution, as it were, of an artistís struggle to achieve lifeís meaning and authenticity.

Each of the 12î by 18î pages is as colorful in content as are the photographs.  By leafing  through the pages, one will discover that writers touch upon one or two of the various facets of one of the most written-about and most-photographed Filipino notables of this century: the person, the scholar, the concert pianist, the youth symphony orchestra founder, the classical music advocate, the interior home designer, the Christmas Village builder, the photographic/fashion model, and the miniature piano collector.

In this book, Cebuís Lady of Music has explicitly divided her life into four seasons, as she has so declared several times in the past:  Spring (1940-1961), Summer (1962- March1991), Autumn (April 1991- September 7, 2012) and Winter (September 8 onwards).

ï The Person

ISSís calm-and-collected demeanor has prompted writers to take an interest in unraveling the mystic aura of this lady (the gravitas), the former being quick to note a sudden flicker of change in her facial expressions as the interviews deepened. As always, writers are drawn to her well-mannered ways, quick wit and simple child-like musings.

ï The Scholar

ISSís incisive intellect is not a mere stroke of native genius.  It is complemented by a turbulent pursuit for excellence.  In her youth, the lady graduated at the top of her class. Belying her soft-spoken and affable nature, she is never more emphatic when sharing bits of wisdom to her audience whenever she is invited to give speeches to young musicians, parents and graduating students.

ï The Concert Pianist

Drawing inspiration from her mother, Pilar Blanco Sala, ISS has excelled in the field of performance, having given over a thousand concerts ñ solo, duet with pianists or other instrumentalists, playing with chamber musicians and with well-known orchestras in this country and abroad.

ï The Youth Symphony Orchestra Founder

After a disquieting realization that Cebu needed a distinctive soul through the orchestra as a vehicle, ISS had set her sights on her dream-project.  Thereafter, she was unflappable in her desire to see the fruition of a ten-year music development program. Today, the intended multiplier effect of her magnum opus is now taking a life of its own.  It has seen the participation of about two hundred children of differing ages taking part in the activities of a well-coordinated orchestra, the Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra [now led by CYSO/Philippine Philharmonic Philippines (PPP) alumni Rey Abellana, Francis Balo and Marc Hamlet Mercado] which performs during significant occasions in Cebu City.

ï The Classical Music Advocate

Since 2001, ISS has embarked on her Romantic Piano Concerto Journey Tour (RPCJT) concert-lectures  with Prof. Reynaldo Reyes bi-annually with the end in view of rendering live performances for Filipinos to be able to appreciate the beauty of classical music by listening to it at least once in their lifetime.

ï  The Photographic/Fashion  Model

Easy-on-the-eyes, ISS has been a cynosure wherever she finds herself. Leading couturiers such as Pitoy Moreno, Felix Yu, Philip Rodriguez, Viring Romoff, Oj Hofer, Rem Divino and Fanny Serrano, had been just too eager to sew gowns for her.  She has also been the subject of photo sessions by noted artists Rupert Jacinto, Jojo Tajanlangit, George Tappan and Joanne Zapanta Andrada, among others. She was Reina Emperatriz in Cebu Plaza Hotelís Santacruzan not too long ago. Her photos were exhibited at the Nayong Pilipino, Manila, amongst several beauty queens in the 1990s.

ï  The Home Interior Designer

ISSís tasteful touches on the blending of rococo and restraint as evident in the way she furnishes her homes in Beverly Glen, Cebu City; Magallanes Village, Makati; and  Binan, Laguna.  Her ideas have been complemented and executed by artists of note along this line of specialization.

ï  The Christmas Village Builder

Indulging in her fantasies, ISS gives vent to the Yuletide seasonís magnificence by creating a two-level Christmas Village home in BiÃ’an, Laguna; and a small replication of it in her Magallanes Village, Makati home. The Laguna creation is a year-round  celebration which depicts urban and rural amenities, both local and foreign in origin.

ï  The Miniature Piano Collector

Most of ISSís 700 miniature pianos were amassed during the Spring and Summer seasons of her life during family and concert trips abroad. The pianos are made of wood, ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, plastic, scrap iron, and crystal. Sizes range from the tiniest, like a little coin, to a magnificent table-top Capodimonte tableau.

ISSís elevation to a legendary iconic status is incontestable. More often than not, young writers have been in a quandary about which facet of ISS to write about.  The befuddlement is understandable.  If it is even hard to imagine that these various facets can co-exist in the same person, it is definitely harder to posit the reality of what is imagined.

Several of the 60 or so writers included in this book have witnessed ISSís four seasons. Her Spring and Summer seasons were spent in establishing a wholesome family life and a solid  pianistic career and the balancing between both.  Autumn was when hard decisions had to be made on which musical direction to take.  The inner greatness was bursting forth to find some outward consequential undertakings in the form of community-oriented endeavors such that she had to put her pianistic career on hold.  Short of being a fairy tale, the pacing of ISSís life has been taut.  She has had silverleaf moments in this well-trodden path of a life, but she also experienced its share of drawbacks. Every time she meets challenges, she recoils gracefully and once again gains traction. Winter is seeing the fruition of the seeds she has sown. Still, never tired, she continues to fulfill her vision.

ISSís glamorous and light moments are expressions of her consummate artistry.  Ever humble, she tries to simulate ordinariness.  And ever mindful of human mortality, she exudes a quiet dignity, simplicity and sincerity.  In essence, she radiates a confluence of the sensible and the contingent; the eternal and the immutable.

The Four Seasons, anyone?


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