Maestro Gerard Salonga
GERARD SALONGA is a multi-awarded musical director, conductor, arranger, and multi-platinum record producer. He has collaborated with some of Asia’s finest musical artists including Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Wang Leehom, Elisa Chan, and Cecile Licad.
Born in Manila, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Ateneo De Manila University, and in 1998 graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. While at Berklee, Gerard studied piano with legendary jazz pedagogue Ray Santisi, arranging with Grammy-winner Richard Evans, and conducting with David Callahan and George Monseur, both of whom were students of Leonard Bernstein. After graduation, Gerard worked in Los Angeles as an orchestrator and proofreader at Sony Pictures, working on major film and recording projects.
After returning to the Philippines in 1999, he instantly became recognized as one of the most in-demand and versatile musicians in Manila’s music scene, earning himself the Aliw (live performance) Award for Best Musical Director in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008. In 2010 he was inducted into the Aliw Hall of Fame.
In the world of musical theatre, Gerard has led the Manila productions of Carousel, Baby, They’re Playing Our Song, Dreamgirls, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, and Little Women, the last two of which earned him consecutive Philstage (theatre) awards for Best Musical Direction in 2010 and 2011. He served as music director of FILharmoniKA for six years, has conducted all the major orchestras in the Philippines, and is a frequent guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the more memorable collaborations with the HKPO was the AK100, a special event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Last June Gerard arranged a special musical number performed by Coco Lee and the HKPO for the gala performance celebrating the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
Gerard has also conducted the Mostly Philharmonic Orchestra in Seoul, and last May he returned to the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra to conduct the opening ceremonies of the Rotary International Convention, performing the works of Faure, Tchaikovsky, and Ravel, as well as popular music with singer Tata Young, for an audience of 20,000 people.
An active composer and music producer for television and film, Gerard recently composed the score for RPG Metanoia, the Philippines’ first 3D animated feature film, as well as the orchestral news theme for TV5. His work on the Station IDs of The Filipino Channel in 2004 and 2005 earned him the Promax World Silver awards for both years, and last year concluded his first season as musical director and music arranger/producer for The Kitchen Musical, a musical drama series which premiered in October throughout Asia on the AXN network.
A new force to be reckoned with in the classical conducting world, Gerard has recently begun his work as music director of the newly-formed ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional orchestra in Manila, and has received rave reviews from music critics for his interpretations of the great symphonic works. Last July he made his ballet conducting debut leading a critically-acclaimed run of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and will join the ABS-CBN Philharmonic as it embarks on its maiden season of concerts, television, and educational/outreach work.