Good ears, according to multi-awarded musical director/conductor/arranger Gerard Salonga, are an absolute must for anyone who wants to be a conductor.
“If your ears are not very good, don’t be a conductor,” he said.
Evidently the owner of a good pair of ears, Salonga is one of the country’s most successful musicians today.
He is currently the director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila and Assistant Conductor of Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Salonga will be the guest conductor, upon the invitation of Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) music director Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, for the third concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra 2017-2018 season.
The concert at the CCP tonight marks his debut in the subscription series.
Salonga has led the PPO thrice over the past 14 years but always in special concerts that were not part of the PPO season.
“I feel like it’s a good time for me to be conducting a proper concert with the PPO. I’ve gained a lot of experience in the past few years handling different repertoire with different orchestras, and this past season I spent as part of the Hong Kong Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden has really changed me as a musician.”
Salonga was appointed in 2016 as Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, selected from 170 international applicants. In this capacity, Salonga assisted conductors Yu Long, Zhang Guoyong, and Constantin Trinks, and soloists David Fray and Yo-Yo Ma.
He has conducted the HK Philharmonic, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra and Chorus, The Evergreen Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), Bangkok Symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and in February 2017 made his debuts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria.
Salonga is an all around music man. In addition to arranging music and scoring films, he sings, and plays the piano and a bit of the violin. “I tried the violin, then gave up after a while. Like the merchandise at Ollivander’s, an instrument has to choose you as much as you choose it…and it didn’t like me very much. For a long time, as an arranger of orchestral music, my writing has served as my instrument.”
Salonga is married to a musician—prizewinning violinist DJ Francisco-Salonga.
In his concert with the PPO, Salonga chose to do Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess-A Symphonic Picture, J. William’s Catch Me If You Can-Escapades and A. Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor From the New World.
Salonga conducts the PPO 8 p.m. tomight at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
For reservations, call the CCP Box Office (832-3704), TicketWorld (891-9999) or visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.