ISA SI Gerard Salonga sa mga magagaling na young musical directors, conductors at arrangers ng bansa. He is currently the Resident Conductor of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra. Pero alam ba ninyo na he really wanted to be a journalist noong bata siya? In fact, his childhood idol was the late Max Soliven of The Philippine STAR.
Kuwento ni Gerard, “I’ve always loved writing. We had journalism class in high school, and it turned me on to journalism. I was part of the school paper. I really wanted to be a journalist. I went to college to be a journalist. I wanted to be Max Soliven. I wanted to be him. He was my idol.”
Nag-aral ng Journalism si Gerard sa Ateneo de Manila University kung saan din nag-aral ang kanyang Ate Lea. Habang nasa Ateneo, he also dabbled in theater through an organization called Blue Repertory. It was, and still is, a student organization for those interested in the performing arts. He was often assigned to the music department. Sabi niya, “That’s when I said, ‘I could do this for a job. This is fun.’”
Pagkatapos grumadweyt ay inimbitahan siya ni Ryan Cayabyab to sit in on his class to see if he could handle music on an academic level. It turned out na kaya rin ni Gerard ang mga technical na aspeto ng musika. Lumipad siya patungong Amerika to pursue further studies in music and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Berklee College of Music in the US.
Since then, Gerard has fully embraced a career in music, now going on its 14th year. He has led the Manila productions of Carousel, Baby, They’re Playing Our Song, Dreamgirls, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, and Little Women. Siya ay naging music director ng FILharmoniKA nang anim na taon and during that period conducted all the major orchestras sa bansa. Siya ang malimit na guest conductor ng Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO). Isa sa mga ‘di malilimutang collaborations niya kasama ang Hong Kong Philharmonic ay ang AK 100, a special event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Gerard also 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 will be working with Lea again as she celebrates her 35th anniversary in a concert titled “Playlist” on December 6 and 7 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). Siya ang musical director sa concert. Ayon kay Gerard, “We’ve been doing it for so long, and she knows the role, she knows how to work in a system like this. She also understands my authority as the musical director. There’s a lot of trust there, so that’s good.”
Gerard looks forward to more collaborations not just with his famous sister but with other artists as well.
Kaibigan, usap tayo muli!
Points of Boy
by Boy Abunda