Gerard Salonga

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Gerard Salonga
Gerard Salonga.jpg
Gerard Salonga
Background information
Birth nameGerard Imutan Salonga
Born (1973-10-11) 11 October 1973 (age 47)
Manila, Philippines
Occupation(s) Arranger, conductor
Years active1982–present
Associated acts

Gerard Imutan Salonga (born 11 October 1973) is an orchestral conductor, musical arranger and orchestrator from the Philippines. He is also the musical director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the younger brother of the Tony Award-winning singer-actress Lea Salonga.



Gerard began his musical education, taking piano lessons, at the age of 5. He joined his sister, the child prodigy theatrical singer Lea Salonga, singing duets in her first album, Small Voice ("Happiness"), as well as taking part in the 8th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival as interpreters for the song entry, "Musika, Lata, Sipol at La La La" by Tess Concepcion in 1985, which won second place. Gerard is naturally associated with Lea throughout the length and breadth of her distinguished singing career, but had since successfully established his own stature and identity in the Philippine music scene.


Gerard completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1994, and briefly studied music theory with the Filipino composer Ryan Cayabyab. He subsequently went to the United States to pursue arranging studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where he graduated summa cum laude and received Berklee's Contemporary Writing and Production Achievement Award. Gerard worked briefly at Sony Pictures as an orchestrator and music copyist before returning to the Philippines in 1999. [1]

Musical career and achievements

Gerard Salonga giving a talk at a concert with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra Gerard Salonga 2.jpg
Gerard Salonga giving a talk at a concert with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra

Upon his return, he embarked on carving his own niche in the local musical landscape. He initially guest-conducted and arranged music for the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Manila Philharmonic Orchestra; and by 2005, he had garnered his third consecutive Aliw Award for Best Musical Director. He won his fourth, in 2008.

Among his stints as musical director and orchestral conductor, foremost of which are his projects with his sister Lea, Gerard Salonga arranges and conducts for Filipino OPM stars like Lani Misalucha, Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez, and hosts of others. He was also the musical director of Carmel House, a film scoring and post-production facility coupled with a recording studio in the suburb of Alabang, outskirt of Manila. In 2005, when it was then known as the Global Content Center, this was where he formed the Global Studio Orchestra (later known as FILharmoniKA ), as its in-house orchestra for the facility. [2]

In 2004 and 2005, he arranged and produced compelling station IDs for The Filipino Channel , both of which won the Promax World Silver Award in New York City ("Best Use of Music/Post Score with or without lyrics"). In 2006, he scored the musical soundtrack for the supernatural horror-thriller film, Ang Pamana, which had its world premiere at the Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival.

In 2006, together with FILharmoniKA, Gerard embarked on a series albums of titled "Musika Natin"[Our Music], highlighting works by great Filipino composers, some of which have been forgotten and some, never been performed. [3] Recent releases featured compositions by the teacher-composer Lucio San Pedro, works by jazz maestro Angel Peña [4] and works by the martial bandleader, Col. Antonio Buenaventura. Gerard Salonga also collaborated in the contemporary album "Eastern Skies" with jazz guitarist Johnny Alegre. A fifth album release, "Kumpas" featured orchestral renditions of anthems by guest Pinoy Rock icons, Ely Buendia, Sampaguita, Noel Cabangon and Wally Gonzales. The latter anthology aspired to capture the awareness of a young Filipino listening audience to the possibilities of orchestration as a commercial platform in OPM.

In 2012, Salonga began his work as the music director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional orchestra in Manila maintained by Philippine broadcast giant ABS-CBN.

Gerard Salonga has conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, The Shanghai Opera House Orchestra and Chorus, The Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan, as well as the Bangkok Symphony and Philippine Philharmonic Orchestras. His orchestral arrangements have been performed by the New York Pops, Indianapolis Symphony, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. [5]

For the 2016-17 season Gerard was appointed by Maestro Jaap van Zweden to be one of the assistant conductors of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

Personal life

He is married to violinist Divina Francisco, and together they have two children; a son and a daughter. [6] [7]


He has won the Aliw Award for Best Musical Director four times, and was inducted into the Aliw Hall of Fame in 2009. He has also won the Awit Award for Best Arrangement (recording industry award), and is twice a winner of the Philstage Gawad Buhay (Philippine musical theater) award for his work as musical director of the Manila stagings of West Side Story (Stages) and Sweeney Todd (Repertory Philippines).

In 2011, he was awarded as one of the TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) - the highest civilian award given by the President of the Philippines to Filipino achievers under the age of 40.

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  2. Matias-Pizarro, Shirley (15 January 2010). More of FILharmoniKA in 2010 Archived 17 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine . Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. Retrieved on 2010-12-2.
  3. About Us Archived 7 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine Musika Natin. Retrieved on 2010-12-2.
  4. Peña, Angel (2007). A man and his music. Ateneo de Manila University Press. p. 127. ISBN   978-971-550-509-3 . Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  5. "Maestro Gerard Salonga". ABS-CBN. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  6. Salonga, Gerard. "pizza with wife and kiddies = priceless". Facebook. Gerard Salonga's Official Facebook Page. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  7. Allan Policarpio, Allan. "Gerard Salonga started out as Lea's unexpected pianist at 7". Inquirer.Net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 3 August 2014.