PIANIST INGRID SALA SANTAMARIA SUMS UP MUSICAL LIFE OF MANY CHRISTMASES AGO
by Pablo A. Tariman
Philippine Daily Inquirer (December 22, 2014)
There is a strain of Vivaldi’s four sets of violin concertos in the life of pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria.
She has decided to sum up her musical life by way of a book she aptly called “My Four Seasons” in a well-attended book-launching held at the Casino Espanol de Cebu last December 4.
It was the night before Typhoon Ruby but Cebu Governor and Mrs. Hilario Davide III took time out to grace the book-launching with Cebu’s musicians and culturati in attendance. Shortly after the book- launching, the governor declared suspension of classes but not before poring over the book on Cebu’s most revered musician.
Santamaria’s “My Four Seasons” is all of 200 pages containing some 600 pictures that traced the pianist’s life from Cebu to Manila and back with all the music advocacies she espoused faithfully chronicled by a dozen writers in a span of over 60 decades.
Born in Cebu in 1940, the pianist wrote in the book’s foreword that she has reached the edge of her life and it is now a good time as any to review what she calls “the blueprint of my youth.”
Starting the early 60s, she recalled the rich harvest in her musical life when she graduated with a gold medal in performance with a Master’s Degree from Sta. Isabel College playing the Schumann piano concerto.
Briefly, she dwelt on her first recital in Cebu to the time she won first place in the Jeunesses Musicales of the Philippines and playing the Emperor Concerto with the National Philharmonic Orchestra under Redentor Romero. At about this time, she played Franck’s “Symphonic Variations” at the Rizal Theater sharing the stage with England’s prima ballerina assoluta — Dame Margot Fonteyn — at the Rizal Theater with British conductor Dudley Simpson at the podium.
On her personal life, she recalled her marriage to advertising executive Jose Santamaria in 1959, the various phases of her motherhood raising four children that translated into 16 grandchildren.
There was a phase in her life when she found herself asking if she could mix family life and her music career.
There was no question that she would chose family life but then a very supportive husband allowed her to pursue her music while raising a family.
Going over the book, one saw how rich Santamaria’s musical life is and how equally encompassing is her commitment to her family.
In the book-launching, the book’s 200 pages were briefly reviewed for book lovers in an audio visual presentation beautifully prepared by David Brass.
In the same event, Santamaria donated copies of her book to the representatives of the University of Cebu (UC), Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT), St. Theresa’s College (STC), University of San Carlos (USC) and the University of Southern Philippines (USP).
What made the book unique was the CD insert of the newly launched 3 CD Romantic Piano concerto Series.
All told, Santamaria divided the seasons in her life and what made them significant and memorable.
She said that growing up with her Cebu family gave her an ecstatic spring (1940-1961). In her own words, her summer (1962-March 1991) was relatively long and intense, her autumn (April 1991 to September 2012) she would remember for her 16 grandchildren. Meanwhile, she has come to terms with her winter (2012 to present) season and indeed the book was comprehensive enough to allow her to reflect on her musical life many, many Christmases ago.
Her grandson, Jay Laurel, gave the closing remarks and thanked those who supported her grandma’s musical endeavors.
The grandson told the audience: “ I really I wish the appreciation for Mama Ing’s (Ingrid Sala Santamaria) music will continue for a long time. I do vow to do my best to make this music known and loved by my generation.”
The event was capped with a performance of the last movement of Mendelssohn’s piano concerto with the alumni of the Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra namely Reynaldo Abellana ( violin 1), Nicole Badar (violin 2), Arthur John Dale Yap (viola), Roger Warner Ylaya ( cello), Jerome Rezaba ( bass), Geraldine Abellana ( flute) and Christopher Tero (bassoon).
On that joyous note, Santamaria summed her four seasons in the presence of both her family and music lovers of Cebu and Manila.