Pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria recently donated a Kawai parlor grand piano to Sta. Isabel College of Music, her alma mater, where she earned her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance in 1962, under Aida S. Gonzalez.
The simple ceremony was held at the Sta. Cecilia Hall attended by school officials, piano pedagogues and Ingrid’s friends.
Santamaria said the donation was a humble gesture of thanksgiving to an institution that had given her education. The donation, she said, was made in memory of 50 glorious years of piano performance which started in Manila and soon all over the country, Asia, the United States and Canada.
Santamaria continues to perform with a burning passion.
Her Manila performance started with the graduation recital at Sta. Isabel College School of Music on Feb. 18, 1962. She played Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, with the Filipino Youth Symphony Orchestra (FYSO) conducted by maestro Luis Valencia.
This was followed two days later by a solo recital at St. Paul College’s Fleur de Lis Auditorium on Herran St. (now Pedro Gil). The concert was her prize for having won first place in the Search for a Talent piano competition sponsored by Jeunesse Musicale of the Philippines.
She ended her Manila engagement that year as the featured piano soloist in Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations with the Quezon City Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by British conductor Dudley Simpson. The occasion was the ballet performances of prima ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn and the stars of the Royal Ballet at the Rizal Theater in Makati on May 19-20, 1962.
In behalf of the school, Sr. Josie B. Onag, president of Sta. Isabel College, conveyed profuse thanks to the alumna’s generosity. Sr. Imelita Pacubas, chair of the Music Department, said students would be greatly inspired to hone their gift of music. Sr. Delia Parma, director of Religious Education, said the occasion was a great moment of generosity.
The donation is just in time for the 150th celebration of the arrival of the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentian Fathers, said Sr. Onag. In two years, Sta. Isabel College will celebrate its 150th year.
In answer to audience request, Santamaria played Franz Liszt’s transcription of Strauss “Dedication (Widmung)” highlighting the occasion.
Asked what activities she intended to undertake in commemoration of her golden years as a pianist, Santamaria said concerts were being lined up in Cebu City and Manila.
On Sept. 15, she will perform Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor, Op. 11, and Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor, Op. 25, in Cebu at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Ball Room in collaboration with the Peace Philharmonic of the Philippines Quintet led by Jeffrey Solares.
There will be a repeat performance on “Concert at the Park” on Sept. 15, this time with the Manila Symphony Orchestra with conducted by conductor Arturo T. Molina.
Santamaria first appeared in 1978 as a soloist on “Concert at the Park” with then Metro Manila Symphony Orchestra with maestro Regalado José as conductor.
These performances will be preceded by the Romantic Piano Concerto Journey Tours in Luzon, which Santamaria mounts with Reynaldo Reyes. The tour will be conducted July 29-Aug. 12.
The tour started in 2000. The duo has given over 400 performances all over the country and in key cities in Asia and the US.
Santamaria thanked the Lyric Piano and Organ Corporation, represented by marketing director Christopher P. Cristobal, for undertaking the transfer of the piano from her house to the school free of charge.