Incredibly, 420 duo concerts were performed by eminent pianists Ingrid Sala Santamaria and Reynaldo Reyes in their Romantic Concerto Journey Tour from January 2001 to August 2015.
Works of Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin and Mendelssohn were played from memory by Ingrid as soloist, Rey performing the orchestral part. The tour covered cities and provinces of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, often reaching the remotest barrios while involving daunting risk and travail under the most hazardous circumstances. Repeatedly, their pianos had to be hand-carried to places where none were available!
At each journey, the duo rendered an average of 30 concertos—at one time, they numbered 40—thus demonstrating their uniquely wide-ranging repertoire.
The Romantic Concerto Journey is recorded in an admirably attractive, meticulously and imaginatively arranged coffee table book by Ingrid. It contains hundreds of posed or action photos, reviews, varied articles and essays on the duo.
In a reprinted review of mine entitled “An Audio-Visual Delight,” the “audio” refers to the concert itself, the “visual” to Ingrid’s gown—indeed invariably eye-catching and elegant at each concerto.
Herewith is an excerpt of my review of a concert at the residence of German Ambassador Axel Weishaupt in 2006. “The over-all performance was a distinctive, admirable sampling of how Ingrid and Reynaldo have gained advocates of Romantic music through their illuminating forays as masters of their idiom.”
Ingrid gave her debut recital at the age of 10 and her Bachelor of Music Recital at 17 under her mother at the latter’s Battig Piano School in Cebu. Ingrid took advance performance studies in NY’s Juilliard School, and earned her Masters of Music degree at the Sta. Isabel College in 1962 (the first conferred) under Aida Gonzalez. She took further intensive coaching under Benjamin Tupas, Rey and Jose Contreras.
She won first prize in Jeunesses Musicale National Competition; in 1962 she premiered the Yellow River Concerto with Redentor Romero’s National Philharmonic Orchestra at the CCP. She is the first non-Japanese participant in the Hiroshima International Music Festival (1982, 1985, 1987).
In 1995, she launched the Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra, which evolved into the Peace Philharmonic Philippines in 2000. Prior to her latest book, she launched the coffee table book “My Four Seasons,” a collection of articles written on her through six decades.
Ingrid was named one of 100 Most Notable Cebuanos in 2000; in 2004 the French government conferred on her the Chevalier Dans L’ Ordre National Du Merite Award through President Jacques Chirac, in 2006, De La Salle University conferred on her a doctorate degree in Music Education. Among very few, Ingrid has successfully combined career with marriage and motherhood. She and her husband Jose Ma. Santamaria have four children and 16 grandchildren.
The father of Reynaldo Reyes of Alitagtag, Batangas was Mayor, Reyes’ mother was a teacher.
Rey learned to play the piano at the age of five and debuted at the age of 12 in a UST music festival as a scholar, later studying under Amanda Cabrera. He received a scholarship from the Paris’ Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique, and a government scholarship to study at the Peabody Conservatory where he obtained his Master’s degree and Artist’s Diploma, and won the Premier Prix in Piano.
He won a prize at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition, the second prize in Italy’s Busoni International Competition, fourth prize in Paris’ Margaret Long-Jacques Tibaud Competition and the coveted Premier Prix de Piano and Deuxieme Prix de Musique de Chambre.
Rey was named one of the Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM) Musician of the Year (three times) by the UP, and received the Dangal ng Batangan award.
He has concertized in Germany, France, Italy, England, Russia, Hungary, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and the US. He has given master classes in the Texas Christian University in Forth Worth, and in several Philippine colleges and the UP.
For 20 years, Rey served as the official accompanist of the Metropolitan Opera Regional auditions in Washington DC. He is professor at the Towson State University where many of his students have won prizes for almost 50 years.