Santamaria’s boundless stage

Jenara Regis Newman
·3 min read

Where is Dr. Ingrid Sala-Santamaria today? She has her videos on YouTube — not just on one channel but on three.

“This is big — really big,” enthused David Brass of CinePro Video International. That’s because with the flip of a switch, one can hear the piano artistry of Dr. Santamaria any time of the day or night, anywhere in the world.

Brass, who put up the channels for Dr. Santamaria, recounted the pianist’s history, from the time she studied piano under her mother’s (Pilar Blanco Sala) tutelage in her hometown, Cebu, to Dr. Santamaria’s becoming a concert pianist on the world stage. Brass also recalled how Dr. Santamaria gave those all up in 1990 for 10 years on a mission to forge a symphony orchestra in Cebu by teaching musically inclined youth how to play the music instrument of their choice, resulting in the launching of the Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) in 1995.

The CYSO evolved into the Peace Philharmonic Philippines in the year 2000. Some members of this orchestra have launched their own music schools and their own orchestras, making classical music alive and well in Cebu.

After this 10-year hiatus in Dr. Santamaria’s concertizing career, she embarked on a journey with her piano professor, United States-based Maestro Reynaldo Reyes, in concert tours all over the Philippines where they played the music from the “romance” composers.

It was in one of these concerts that Ingrid met businessman and classic pianist Jeffrey Almonte who told her about YouTube, “which she might find useful in sharing classical piano music to just about everyone.”

“Immediately, Ingrid saw the possibilities and started her own channel in 2008,” said Brass. This is the “Ingrid Sala Santamaria” channel in which she shares videos of her concerts with Reyes, with other orchestras and with the youth orchestras.

The second channel is the “Dr. Ingrid Sala Santamaria” channel, launched in 2018 and features a series of concertos she played with the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Prof. Jeffrey Solares, plus other concerts which had not yet been uploaded in her first channel.

In January this year, Dr. Santamaria launched another channel, simply called “Third Ingrid Sala-Santamaria.” This channel contains videos uploaded in shorter segments.

The channel features many ecumenical concerts, with her performing as soloist with new symphony orchestras that have been formed through the leadership of her first generation musicians.

Brass continued: “And now, from 2021 onward, all of these meaningful, defining videos which make major statements with regard to her development of classical music awareness and enjoyment are being uploaded simultaneously to all three channels of hers. This is big. This is really big. Why so? Because now, due to Ingrid Sala-Santamaria’s sustained mission and vision, there is a clear roadmap for the dreams — of those who believe in the importance of classical music, of those who believe that classical music does not need to fade away into some minor musical niche.”

“Ingrid is showing us the way, showing people exactly what they can do to train their young citizens to live enjoyable, fruitful and peaceful lives either as mere listeners who enjoy and appreciate the value of classical music or as classical performing musicians themselves, with the ability to carry on the sharing of classical music for the whole world and for all times,” he added.

Where is Ingrid Sala-Santamaria? She is on YouTube — a boundless stage that transcends space and time.