Gerard Salonga is a multi-awarded musical director, conductor, and arranger. He has worked with some of Asia’s brightest musical artists, including Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Wang Leehom, Hins Cheung, Elisa Chan, Wu Tong, Shenyang, and Cecile Licad. Born in Manila, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Ateneo De Manila University, and in 1998 graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, studying piano with legendary jazz pedagogue Ray Santisi, arranging with Grammy-winner Richard Evans, and conducting with David Callahan and George Monseur.
Upon his return to the Philippines, he very quickly became recognized as one of the most in-demand and versatile musicians in Manila’s music scene, earning himself the Aliw Award (the top live performance award) for Best Musical Director in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008, and was inducted into the Aliw Hall of Fame in 2010. Gerard has conducted Manila’s professional stagings of the musicals Carousel, Baby, They’re Playing Our Song, Dreamgirls, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, and Little Women, the last two earning him consecutive Philstage (Gawad Buhay) awards for Best Musical Direction in 2010 and 2011. He served as music director of FILharmoniKA (Manila) for six years, and has conducted every major orchestra in the Philippines, as well as the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, the Mostly Philharmonic Orchestra (Seoul, Korea), and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. In June 2012 Gerard arranged a special musical number performed by Coco Lee and the HK Phil for the gala performance celebrating the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
Currently Gerard is music director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional symphony orchestra maintained by Philippine broadcast giant ABS-CBN. A Disney-approved conductor, he has conducted the Philippine premieres of Disney In Concert: Tale As Old As Time, and The Magical Music Of Disney. An in-demand arranger of Symphonic Pops as well, his arrangements and orchestrations have been performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, National Symphony (Washington DC), and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras.
In November 2013, Gerard made his debut with the Shanghai Opera House Orchestra and Chorus, as the conductor of the Asian Tour of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Do You Hear The People Sing? at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. The concert, fully supported by Boublil and Schönberg and produced by Enda Markey, starred Michael Ball, Lea Salonga, Amanda Harrison, David Harris, and Marie Zamora. Gerard made his Taipei debut in March 2014, conducting the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra and National Taiwan University Chorus. Most recently in April 2015, Gerard was one of the conductors for a special concert launching Ang Misyon, the Philippines’ version of El Sistema featuring the Orchestra Of The Filipino Youth. The annotators for the concert were author Tricia Tunstall, and Jamie Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein.
Gerard composed the orchestral score for RPG Metanoia, the Philippines’ first 3D animated feature film. His work on the Station IDs of The Filipino Channel in 2004 and 2005 earned him the Promax World Silver awards for both years, and in 2011 was musical director and music arranger/producer for The Kitchen Musical, a musical drama series which aired throughout Asia on the AXN network.
In 2012 Gerard was honored by the President of the Philippines as one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), the Philippines’ highest civilian award to achievers under the age of 40.
He is married to violinist Divina Francisco, and they make their home in Manila with their children Antonio and Carmen.