GERARD SALONGA is the Music Director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila, a position that he has held since 2012. Following two seasons as Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra from 2016 – 2018 he was appointed Resident Conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur in January 2019.
Born in 1973, Gerard completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1994 and subsequently went to the United States to pursue arranging studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., where he graduated summa cum laude and received Berklee’s Contemporary Writing and Production Achievement Award.
He has worked with distinguished conductors such as Jaap van Zweden, Yu Long, Jun Märkl, Hans Graf, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mark Wigglesworth, and Leonard Slatkin, and has conducted the Philippine Philharmonic, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra and Chorus, Kunming Nie Er Symphony, Evergreen Symphony, Bangkok Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Orchestra Victoria, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
His orchestral arrangements have been performed by orchestras such as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, RTE Concert Orchestra, New York Pops, Guangzhou Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, and Royal Philharmonic. Gerard has also collaborated as arranger or conductor with artists like Lea Salonga, Wang Leehom, Wu Tong, Cecile Licad, Tengku Irfan, Michael Ball, Il Divo, Blake, Shen Yang, Danielle de Niese, TaikOz, Ksenija Sidorova, and The Beach Boys. In 2018 Gerard conducted the Sydney Symphony and TaikOz in the world premiere of Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth’s Breath Of Thunder (concerto for Taiko and orchestra) at the Sydney Opera House, which earned an APRA AMCOS (Australian art music) nomination for Performance Of The Year.
As a conductor of musical theatre, he has led the orchestras for the Manila stagings of Carousel (1996), They’re Playing Our Song (2000), Dreamgirls (2003), Baby (2004), West Side Story (2008), Sweeney Todd (2009), and Little Women (2010). In 2019 he conducted Sweeney Todd for Atlantis Theatrical in Manila, and in Singapore for Singapore Repertory Theatre. For his work in concerts and theatre, he is a four-time recipient of the Aliw Award for best musical director, and twice winner of the Gawad Buhay Philstage Award.
In 2012 Gerard was honoured as one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), the Philippines’ highest civilian award to achievers under the age of 40.
In 2020 Gerard will make return visits to the Philippine Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Singapore Symphony Orchestras while continuing his work with ABS-CBN and the MPO, where he conducts subscription, pops and family concerts, as well as working with the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Orchestra of The Filipino Youth.