Armando Salarza

Staff Accompanist, Piano and Keyboard Department
College of Music, University of the Philippines, Diliman

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Armando V. Salarza is an international concert organist and is best known as the Organiste Titulaire of The Bamboo Organ of Las Piñas, the Philippines. He gave his first public performance at the age of 11 and became the youngest finalist in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) piano competition. At 14, he was the official accompanist of the Las Piñas Boys Choir. On a scholarship grant, he was sent to the University for Music and the Performing Arts in Graz, Austria where he graduated with distinction in 1988 and earned the title Magister Artium – Master of Arts degree in Church Music and a Teacher’s Certificate in Organ. He also received a special recognition award called the Würdigungspreis from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research. After graduation, he took a postgraduate course in Organ Concert Performance at the University for Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna and simultaneously attended various Master classes and workshops in organ, harpsichord, orchestra and choral conducting in various institutions in Europe, among them, Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom on a scholarship grant by the British Council. His teachers and mentors were prominent figures in classical music – Johann Trummer, Ernst Triebel and Herbert Tachezi for the organ; Gordon Murray for the harpsichord; Franziska Hammer-Drexler for voice; Josef Döller, John Rutter (choral composition) and Stephen Cleobury for choral conducting; Guy Bovet, Montserrat Torrent, John Scott, and Harald Vogel for selective Master classes in organ.

He returned to the Philippines in 1992 and was featured in several classical concert series, music festivals and important events. He inaugurated the Klais organ of the Edsa Shrine and the other prominent pipe organs in the country like the Spanish organs of San Agustin in Intramuros, Manila and the Holy Trinity Parish on the island of Loay, Bohol; as well as the largely Philippine-built organs of St. Joseph’s Academy Auditorium in Las Piñas City, San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa City and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. In 2003, he took over the helm of the Las Piñas Boys Choir as Official Conductor and trainer. Under his tutelage, the Las Piñas Boys Choir emerged as the World Champion in the Children’s Choir Category of the 5th World Choir Games held in Graz, Austria in July 2008, besting 54 other contenders worldwide. Recognized as a premier concert organist, he has given performances in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Finland and the United States of America. Since 1984, he has been performing regularly at the annual International Bamboo Organ Festival in the Philippines. Professor Salarza is currently the Artistic Director of the International Bamboo Organ Festival and a faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Music and the Manila Cathedral – Basilica Institute of Liturgical Music. He also teaches aspiring organists from different parishes and schools nationwide and gives pipe organ appreciation workshops.