INTERNATIONAL BAMBOO ORGAN FESTIVAL
About the Festival
After its inaugural concert in May 5, 1975 from a triumphant return to the Philippines two years after a difficult and complicated restoration work at the Johannes Klais Orgelbau factory in Bonn, Germany, the music of the only Bamboo Organ in the world was heard again, giving birth to the International Bamboo Organ Festival the following year. This yearly musical and cultural event was organized by the Bamboo Organ Foundation Inc. and was made possible through the concerted efforts of people composed mostly of parishioners of the Parish of St. Joseph which make up the different festival committees and through the relentless support of its many corporate sponsors, sustaining members of the foundation and generous individuals who have extended their all out support in the preservation of this cultural legacy which brought about sterling and brilliant performances notably from our homegrown talents like the Las Piñas Boys Choir, Prof. Armando Salarza, titular organist of the bamboo organ, local choirs, classical artists, orchestras and other instrumentalists.
IBOF pursue and enhance the musical tradition for which Las Piñas is known for, through the historic and world famous instrument, now one of the Philippines’ national treasures – the Bamboo Organ. Though the endearing efforts of the Bamboo Organ Foundation, Inc. and volunteer-parishioners of the Parish of St. Joseph, the foundation seeks to engage and participate in a significant and enduring enterprise for the purpose of preservation, maintenance and repair for the posterity of the historic musical instrument; to financially aid the parish’s cultural, social welfare, religious and charitable activities and; to enhance and advance the spiritual, educational, social and economic well-being of the people of Las Piñas.
Professor Armando Salarza, Titular Organist
Armando V. Salarza is the Titular Organist of the Bamboo Organ of Las Piñas City, Philippines. He started piano lessons at the age of 7 and organ lessons at the Bamboo Organ at the age of 9 under Ms. Donna Ofrasio. He underwent further lessons under
Fr. Manuel Maramba, OSB. At 11, he gave his first public performance at the Bamboo Organ and became the official accompanist of the Las Piñas Boys Choir at 14 years old. He was the youngest finalist to participate in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists piano competition in 1978.
Immediately after graduating from high school, he was sent on full scholarship to the University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria where he earned, with distinction, the degree of Master of Arts in Church Music. He also received a Teacher's Certificate in Organ. In 1986–1988, Armando was an organ instructor at the Institute for Church Music at the Diocese of Graz, Austria and other parishes in Carinthia (Kärnten) as an outreach program of the Institute. He took a Postgraduate Course – Organ Concert Performance (M.A) at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria in 1988–1992. From 1984–1991, he took Master classes and workshops in organ and choral conducting in various institutions in Europe. The Ministry of Science and Research in Graz, Austria gave him the Würdigungspreis (Award of Recognition) in 1988.
In 1992, he assumed the position Organiste Titulaire of the Bamboo Organ – playing and performing for special events and concerts like the annual International Bamboo Organ Festival, playing for tourists and Sunday service, and training of organists – and Assistant Conductor/Accompanist of the Las Piñas Boys Choir. During this time, he made several recordings of the Bamboo Organ which were released here and abroad. At this time, he was also an organ instructor at the University of Santo Tomas, Conservatory of Music, Manila (1993-1995), United Evangelical Church of the Philippines in Sta. Cruz, Manila (1996–2000, 2006), Edsa Shrine, Ortigas, Mandaluyong (1995-1996), St. Stephen's Parish, Sta. Cruz, Manila (1996–2006), St. Scholastica's College, College of Music, Manila (1996-2006). In 1996, he was presented with the Kawayan Award by the Rotary Club of Las Piñas.
Professor Salarza, recognized as the country's premier concert organist, has given many important recitals in the Philippines, USA (Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, St. Louis, Boston), Europe (Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Finland). He inaugurated several pipe organs in the Philippines, one of which is the Klais organ of the Edsa Shrine.
Armando has been a prominent figure in the annual International Bamboo Organ Festival as recitalist, ensemble player, harpsichordist, and conductor, displaying the versatility of his musical talent. In 2007, he gave a series of concerts in Austria and the Czech Republic and was the featured organist at the 2nd Manila Cathedral-Basilica Pipe Organ Festival. He is currently a part-time faculty member at the College of Music of the University of the Philippines and Director of Music of the Las Piñas Boys Choir and of the Festival Choir.
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