Regina Buenaventura is currently pursuing her Master’s in Violin Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium, where she is a Merit Scholar, under Prof. Ole Böhn. She obtained her Bachelor of Music in String Performance under artist-pedagogue Prof. Almita Vamos at the Bienen School of Music of Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. At Northwestern University, she was awarded a Merit scholarship and was part of the Dean’s List four times. She has also been a scholar for the arts of Standard Insurance Co, Inc from 2003-2013. Regina has had chamber music coaching under Dr. Goetz Richter, Dr. Roland Vamos, Mr. Mathias Tacke (2nd violinist of the Vermeer Quartet), and Dr. Russell Rolen (cellist of the Spektral Quartet). She has also participated in masterclasses with soloists Ruggiero Ricci, Alice Schoenfeld, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and Isabelle van Keulen.
In terms of pedagogy, Regina is currently also undergoing Teacher Training with the Suzuki Talent Education Association of Australia, New South Wales. At Northwestern University she completed the Suzuki Pedagogy “Every Child Can!” course with the late cellist and master teacher Gilda Barston. She has also given lessons and outreach concerts for Sistemang Pilipino, Inc, based in Cebu. Sistemang Pilipino, Inc. was inspired by the international El Sistema movement, which focuses on providing music lessons for the underprivileged and also seeks to teach values of good citizenship through music education.
Regina made her orchestral debut with the Manila Symphony Orchestra II at 14 years old, playing Camille Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto in B minor. She has performed with the Manila Symphony Orchestra II several times, performing the Korngold, Barber, Brahms (1st mvmt) and Beethoven Violin Concerti. Other Philippine-based orchestras Regina has performed with are the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Filharmonika. She was a featured violin soloist in Filharmonika’s CD Heritage: The Music of Col. Antonino Buenaventura. Regina began giving her first international concerts when she was 15, performing several times in Texas and in Chicago. Notably, in College Station, Texas, she was invited to perform at the President George Bush Library. She has also given outreach performances in public and private schools since she was 12.
Born into a musical family, Regina is the granddaughter of National Artist for Music Col. Antonino Buenaventura and violinist Prof. Rizalina Exconde-Buenaventura. She started violin lessons with her grandmother at seven years old. At ten years old, the UST Conservatory of Music awarded her a scholarship to study with Prof. Sergio Esmilla. After a year of his guidance, she won first prize at the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), Category A. The competition opened up opportunities to perform in several places around the Philippines, such as in Ilocos Norte, General Santos, and for public schools. Prior to studying in the US, she also studied under the violin professors Basilio Manalo, Arturo Molina, and Gina Medina-Perez.
Since moving to Taiwan in 2009, cellist Victor Coo has established himself as a chamber musician, recitalist, soloist, and educator. Performing frequently with various ensembles and collaborating with musicians and other artists from different fields in the arts, Coo braves himself in challenging musical languages from Early Music to 21st Century Music, while having interest in classical, folk, and alternative music from different countries and traditions.
Victor Coo began playing the cello just before entering the Philippine High School for the Arts. While studying with Amador Tamayo and Wilfredo Pasamba, he won the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) and the Haydn Cello Concerto competitions in Manila. He then had the opportunity to participate at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, and was selected to perform Saint-Saëns Cello Concert No. 1 with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. He then continued his musical training with Johanne Perron at the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. During his time in Florida, he won several competitions and awards including the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Boca Pops Competition, and the Conservatory Concerto Competition. Moving then to Maryland, he was the recipient of the Neil Tilkens Music Award at Columbia Union College and the winner of the Homer Ulrich Awards competition at the University of Maryland.
Victor has performed with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Manila Philharmonic, Lynn Philharmonia, and MasterWorks Festival Orchestra. As a former principal cellist and soloist of the New England Youth Ensemble, he has performed with the group in Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and has toured with them in countries such as Jamaica, England, Scotland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Iceland.
As a chamber music enthusiast, Coo has collaborated with well known artists such as, Nai-Yuan Hu, Ilya Kaler, Yuri Gandelsman, Yizhak Schotten, Suren Bagratuni, Ralph Votapek, Joseph Robinson, and Richard Sherman. He also participated in festivals such as the Taiwan Connection, Cello Plus series in Michigan, Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, Sarasota Music Festival in Florida, MasterWorks Festival in Indiana, the International Workshops in Graz, Austria and Ecole d’Art Americanes de Fontainebleau in France where he is a recipient of the Casadesus Prize and the Chamber Prize. He also collaborates frequently with his wife, pianist Ya-Hsin Wu, performing as a duo in Taiwan, Philippines, United States, and most recently in Italy being the recipient of the 1st prize in chamber music at the International Music Competition Premio “Citta di Padova.”
Victor Coo received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance graduate at the Michigan State University. He earned his Master of Music at University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree and a minor in Philosophy from Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University), in Takoma Park, Maryland. Under the guidance of Suren Bagratuni at Michigan, Coo was also taught by Evelyn Elsing in Maryland. In addition, he has worked with and had master classes with Orlando Cole, Ronald Leonard, Timothy Eddy, Steven Doane, Peter Wiley, Emilio Colon, Igor Gavrish, Leonardo Altino, Marc Drobinsky, Anne Martindale-Williams, Herre-Jan Stegenga, Henri Demarquette, Diana Ligeti, and Dominique de Williencourt.
With a strong interest in education, Coo has held master classes and lectures both in Taiwan and Philippines. Currently a cello faculty at the Taipei National University of the Arts and National Taiwan Normal University, he resides in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with his wife and two kids.
Praised for his emotional energy and technical brilliance, Oliver Salonga has captivated audience in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has had a graceful transition from being a child prodigy to an artist of high musical insights.
He gained national recognition after winning first prizes in the National Music Competition for Young Artist twice in a row in 1998 and 2001. He graduated from the Philippine High School for the Arts with High Honors and as Outstanding Graduate Artist in Music in 2003. During the early stages of his musical career, he was exposed to Suzuki Method under the tutelage of Prof. Carmencita Arambulo. He has performed in Suzuki International Conventions in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia.
Oliver Salonga received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at University of Southern California with minors in Music Analysis, Arts Management, and Collaborative Arts. He obtained his Master of Music and Artist Diploma in Piano Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was awarded the Zellen Piano Prize in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
As a veteran of international competitions, Salonga won Gold Medal in 2008 Joenju International Piano Competition in South Korea. Also, he has been invited to the world’s prestigious competitions which includes 2008 Florida International Piano Competition, 2010 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, 2011 Scottish International Piano Competition, 2011 Rina Sala Gallo International Piano Competition to name a few. His past conservatory mentors include Dr. Angela Cholakian, Mr. Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Dr. Roberta Rust, and Mr. Norman Krieger.
His concerto repertoire ranges from classical concertos of Beethoven to contemporary concertos of Prokofieff and has performed with international orchestras such as Manila Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. His solo performances were radio broadcasted and live streamed at Hilton Head Classical Radio Station, WXEL 90.7, DZFE 98.7 and Dulwich College, UK.
As a pedagogue, he has given masterclasses at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, University of Sto. Tomas, St. Paul University Manila, Children’s Talent Education Center, Clarion for the Performing Arts, Philippine Suzuki Association and Philippine High School for the Arts. He recently adjudicated for the Semi-Finals of the 2017 National Music Competition for Young Artists.
Currently, Dr. Salonga is an Associate Professor of piano in FaceArt Institute of Music in Shanghai, China. In China, he has performed recitals in Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Steinway Gallery in Nanjing and Suzhou, and Shanghai Symphony Hall. He has taught at Soochow University School of Music and Shanghai United International School.