Artist Spotlight: Composer, Librettist (& Doctor) Ramon Sison Geluz

A photo of composer and librettist Ramon Sison Geluz in promotion of FASO@10 on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Alex Theatre.

Dr. Ramon Sison Geluz’s under the spotlight this week! Watch us play a medley of his masterpiece “Karim at Jasmin” at FASO@10 on Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Alex Theatre! Read on to learn more about this award-winning composer and librettist!

1. The “Dr.” in Dr. Ramon Sison Geluz has nothing to do with a doctorate in music. He’s a medical doctor and the Dean of Education at Healthcare Career College, but his real passion has always been in the arts, especially music and poetry! He’s won many honors for his contributions to the arts, including Recognition for Art and Culture from the International Committee of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the 2007 U.S. Philippines Expo’s Great Achievers Award and over a dozen certificates of recognition from Congress and the California State Assembly! He’s got lots of compositions under his belt including “Karim at Jasmin,” “The Martyrdom of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, The Opera” and “Song of the Sparrow, Blessed Mother Teresa.” His new book of classical Filipino prose and poetry, “Karim at Jasmin, Ang Unang Aklat,” will be released at the end of this year!

Ramon Sison Geluz at "Song the of the Sparrow, Blessed Mother Teresa."

2. Ramon says that he’s able to write music because of his genes. His father, a major in the Philippine Constabulary, developed an obsession with buying his own piano after his aunt forbade him from playing hers. The first piece of luxury furniture he bought after passing his bar exam was an upright Fritz Kuhla piano that he played by ear! Ramon’s mother grew up taking piano and voice lessons, and later taught children music and physical education.

3. Ramon was a choir kid growing up! When he was a student at Pasig Catholic College Grade School, a lady with a harmonica from the Philippines Department of Education came to his school to study the vocal ranges of its students. She had them sing “Leron, Leron Sinta” several times. Each time was in a higher key than the last. After 4 octaves, Ramon was still going strong! He soon after joined the Pasig Church Choir, a tight-knit group that embarked on performance tours in many towns and frequented TV shows!

4. FASO Excellence in Music awardee Sylvia La Torre got Ramon into composition! He vividly remembers hearing Sylvia on the set of “Oras ng Ligaya” when his choral ensemble was invited to sing on the variety show. He fell in love with her operatic voice! Sylvia and the older members of his chorus inspired Ramon to write music for their mature voices. He also wanted to pay musical tribute to those members of the chorus, who treated him with utmost kindness.

5. When Ramon married his wife, Lani, at St. Linus Church in Norwalk, Calif., he composed all the songs played at the mass! Two of those songs were included in his first major opera, “Karim at Jasmin.” The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied its world premiere at the Cultural Center of the Philippines! This opera on the culture and people of the Southern Philippines featured FASO Excellence in Music awardee Maria Cristina “Kit” Navarro, and FASO artists Pete Avendaño, Joan Cano, Bones Deoso, Jr., and Gelo Francisco! You’ll get to hear a taste of the opera at FASO@10!

Be a part of this history-making event as FASO celebrates 10 years of Filipino musical creativity and artistry on Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m., at the Alex Theatre, on 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203. Order tickets online here and check out info on the Alex Theatre’s physical box offices here. Children 2 years of age and under may enter for free. Student discounts and group rates apply. Contact Louie Ramos at luisramos91201@gmail.com, for more info on those special prices.

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