At 16 years old, Ross Edillor Salvosa ’02, ’09, a native of Manila, the Philippines, was undecided whether to pursue a career in music or engineering.
Salvosa chose music, a career that’s brought him happiness and international acclaim.
"Music transcends all ages and cultures. It has the power to move and connect people, and a magical way of bringing out the best in all of us."
Ross Edillor Salvosa
In hindsight, the decision was easy. His childhood home always was filled with music and singing. Salvosa said, “My father played the guitar and my grandfather played the trumpet. When I was four, my Aunt Ruby moved in with her piano to study at the nearby University of the Philippines. That’s when I fell in love with the piano. She would pick me up and set me on the piano bench next to her and teach me how to play.”
When he was 10, Salvosa’s piano skills captured the public’s attention as he won first prize at the National Music Competition for Young Artists.
Years later, and at the recommendation of several piano pedagogues in the Philippines, Salvosa applied to Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music, then the Harid Conservatory of Music. He received a full scholarship and completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance. Today, Salvosa is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of British Columbia on a full scholarship.
“My education at Lynn was outstanding, and it made my music career soar,” he said. “I owe much to Lynn and my professors. Dr. Roberta Rust, especially, had a remarkable way of bringing out her students’ individual talents. She never imposed her musical style on us, but helped us find our own.”
A student and a teacher
Salvosa discovered his own love for piano pedagogy while teaching at Lynn’s Preparatory School of Music.
“It is rewarding to teach music because it makes a positive difference in the lives of our next generation,” said Salvosa, who teaches students as young as six years old. “It equips students with life skills, including perseverance, responsibility, creative thinking and problem-solving.”
While pursuing his doctoral degree, he also taught at the Mozart School of Music in Vancouver, Canada. In 2016, he accepted a position on the piano faculty at the Chopin Academy of Music in Issaquah, Washington, where he also serves as program coordinator.
Today, Salvosa is a pioneer of early childhood piano technique. His instruction is highly sought-after, and pupils join waitlists to work with him. But it’s not all business to Salvosa, who integrates fun and laughter into his lessons to help students relax and learn.
“I believe musical talent is preprogrammed in everyone’s DNA,” he said. “The secret is finding a way to unlock and nurture it.”
Nurturing musical talent
In 2013, Salvosa established the Music without Borders Society. He currently serves as chairman and artistic director of the society, which hosts concerto galas, concerts and competitions for aspiring musical artists.
“Performing with an orchestra and in front of a live audience changes everything,” he said. “Something magical happens when students feel their music connecting with an orchestra and its audience. Their confidence grows exponentially, and they become better musicians.”
Salvosa, a versatile artist with a wide range of solos, concertos and chamber music repertoire, also performs in concert venues around the world as an orchestra soloist, recitalist, collaborative artist, chamber musician and conductor.
He gives lectures and master classes and has adjudicated festivals and competitions in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Philippines and the U.S. Salvosa also performs newly written contemporary works for solo piano and chamber ensembles and has performed in Lynn’s New Music Festival.
“Lynn is like family to me. I look forward to going back on campus for special events and to give master classes and performances at the Conservatory of Music.”
Salvosa also plans to begin recording this year.
“I want to inspire and encourage as many people as I can to love and appreciate music,” he said. “Music is a beautiful language that transcends all ages and cultures. It has the power to move and connect people, and a magical way of bringing out the best in all of us.”