A former Fulbright scholar from the Philippines, pianist Charisse Baldoria has given concerts in five continents and was a prizewinner at the San Antonio International Piano Competition, among the top pianists of the Sydney International and Hilton Head Island International piano competitions, first prize winner of the Society for Musical Arts competition, two-time winner of the University of Michigan concerto competition, and first prize winner of several competitions in the Philippines.
In recent programs, she has worked with other artists and negotiated with her Filipino identity, juxtaposing the indigenous with the colonial and performing music inspired by Southeast Asia and Spain, of which the Philippines was a colony for 333 years. Her CD Gamelan on Piano features music inspired by Southeast Asia, with works by Lou Harrison, Colin McPhee, Godowsky, Debussy, Gareth Farr, and Philippine National Artist Ramon P. Santos. Her CD Evocación features music inspired by flamenco and tango, with pieces by Albéniz, Piazzolla, Falla, Scarlatti, and Buencamino, a Filipino composer. A current project involves Leopold Godowsky’s complete Java Suite, a set of 12 pieces inspired by his 1923 travels in Java, Indonesia.
Charisse has performed several piano recitals with poetry, video, live drawing, dance, lighting effects, and non-Western music, collaborating with dancer Julie Petry, video artist Ron Lambert, visual artist Lisa Corine von Koch, performance artist Hunter H. Fine, Hindustani classical singer Sangeetha Michael, and tabla player Murali Haran.
Charisse has also given a solo recital at the International Festival of Spanish Keyboard Music (FIMTE) in Almería, Spain, a series of concerts sponsored by Spain’s Ministry of Culture and the Instituto Cervantes, and concerts in Argentina. Awarded a grant by the Cuban Research Institute, Dr. Baldoria did research at Florida International University’s Díaz Ayala Collection, the world’s most comprehensive Cuban music collection. Her musical and personal explorations have also taken her to Brazil, Cuba, and Indonesia.
Gifted with perfect pitch, Charisse taught herself to play the piano at age four. She begged her parents to buy a piano, and when it was delivered, sat down and learned how to play, improvising and learning complete songs on her own. She later studied with Philippine pedagogue Nita Abrogar Quinto, winning numerous competitions since she was eight.
Charisse also worked as a professional composer-arranger, having written songs for Philippine Airlines, PLDT, and the Philippine Department of Energy, among others. At the University of Michigan, she studied composition with Erik Santos and Susan Botti, and electronic music with Evan Chambers. A literary buff, she is currently working on song cycles based on poems by Sara Teasdale (for soprano) and Denise Levertov (for baritone).
Dr. Baldoria studied with Logan Skelton at the University of Michigan where she did her master’s and doctoral studies under full scholarship. She is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Charisse also loves photography, travel, and food. She has gone hang-gliding in Rio, skydiving in Pennsylvania, scuba-diving in the Tubbataha reefs, and enjoys fine cuisine and exotic dishes. [CharisseBaldoria.com]
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