The Ateneo Chamber Singers was formed in 2001 by graduating members of the Ateneo College Glee Club who had then just completed a very successful tour of Europe, bagging top prizes in Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, France, Germany and Hungary. Since then, the ACS has established itself as a formidable presence in the Philippine musical landscape. Their unique specialization in sacred choral music has opened a richly eclectic mix of European, American and Asian choral literature that spans medieval to post-modern periods, traditional to contemporary styles, complex art music to highly-textured indigenous music, and moving spirituals to psalmody hewn of traditional Asian musics.
In 2006, the ACS made their mark in Europe with Awit: The First ACS European Tour, representing the Philippines in two important choral events: the Polyfollia in France, a biennial international choral festival in Saint-Lo in La Manche, and the 38th Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain where they emerged as First Prize winners in the polyphony category, besting counterparts from Europe and the USA.
They have completed two North American concert tours, visiting numerous cities and performing at Berklee College of Music and at the music schools of Boston University, Harvard University, Calvin College, Indiana University and University of California-Berkley.
They have also participated in Three: A Biennial Choir Festival featuring Singapore’s Jennifer Tham and the SYC Choral Ensemble and Japan’s Ko Matsushita and the Gaia Philharmonic Choir. To end the first cycle of these concerts, the ACS had the honor of hosting these choirs during Tatlo: A Choral Celebration, a grand concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last January 2011.
The ACS has also released two critically acclaimed album: Awit sa Panginoon and Umawit sa Kagalakan. In 2010, it released its first Christmas album Ang Ating Pasko, a collaboration with the Jesuit Communications Foundation, Inc. (JesCom).
The album features songs by Ryan Cayabyab, Fr. Manoling Francico SJ, Moy Ortiz, Jose Mari Chan, Fr. Arnel Aquino SJ and ACS members Trina Belamide, Arnel De Pano and Dada De Pano-Supnet. It also features orchestration by multi-awarded movie scorer and ACS member Von de Guzman. One of the most popular tracks in the album, Ilang Tulog Pa Ba?, won Best Christmas Recording at the 24th Awit Awards.
The ACS recently ventured into a new genre, launching its second album with JesCom. Love I’ve Found In You, a compilation of love songs composed by ACS members Trina Belamide and Arnel De Pano was released at a sold-out concert entitle Where There Is Love last September 2011. Matibay, a song composed by member Von de Guzman, was chosen as one of the finalists for Best Inspirational Song at the recently concluded 34th Catholic Mass Media Awards.
2012 marks the 10th year since ACS’ launching in 2002. To kick-off the anniversary celebrations, the ACS held a joint concert with the Capella Choir of Calvin College of Michigan under Dr. Joel Navarro last January. The ACS continued their anniversary year with a concert entitled DEKADA last August at the Church of the Gesu and a performance at Beyond Notes Choral Festival in Laguna, a concert at the Abelardo Hall at the University of the Philippines College of Music and a joint concert with the Ateneo College Glee Club in September, a performance with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and an annual Christmas concert and Simbanggabi at the Church of the Gesu in December.
The ACS also begins the Three Choir Festival’s second cycle in Hokkaido, Japan in early January. Plans for a European tour are also underway for May 2013.
Jonathan Montemayor Velasco
Born in 1962 in Manila, Jonathan studied Piano, Voice & Choral Conducting at the University of the Philippines College of Music. He later furthered his conducting studies at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule in Berlin, Germany.
Jonathan is a sought-after choral clinician and has conducted many workshops and choral clinics around the world. In 1996, he became the first Asian conductor of the World Youth Choir.Today, he often adjudicates at international competitions in Asia, Europe and the USA.
After serving as a member and assistant conductor of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Jonathan founded the Philippine Chamber Choir in 1998. He was also the guest conductor of the Ateneo College Glee Club during their European Tours in 2000 and 2001. From 2001 to 2003, Jonathan took on the position of conductor of the first professional choir in the Philippines, the San Miguel Master Chorale.
He has served as the ACS’ music director and conductor since 2001 and is conductor to several other choral groups as well. He is the incumbent president of the Philippine Choral Directors Association (PCDA).
The ACS’ Major Performances
List of Previous Successes in Competition
- 2006: First Prize Winner, Polyphony Category at 38th Tolosa Choral Contest, Spain