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Joseph Legaspi (Baritone)

Born: Philippines

The Filipino baritone, educator and music director, Joseph David Legaspi, discovered his love for music at a very young age. Countless performances with school choirs and productions led him to take on an undergraduate degree at the University of the Philippines College of Music. Under the tutelage of Prof. Maria Cecilia Valeña, he eventually received his Diploma in Creative and Performing Musical Arts. While an undergraduate, he won several prizes in national vocal competitions, including the 1999 National Competition for Young Artists and the 2002 T's Men International Classical Singer of the Year. He made his solo debut with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002, having previously toured the USA in 2000 and Europe in 2001 as a featured soloist of the Music Theater Foundation of the Philippines and the renowned choir, Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club.

His list of performances during the earlier phase of his career included the role of Filipino national hero and author, Jose Rizal in the musical adaptation of his novel, Noli Me Tangere at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He also tackled the difficult role of Tiresias in Igor Stravinsky's opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex at the University of the Philippines College of Music.

At the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Joseph Legaspi received his Bachelor of Music (2005), Master of Music (2008), his Doctor of Musical Arts (2014) degrees in Vocal Performance, studying with Dr. Robert Harrison. His other mentors include Andreas Poulimenos and Giorgio Tozzi. Among his many awards throughout his stay in Jacobs include the Evelyn P. Stier Memorial Scholarship (2003), the Roy and Mary Samuelsen Scholarship, and the Friday Musicale Award (2004). A recent accolade was his being a semi-finalist in the Joy in Singing Competition, held at Lincoln Center in New York City (2007).

Joseph Legaspi is fortunate to have taken part in a breadth of performances that have instigated his continuous transformation as an artist. His keen approach in tackling emotion, music, and the human experience has garnered for him memorable and stirring renditions of a variety of roles. He has been a featured soloist for the Indiana University Motet Choir, the Indiana University Chorale, and the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. He was the baritone soloist for Felix Mendelssohn's Psalm 115 (O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden) in 2008, J.S. Bach's Cantata BWV 82 (Ich Habe Genug) in 2007, J.S. Bach's Cantata BWV 106 (Actus Tragicus) in 2006, and Kirill Dyachkov's cantata, Canticles of Love, Despair, and Hope, which premiered at Indiana University in October 2006. He also was a featured soloist for An Evening of Art Song by Dominick Argento at Indiana University in 2005.

On stage, Joseph Legaspi took part in the university's world-renowned opera theater, essaying various roles including Friedrich Bhaer in Mark Adamos' Little Women (2010); Gregorio in Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (2009); Luther in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann (2008); Yamadori in Puccini's Madama Butterfly (2007); and the Commissioner in Francis Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmlites (2005). He created the role of El Blogger in the world premiere of the videopera ¡Unicamente la Verdad! (2008). He has also performed at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, where he played the role of Bogdanovitch in Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, Franz in Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, and Papageno for the Mozart Anniversary Concert.

Soon after Joseph Legaspi's educational pursuit, his foray in the international vocal music scene began taking flight. Just this summer, he was given the honor of being one of the five finalists in 2014 Habañeras International Soloist Competition in Torrevieja, Spain.

On to top of his extensive performing schedule, Joseph Legaspi continues to serve with his talents in the academe and liturgy. In 2013, St. Peter's University in New Jersey welcomed him to its faculty as Director of Liturgical Music for the university's Campus Ministry, and as Instructor in the Department of Fine Arts.

Joseph David Legaspi continues his crusade for personal transformation, always curious and excited at the myriad possibilities in stirring audiences and in making a difference in the lives of the people around him. Step by step, note by note, he looks forward to opportunities where he can enrich his person, his artistry; and eventually, the world.


Source: Joseph Legaspi Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2015)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




William Jon Gray


BWV 106

Links to other Sites

Joseph Legaspi: Baritone, Educator and Music Director (Official Website)
Jodeph Legaspi, Baritone on Facebook


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