Jo-Ann Cerdenia belongs to a very rare and small group of harp players in the Philippines. Even rarer, she is one of less-than-a-handful professionally-trained harp teachers in the country. She finished her studies in music composition at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and subsequently completed her harp studies at Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, Germany.

humble beginnings

Her passion for the harp began at an early age when she saw a street harpist in her hometown in Cebu. Though she lacked the means to pursue the instrument, this early exposure to the harp was to stay and grow in her heart.

Lourdes De Leon Gregorio

Upon college, she went to Manila to test her mettle at the University of the Philippines. While studying there, she came across Professor Lourdes De Leon Gregorio who, incidentally, was the only professional harp teacher in the Philippines at that time. The good professor took her under her wing as her personal scholar in learning the harp. For years, Jo-Ann had to commute from UP to CCP and back - up to four hours travelling time - just to have some practice time with the harp, as access to the instrument was extremely hard at that time.

studying with the masters

Fabiana Trani
Fabiana Trani

As her passion and determination for the harp grew, she sought further studies in faraway lands. Several years after graduating from the UP College of Music, she studied the German language and became proficient enough to be able to go to Germany and enter one of the many wonderful conservatories in that country. After some time of searching, she was able to enter the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Dusseldorf where she studied under the wise instruction of Italian harpist Fabiana Trani. With teaching being her ultimate mission in life, she majored in harp pedagogy and was mentored by pedagogue Prof. Wolfgang Rüdiger. She also attended master classes with world-renowned harpists Alice Giles, Irina Zing, and Olga Shevelevich. Furthering her studies, she also received harp methodology instruction from harpists Hye-Young Kim and Susana Feige.

for the next generation of Philippine harpists

At a music festival in Frankfurt, she came accross harps made by Camac Harps France, one of the best harp makers in the world. Impressed with the quality and beauty of the instruments, she quickly struck a friendship with Camac's CEO, Jakez Francois. Upon returning to the Philippines after several years of hard work, she and her husband founded HarpRoom in Diliman, Quezon City with the mission of multiplying harpists and harp teachers in the country, and increasing the love and appreciation for the instrument. They began a partnership with Camac Harps France in order to make harps more accessible to anyone who wants to learn. After just one year of partnership, HarpRoom became the exclusive distributor of Camac Harps France in the Philippines and have increased the number of harp ownership and proficiency in the country.

Recently, she has fostered a special friendship with Katryna Tan, Singapore's finest harpist, who is also the founder of Rave Harps - the company behind the Singapore Harpfests. HarpRoom produced Katryna Tan's first-ever harp concerto in the country, co-presented by the Singapore Embassy in Manila, BDO, and Camac Harps France. The Philippines was also represented during the 6th Singapore Harpfest last September 2019, with HarpRoom sending young harpists from Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro who won various competition awards - another unprecedented achievement for the Philippine harp community.

Jo-Ann Cerdenia's life journey thus far does prove that attaining one's dream is possible despite hardships and lack of opportunity. And that so long as you keep your trust in God, he will see you through.

Jo-Ann Cerdenia belongs to a very rare and small group of harp players in the Philippines. Even rarer, she is one of less-than-a-handful professionally-trained harp teachers in the country. She finished her studies in music composition at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and subsequently completed her harp studies at Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, Germany.

humble beginnings

Her passion for the harp began at an early age when she saw a street harpist in her hometown in Cebu. Though she lacked the means to pursue the instrument, this early exposure to the harp was to stay and grow in her heart.

Lourdes De Leon Gregorio

Upon college, she went to Manila to test her mettle at the University of the Philippines. While studying there, she came across Professor Lourdes De Leon Gregorio who, incidentally, was the only professional harp teacher in the Philippines at that time. The good professor took her under her wing as her personal scholar in learning the harp. For years, Jo-Ann had to commute from UP to CCP and back - up to four hours travelling time - just to have some practice time with the harp, as access to the instrument was extremely hard at that time.

studying with the masters

Fabiana Trani
Fabiana Trani

As her passion and determination for the harp grew, she sought further studies in faraway lands. Several years after graduating from the UP College of Music, she studied the German language and became proficient enough to be able to go to Germany and enter one of the many wonderful conservatories in that country. After some time of searching, she was able to enter the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Dusseldorf where she studied under the wise instruction of Italian harpist Fabiana Trani. With teaching being her ultimate mission in life, she majored in harp pedagogy and was mentored by pedagogue Prof. Wolfgang Rüdiger. She also attended master classes with world-renowned harpists Alice Giles, Irina Zing, and Olga Shevelevich. Furthering her studies, she also received harp methodology instruction from harpists Hye-Young Kim and Susana Feige.

for the next generation of Philippine harpists

At a music festival in Frankfurt, she came accross harps made by Camac Harps France, one of the best harp makers in the world. Impressed with the quality and beauty of the instruments, she quickly struck a friendship with Camac's CEO, Jakez Francois. Upon returning to the Philippines after several years of hard work, she and her husband founded HarpRoom in Diliman, Quezon City with the mission of multiplying harpists and harp teachers in the country, and increasing the love and appreciation for the instrument. They began a partnership with Camac Harps France in order to make harps more accessible to anyone who wants to learn. After just one year of partnership, HarpRoom became the exclusive distributor of Camac Harps France in the Philippines and have increased the number of harp ownership and proficiency in the country.

Recently, she has fostered a special friendship with Katryna Tan, Singapore's finest harpist, who is also the founder of Rave Harps - the company behind the Singapore Harpfests. HarpRoom produced Katryna Tan's first-ever harp concerto in the country, co-presented by the Singapore Embassy in Manila, BDO, and Camac Harps France. The Philippines was also represented during the 6th Singapore Harpfest last September 2019, with HarpRoom sending young harpists from Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro who won various competition awards - another unprecedented achievement for the Philippine harp community.

Jo-Ann Cerdenia's life journey thus far does prove that attaining one's dream is possible despite hardships and lack of opportunity. And that so long as you keep your trust in God, he will see you through.