String Department Chair
Violin, Drum, and Ukulele Instructor
Joseph Valdes began playing violin at the age of nine, as part of the curriculum at the Manila Waldorf School. He learned and excelled quite quickly, much to the surprise of his parents. After two years of taking lessons from his grade school teacher, his parents decided to enroll him at the Miriam College of Music. There, he took private violin lessons from Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, a graduate of the pre-college division of the Juilliard School and a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
Through Miriam College and Sir Coke’s summer camps at The Center for the Arts at San Antonio, Zambales, Joseph began to build his repertoire and learn how to interact within various ensemble/chamber groups. Most notable are his ensemble experiences with the Pundaquit Virtuosi, a group of young string musicians hand-picked and taught by Sir Coke himself. This string ensemble has toured parts of China, Indonesia, and India, and more recently, numerous countries within Europe.
Joseph continued taking private lessons and touring with Sir Coke and the Pundaquit Virtuosi all throughout high school. During his high school years at the Ateneo de Manila, he joined a music organization called the Symphonic Ensemble. It was through this ensemble that he was introduced to other styles of music, in particular rock, jazz, and bossa nova. Since then, Joseph has learned how to assimilate elements from these other styles of music into his own personal playing. With the help of both his classmates and his father, he taught himself how to play drums and guitar. Joseph has since then aimed to be as musically versatile as possible. His musical interests and abilities are a combination of skills and chops from classical, jazz, and rock music.
At the age of twenty, after spending two years as a Creative Writing Major at the Ateneo de Manila University, he was awarded a full scholarship with stipend at Western Illinois University, as part of the WIU President’s International String Quartet. Through this program, Joseph expanded his string quartet repertoire, and has performed numerous string quartet works. Joseph spent his days at WIU as a worship leader at the Macomb Vineyard, as well. Indeed, he grew not only as a violinist, but as a worship leader, while completing his violin degree at WIU. In 2014, he was selected as one of the winners for the WIU School of Music Concerto Competition, and was allowed to perform as a soloist with the WIU Symphony Orchestra.
Soon after graduating from WIU, he began to pursue a master’s degree in violin performance at the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign, where he was also given a merit scholarship. He also stayed active in church, and was a regular volunteer of the music ministry at Twin City Bible Church.
Joseph continues to pursue musical versatility, and believes that being musically flexible and adaptable to any style of music can open so many doors. He enjoys a wide variety of music, including pop, classical, jazz, rock, blues, gospel, worship, fusion, and many more. He likes to work out, read books, and keep up with his family and friends back home. He also makes it a point to serve at his local church.