Zachary Manlapid, Viola
Our principal violist has been playing for just 10 years and is mainly self-taught. Seriously?! We’re amazed.
Zach was born and raised in San Diego and got his musical start as a little kid, singing ’80s music and show tunes while his mother played piano. We’re talking ABBA, Bacharach and The Sound of Music. He started playing violin in elementary school and played with the school orchestra. He was just a middlin’ player but enjoyed it.
Everything changed in middle school. The school got a new shipment of violas and needed more players. Plus, he liked another kid playing viola. “It just clicked for me,” Zach says. “I got significantly better quickly.” He took some private lessons for five years, but mainly just played a lot, all the way through high school.
Zach played during undergraduate work at Palomar College in San Diego and has now transferred to UC Berkeley where he’s studying music, vocals and vocal production and conducting (everything but viola!). He’s in the UC Chamber Chorus and vocal director for BareStage, UC Berkeley’s student-run theater troupe that encourages students to develop their craft in a supportive, pre-professional environment.
During the summers Zach has been assistant musical director and played in the pit orchestra for Youth Musical Theater Company. Our Conductor Eric Hansen also played in the pit and thus Zach came to us. “This is where I play viola; I don’t at UC.” Zach will graduate next year and aims for a career as a conductor or musical director for musical theater. Meantime, he’s still friends with that viola player from middle school who stills plays viola and is doing post-doc work in physics at UC Berkeley.