Ruzzel Santos is a diverse guitarist who enjoys playing music of all genres. He learned how to play the guitar at the age of 12, and became interested in furthering his skill. By the age of 15, he joined a band and also experienced his first regular gig at Roadside, a famous bar in his hometown. Around this time, he also started a metal band with his friends, called Araknid. They were able to join the biggest band battle in the Philippines, called the Red Horse Muziklaban in 2009. Later on, he then decided that music would be his career, and eventually enrolled at the College of Music at the University of the Philippines in the same year.
At the university, he took up a Diploma in Creative and Performing Arts, majoring in Classical Guitar. He focused on composition, arrangement, and orchestration, and took up piano as a minor as well. He learned under the tutelage of guitar masters such as Maestro Jose Valdez, Dr. Nathan Manimtim, Professor Lester Demetillo, and others. His best works include his own compositions for solo guitar, entitled Luna, Pacifico-Nieves, and Unequal. He played his first solo recital in 2018 as partial fulfillment for his graduation, and will be playing his second recital later this year.
In the process, he also received more exposure in performing for larger audiences when he joined the U.P. Guitar Orchestra, the first guitar orchestra in the Philippines, led by Professor Lester Demetillo (who also founded the group). He was able to experience playing as both a solo artist as well as a member of the aforementioned group in famous places such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ayala Museum, and many others. They were the first performers for the First International Guitar Festival in the Philippines in 2011 as well as regular performers in Philippine events related to guitar performance. The U.P. Guitar Orchestra’s repertoire includes pieces such as all the movements of the Bachianas Brasileiras #1 by Heitor Villa-lobos; and Simple Symphony by Benjamin Britten, just to name a few. Together with the group, Ruzzel also served for charity work with the Isda’t Gitara event in Batangas, Philippines in 2011.
His experiences in performance allowed him to be able to expand his knowledge on the guitar, and eventually led him into the direction of education – teaching guitar performance and music theory to students. During his years at the university, he also tried his hand at sales: buying and selling pre-loved high-end guitars such as Gibson, Taylor, Martin, Ramirez, and Fender. Aside from that, he also composed and arranged music for student films at the University. Eventually, he decided to stick with music education since he realized that this was his life path.
He started teaching guitar as a private, homebased teacher for Imagine: Music & Arts, a business he started together with his partner. Ruzzel also tried his hand at teaching for known institutions such as the Yamaha School of Music, Academy of Rock International, and several other schools as well. Up to date, he still is teaching guitar on a regular basis, with students that have been him for many years now.