Joshua Cerdenia Pangilinan (b. 1989), known professionally as Joshua Cerdenia, is a Filipino composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music currently based in New York City. Grounded in the classical tradition, he works in a diverse variety of styles and covers a wide range of emotional terrain, from “graceful melancholy” (Star Tribune), to works that unfold “like the nascent radiance of a rising sun” (The Straits Times), as well as music that “pretty much explodes at the end” (The New York Times). An avid storyteller, he focuses on music with a clear expressive direction, often through forms and narratives derived from both musical and non-musical sources. He counts among his recent sources of inspiration Ancient Rome, Japanese death haiku, and the mythology of his native Philippines.
His symphonic poem Magayon, inspired by the origin myth of Mayon Volcano, was a recent winner of The Juilliard School’s annual orchestral composition competition, resulting in a premiere with the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Through the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the same work was later featured in the Minnesota Orchestra’s annual Future Classics concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and broadcast on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.
Other past collaborators of note hail from across East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States, including the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble TIMF, the Asian Contemporary Ensemble, Duo Amrein/Henneberger, the Lunar Ensemble, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Gô, and most recently, the New Juilliard Ensemble, for which he composed Spoliarium, inspired by scenes from the Roman Colosseum and a painting of the same name by the 19th-century Filipino painter Juan Luna.
Other accolades include multiple prizes and grants, including the Peabody Institute’s Prix d’Éte, three artistic development grants from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, the Richard Kountz Fund, and several named scholarships through The Juilliard School.
Joshua began his music career in the Philippines at the age of 12, when he was employed as an accompanist with the media conglomerate ABS-CBN’s Center for Communication Arts. While studying communication at the Ateneo de Manila University, he became a regular fixture in the college musical theater scene as a pianist and band leader in numerous productions, until receiving a full scholarship to begin his composition studies at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore.
Now residing in the borough of Queens, he is a recent graduate of The Juilliard School’s Master of Music program, where he studied with Christopher Rouse. Previously, his Bachelor of Music was jointly awarded by the National University of Singapore and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where his teachers included Ho Chee Kong and Kevin Puts. He is a publishing member of ASCAP. In addition to composing and piano-playing, he is a sporadic performer on other instruments in various contexts, having played Philippine kulintang music in Singapore, gamelan in the mountains of Bali, and the ukulele in Central Park on weekends.
Joshua is Administrative Associate at The Canales Project, a nonprofit arts organization founded by acclaimed mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales dedicated to giving voice to issues of culture and identity through the arts and conversation.
In the Press
• The New York Times, Apr 26, 2016: Color and Contrasts from the New Juilliard Ensemble
• The Juilliard Journal, Apr 2016: The Art of Composing: New Juilliard
• New Music Box, Feb 15, 2016: Composer Advocacy Notebook: A Tale of Three Cities
• Classical Voice America, Feb 9, 2016: Young Composers Hone Their Craft and Hear Results
• Star Tribune, Feb 1, 2016: ‘Future Classics’ Priceless for Young Composers
• Minnesota Orchestra, Jan 19, 2016: Meet a Composer: Joshua Cerdenia
• SoundWordSight, May 10 2015: More April NYC Concert Reviews from Mark Greenfest
• The Juilliard Journal, Apr 2015: Student Composers’ Works
• The Straits Times, Feb 17, 2014 (as Joshua Pangilinan): Scoring on musical potential
• The Straits Times, Feb 11, 2014 (as Joshua Pangilinan): Young composers get a boost
• The Straits Times, Apr 14, 2012 (as Joshua Pangilinan): Korean Ensemble TIMF presents new music with poise