Joshua Cerdenia (b. 1989) is an internationally performed Filipino composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music based in New York City. His work embraces a broad range of musical styles and emotional states, 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). A musical storyteller at heart, he composes music with a clear expressive direction, deriving inspiration from visual art, mythology, religion, and musical traditions across various cultures.
Joshua’s 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 and broadcast on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.
Other collaborators of note hail from across East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States: the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble TIMF, the Asian Contemporary Ensemble, Duo Amrein/Henneberger, the Lunar Ensemble, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Gô, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and the New Juilliard Ensemble, among others.
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 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. He remains active as a pianist, having performed in numerous venues such as the Philam Life Auditorium in Manila, the Esplanade and University Cultural Centre in Singapore, the Philippine Center in New York, and Sidney Harman Hall and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Now residing in Brooklyn, Joshua serves as Artistic Coordinator for both The Canales Project, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to using music for positive social change, and TCP Ventures, which co-presents the annual CultureSummit in Abu Dhabi. He is Artist-in-Residence with The Canales Project for the 2017–18 Season.
Joshua 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, Joshua is a sporadic performer on other instruments in various situations, having played Philippine kulintang music in Singapore, gamelan in the mountains of Bali, and the ukulele in Central Park on weekends.
In the Press
• Classical Source, December 10, 2017: Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Leonard Slatkin conducts Feuertrunken & Mahler 9
• Performance, Vol. XXVI, Fall 2017: New Music, New Voices
• 98.7 DZFE The Master’s Touch, Nov 4, 2017: Maestro Filipino – Listen Again!
• 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