headshot
Photo by Rashidah De Vore
Biography

Joshua Cerdenia is a Filipino composer of music for the concert and theater stages, described by renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin as "a composer to watch over the next several years." His works have been commissioned and performed by prominent orchestras in the United States and beyond, such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, appearing in such venues as Lincoln Center in New York, the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit, the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, and the Esplanade in Singapore. Other works have been performed by chamber ensembles from across East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States, including Ensemble TIMF, Duo Amrein/Henneberger, the Lunar Ensemble, the 10th Wave Chamber Collective, and the New Juilliard Ensemble.

Joshua began his music career in the Philippines at the age of 12 as an accompanist with ABS-CBN’s Center for Communication Arts. Initially studying communication at the Ateneo de Manila University, he was active as a musical theater pianist until beginning his composition studies at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore. Throughout his time in Singapore, and afterwards in Baltimore and New York, he continued to perform actively as a collaborative pianist, often performing new music alongside his own work in diverse venues within the US, as well as in China and Southeast Asia. He has performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, the Steinway Asia Pacific Headquarters in Shanghai, and the Goethe-Institut in Bangkok.

Joshua's work is often full of extramusical references, which "might send you looking for footnotes" (Performance). His musical activity reflects the breadth of his cultural interests, traversing the worlds of classical, popular, jazz, and world music. He has performed regularly with the Sari-Sari Philippine Kulintang Ensemble based in Singapore, and has studied gamelan with leading teachers in Indonesia affiliated with the Center for World Music in Bali. More recently, he attended the Tony-honored BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York, where he received the Jean Banks Award, and is currently a member of its select Advanced class.

Joshua has been the recipient of multiple generous scholarships and grants to study with Christopher Rouse, Kevin Puts, and Ho Chee Kong at The Juilliard School, the Peabody Institute, and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. At present, he is based out of Metro Manila where, by day, he works as a software engineer.