Jonas Baes

(b. 1961, Los Baños, Laguna).

Filipino composer of interdisciplinary works that have been performed in Asia, Europe and North America; he is also active as a musicologist.

Mr. Baes studied composition with Ramón Pagayon Santos at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City from 1977–82, where he earned his BMus in composition. He also studied musicology there with José Maceda from 1982–85. He later studied composition and musical politics with Mathias Spahlinger at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1992–94. He finished his PhD in Filipino studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2004 with his dissertation Modes of Appropriation in Philippine Indigenous Music: The Politics of the Production of 'Cultural Difference'.

Among his honours are the CCP-LFC Composition Prize (1980, for Awit ng Ibon) and three awards from the chancellor, which earned him the Hall of Fame Award for best research at the University of the Philippines, entitled Gawad Chancellor para sa Pinakamahusay na Mananaliksik (2001–03). He later received the Nippon Foundation Senior Fellowship for Asian Public Intellectuals (2008–09).

As a musicologist, he has undertaken much research into the music of the Philippines and has written extensively about it in articles for publications in Australia, Germany, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK, and the USA. He contributed articles on the politics of the music of the Philippines to Perfect Beat: The Pacific Journal of Research on Contemporary Music and Popular Culture (1998, 2001–02, Macquarie University, Sydney) and Changing Sounds: New Directions and Configurations in Popular Music (2000, edited by Toni Mitchell, University of Technology, Sydney). He also wrote articles on José Maceda and Ramón Pagayon Santos for Komponisten der Gegenwart (2002–03, edited by Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer, edition text + kritik). He later wrote the article Mangyan Internal Refugees and Spaces of Low-Intensity Conflict in the Philippines for the journal SHIMA: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures (2007, Small Island Cultures Research Initiative, Macquarie University).

He has taught analysis and composition at the University of the Philippines Diliman since 1996. He has lectured in Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam.


E-mail address:


SELECT LIST OF WORKS (note that the composer wishes for his works not to be put into categories, a difficult if not impossible task. Instead, they are listed chronologically, with the date given indicating when each work received its première)


Awit ng Ibon (text by Aloysius Baes), soprano, piano, 1980

Sigaw – Shout, or Internal Inaudible Cries of Injustice (vocalise), 10 male voices, 4 suspended gandingan (gongs with freely-vibrating sounds from the Philippines; 1 player), 2 suspended agung (gongs with stopped sounds from the Philippines; 1 player), 1981

Pantawag – Music for Calling People, tagutok (bamboo scraper from the Philippines), palaspas (palm leaves from the Philippines), muffled voices of the forest, 1981

Chalipay – Celebration and Meditation (vocalise), 100 trail-call voices, 20 batong buhay (pairs of pebbles from the Philippines), 20 tagutok, 20 tongatong (stamping tubes from the Philippines), 20 balingbing (bamboo buzzers from the Philippines), 20 kalutang (pairs of sticks from the Philippines), audience (plugging its ears), 1982

Basbasan – To Bless (text from a prayer of Roman Catholicism [Tagalog translation]), 20 male voices, 20 buray-dipay (bean-pod rattles from the Philippines), 1983

Yayeyunan – Melody (text from traditional prayers for the Virgin Mary), 5 female voices, 4 batiwtiw (bamboo zithers from the Philippines), 16 tagutok, 1987

Banal-Pasakit – Holy Sacrifice (texts from liturgical prayers, protest songs from the Philippines), 10 female voices, 10 male voices, 1988


Huntahang-Bayan – People's Conversations (discussion on social issues, improvisational text), 4–7 animator–chanters, audience, 1993

Ibo-Ibon – Bird Woman (text from simulated birdcalls), 4 caller–animators, dancer (with bell bracelets), audience (+ iron-nail chimes), 1995

Wala – Nothingness (vocalise), 7/100 or more male voices, 1997

Balawang-Paikutan – Making the Balawang (bamboo pole/hoe) Move (text from an igway song by Ana Banaag, an Iraya-Mangyan from Mindoro), 16 mixed voices, 5 dancers, 5 animators, audience, 1999

Mga Pagninilay, piano, 1999


Daluy – Flow (interval music; percussionists, audience also chant), 5 percussion (batong buhay, tongatong, balingbing, saggeypo [pipes in a row from the Philippines]), audience (+ batong buhay), 2000

Banwa – Imagined Community, caller, khene (mouth organ from Laos), budyong (conch from the Philippines), 4 tagutok, audience (100 players; all + iron-nail chimes), 2001

Song of the two-colored river, cello, 2001

Salaysay – Narrative (texts from fragments of various books; percussionists also simulate coughing), female voice, 3 percussion (tagutok, wind chimes, buray-dipay, tin cans, bamboo slit-drum), audience (+ batong buhay), 2002

Patangis-Buwaya – ...and the crocodile wept... (ritual improvisations), 4 bass recorders/basset recorders/any 4 indigenous blown instruments from any culture, 2003

Bulaklakan – Love Song Verses (texts from bulaklakan sung by Iraya-Mangyan adolescents from Mindoro; vocalists also play games with the audience), 16 children's voices (all + kubing [jaw harp from the Philippines], balingbing, soft-drink cans), 2004

Ti'awag Kasi – love called, 4 saxophones, 2005

Aguyoy – Gentle Wind (interval music), hollow woodblock, 3 buray-dipay, small rasp/tagutok, large rasp/tagutok, sticks/tree branches/dried leaves, 2006 (its seven instrumental parts may be performed on any alternative instrument)

Pa-alulung – A Howling, double bass, cymbal (+ empty soda cans, empty water bottles, empty plastic cups, other found objects), audience (+ c. 100 iron-nail chimes), 2007

Lisan – Leaving (soundfilm on the plight of the Iraya-Mangyan; 16 voices chant, hiss, hack, cough, tongue-click, crumple plastic bottles, and yell; 5 miscellaneous players drop bamboo tubes on the floor, beat on tree branches, pour mung beans, and distribute pairs of pebbles to the audience), female voice, 16 voices, temple block, 4 tagutok, 4 buray-dipay, cuíca [friction drum from Brazil], 5 miscellaneous players, audience (+ pairs of pebbles), fixed media, film (by Jerrold Tarog), 2007

A Priori (variations without a theme – Prolegomena), piano, 2008

N/REPA – the mimesis of spirits, bangsi (bamboo flute of the Iraya-Mangyan)/vertical bamboo-flute from any culture, flute, oboe, clarinet, audience (+ 100 or more bamboo bird-whistles/iron-nail chimes/batong buhay), 2009 (flute, oboe, clarinet may be replaced by any 3 multiphonic chanters)

ripieno, English horn, bass clarinet, French horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, claves, woodblock, temple blocks, 2009


InAYTA (music for a sound installation), female weeper, large tam-tam, tree branches (+ buray-dipay, seeds poured in metal containers, empty bottles, tagutok, bamboo slit-drum) (3 players), 2010

Five Bagatelles, piano, 2010

Dinanggaan, flute, alto saxophone, large tam-tam, audience (+ iron-nail chimes), 2011

Gandhing-Ni-Napi, suspended gandingan from Maguindanao/gongs from other cultures, ensemble (5 trombones, 5 large tam-tams), audience (plugging, unplugging its ears; + iron-nail chimes), 2011

Notturno, rondalla (folk ensemble) from the Philippines (2 bandurria [plucked instruments], octavina [plucked instrument], laúd [plucked instrument], 2 guitars, double bass, triangle [+ suspended tambourine, 2 bongos]), 2012

Babandir, 1/7/49 percussion (choice of instruments left to the discretion of the performer/performers; suggested instruments include gongs from any culture, iron-nail chimes, tagutok, plastic cups, human body), 2012

Gita'a – dissolution, broken guitar, audience (+ crumpled plastic cups, empty water bottles), 2013

sine nomine, string quartet, 2013

tmesis, flute, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, piano, percussion, 2014

aus der Bilderwelt des Erwin Blumenfeld, piano, small orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, B-flat trumpet, trombone, percussion/2 percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass), 2014

Sotto Voce, 8 sopranos, 8 altos, piano, 2014

A Posteriori, piano, 2014

passacaglia, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2015

Tatlong Tagulaylay – Three Lamentations (text by Aloysius Baes), soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2017

DISCOGRAPHY (as compiler)

Mindanao Highlands Music – Tradition and Change (notes by Ramón Pagayon Santos). (Philippine Centennial Commission/National Research Council of the Philippines, 1998)

Nostalgia in a Denuded Rainforest – Iraya-Mangyan Music from Mindoro, Philippines. (National Commission for Culture and the Arts/Tunugan Foundation, 2002)

DISCOGRAPHY (as composer)

Daluy. Josefino Chino Toledo/AUIT Vocal Chamber Ensemble (National Commission for Culture and the Arts/Tunugan Foundation, 1999)

Banwa. Aga-Mayo Butocan/Maguindanao Palabunibunyan Ensemble; audience (ASEAN–COCI, 2000)

Wala. Rahayu Supanggah/voices of gamelan musicians (ASEAN–COCI, 2000)