José Maceda

(b. 31 January 1917, Manila – d. 5 May 2004, Quezon City).

Filipino composer of interdisciplinary works that have been performed throughout the world; he was also active as a musicologist.

Prof. Maceda studied piano with Victorina Lobregat at the Academy of Music in Manila, where he graduated in 1935, and with Alfred Cortot at the École Normale de Musique de Paris from 1937–41. He later studied piano privately with E. Robert Schmitz in San Francisco from 1946–49 and musicology at Columbia University and Queens College, City University of New York from 1950–52. He then studied anthropology at the University of Chicago and ethnomusicology at Indiana University in Bloomington in 1957–58 and the University of California, Los Angeles from 1961–63, where he earned his PhD.

Among his many honours were grants from the Guggenheim Foundation (1957–58, for study in the USA) and the Rockefeller Foundation (1968, for research in Africa and Brazil), the honour Ordre des Palmes Académiques from the government of France (1978), the University of the Philippines Outstanding Research Award (1985), the John D. Rockefeller III Award from the Asian Cultural Council in New York, New York (1987), the Philippine National Science Society Achievement Award (1988), the award Tanglaw ng Lahi from Ateneo de Manila University (1988), and the award Gawad ng Lahi from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1989). He later received the Fumio Koizumi Prize for Ethnomusicology in Tōkyō (1991), the National Research Council Award in the Philippines (1993), the award Araw ng Maynila (1996), the Nikkei Award in Tōkyō (1997), the award of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide (1997), and the title National Artist of the Philippines from the government of the Philippines (1997). He was later named an Officier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite (1997) and a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (2001), both by the government of France.

As a musicologist, he devoted much of his time to ethnomusicological studies of the music of the Philippines and Southeast Asia from 1953–2004. He undertook music research in the field throughout the Philippines and in eastern and western Africa, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. He wrote extensively about his research for publications in Canada, Germany, Malaysia, the Philippines, the UK, and the USA, as well as the book Gongs and Bamboos: A Panorama of Philippine Music Instruments (1998, University of the Philippines Press). Yuji Takahashi translated many of his articles into Japanese in the book Drone and Melody (1989, Shinjuku Shobo Company). In addition, the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City contains an archive of more than 2500 hours of his field recordings in 51 language groups, complete with musical instruments, photographs, text transcriptions, and translations.

He was also active in other positions. He performed as a pianist in France, the Philippines and the USA from 1935–57, during which time he introduced many new works, mainly by composers from France, and pioneered a French style of piano-playing in the Philippines. He worked with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris in 1958. He later worked as a conductor of avant-garde music that he arranged for various organisations in the Philippines and for UNESCO from 1964–68, thereby introducing music by Edgard Varèse, Iannis Xenakis and other composers alongside music from China and the Philippines.

He taught as Professor of Piano and Ethnomusicology at the University of the Philippines Diliman from 1952–90, where he was named a University Professor in 1988 and was professor emeritus from 1990–2004. He served as executive director of its Center for Ethnomusicology from 1997–2004. He gave lectures throughout the world, including the Charles Seeger Lecture at the meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Los Angeles in 1984, a lecture as the International Arts Symposium Speaker at the National Academy of Arts in Seoul in 1994 and a lecture at the Arts Summit in Indonesia in 1995. He later taught as the Rayson Huang Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong in 1999 and as Jean Macduff Vaux Composer-in-Residence at Mills College in Oakland, California in 2000.


E-mail address for consulting scores (c/o his student Jonas Baes):

COMPLETE LIST OF WORKS (note that works are listed according to a general category defined by the composer; the date given for each work refers to its première, except in the case of Banter and Profundity, whose date is of composition)


(1) Ugma-ugma – Structures (text by the composer), mixed chorus, carabao horn, whistle, shō (mouth organ from Japan), kubing (jaw harp from the Philippines)/aroding (mouth harp from the Philippines), gambang (xylophone from Southeast Asia), gendèr (metallophone from Indonesia), kulintang (rack of gongs from the Philippines), suspended agung (gongs with stopped sounds from the Philippines), suspended gandingan (gongs with freely-vibrating sounds from the Philippines), rattle, tagutok (bamboo scraper from the Philippines), cowbells/other small bells, clapper, paiban (clappers from China), pakkung (buzzer from the Philippines), tongatong (stamping tubes from the Philippines), bamboo sticks, 1963

(2) Kubing (text by the composer), 5 male voices, 7 kubing, 3 batiwtiw (bamboo zithers from the Philippines), 3 tagutok, 7 pakkung, 7 pairs of tongatong, 1966

(3) Pagsamba – Worship (ritual music for a circular auditorium, text from the Mass [Tagalog translation]), 100 mixed voices, 25 male voices, 8 suspended agung, 8 suspended gandingan, 100 players (100 ongiyong [whistle flutes from the Philippines], 100 balingbing [bamboo buzzers from the Philippines], 100 palakpak [bamboo clappers from the Philippines], 100 bangibang [yoke-shaped wooden bars from the Philippines; played with beaters]), 1968

(4) Udlot-udlot – Hesitations (open-air ritual, text by the composer), vocal group (100s of voices; moving around every 10 minutes), group of bangibang (100s of players; circling around with formal steps), instrumental group (flutes, tongatong, balingbing; 100s of players) (all sitting inside a circle), 1975 (also version as music-theatre work [VII (1)])

(5) Ading (text by the composer), 100 mixed voices, 100 players (100 batiwtiw, 100 tagutok, 100 pakkung, 100 bangibang), audience ad libitum, 1978

(6) Music for Indonesian Gongs, Metallophones, Bamboos, Flute, Contrabassoon, and Voices (text by the composer), 8 female voices, 8 male voices, piccolo, contrabassoon, kethuk (gong from Indonesia) (+ kempul [set of knobbed gongs from Indonesia], gong suwukan [gong from Indonesia], 4 gendèr, 4 saron panerus [metallophones from Indonesia]), pakkung (+ whistle, tagutok, clapper, 2 sticks, 2 tongatong, shaker), 1997


(1) Agungan – A Play of Gongs, 3 high suling (bamboo flutes from Southeast Asia)/other flute-type instruments, 4 kulintang, 6 gangsa (flat gongs from the Philippines; played with the hands), 6 gangsa (played with sticks), 5 small suspended agung of the Tiruray, 3 large suspended agung, 2 suspended gandingan, 4 sulibao (conical drums from the Philippines) (1 player), 1965


(1) Aroding (text from a song from Palawan), 7 male voices, 3 pispis (tiny flutes from the Philippines), 40 aroding, 1983


(1) Cassettes 100, 100 tape recorders (100 operators), 1971

(2) Ugnayan – Atmospheres, 20 radio stations, 1974


(1) Siasid, 10 blown bamboo-tubes/10 trombones, 10 violins, 4 percussion (3 bamboo slit-drums, 3 tagutok, 3 pakkung, 3 conical drums of the Ibaloi/similar drums), 1983

(2) Suling-Suling, 10 suling/10 flutes, 10 gangsa, 10 kudlung (two-string lute from the Philippines)/10 tagutok/10 pakkung, 1985

(3) Strata, 5 flutes, 5 guitars, 5 cellos, 5 tam-tams, 10 balingbing/10 similar instruments (+ 10 bangibang/10 paiban/10 similar instruments), 1988


(1) Dissemination, olimong (whistle flute from the Philippines)/similar instrument, 5 flutes, 5 oboes, 5 French horns, 5 violins, 3 cellos, 2 double basses, 2 gongs/2 tam-tams, 1990

(2) Distemperament, 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bass clarinets, 3 bassoons, 3 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 3 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 3 double basses, 1992

(3) Music for Five Pianos, 5 pianos, 1993

(4) Two Pianos and Four Winds, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trombone, 2 pianos, 1996

(5) Exchanges, Music for a Chamber Orchestra, small orchestra, 1997

(6) Colors without Rhythm, harp, piano, harpsichord, celesta, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, percussion in 10 groups (10 total players), large orchestra, 1998

(7) Music for Two Pianos and Four Percussion Groups, 2 pianos, percussion in 4 groups (4 total players), 2000

(8) Sujeichon – Korean Court Music for Four Pianos, 4 pianos, 2002

(9) Banter and Profundity, small orchestra (19 players), 2003


(1) Udlot-udlot (music-theatre work, text by the composer), voice, 4 flutes (all + tongatong, balingbing), bangibang, 1997 (version of open-air ritual [I (4)])


Music for Indonesian Gongs, Metallophones, Bamboos, Flute, Contrabassoon, and Voices. Josefino Chino Toledo/AUIT Vocal Chamber Ensemble (National Commission for Culture and the Arts/Tunugan Foundation, 1999)

Music for Five Pianos; Two Pianos and Four Winds. Anna Elisabeth Klett, clarinet; Signe Haugland, bassoon; Nina Frederike Jeppesen, French horn; Hiroshi Kurata, trombone; Kazuoki Fujii, Kayako Matsunaga, Aki Takahashi, Yuji Takahashi, Rikuya Terashima, pianos (ALM Records: ALCD-54, 2000)

Pagsamba; Suling-Suling; Colors without Rhythm. (Tzadik Records: TZ 7067, 2001)

Strata; Sujeichon – Korean Court Music for Four Pianos; Music for Two Pianos and Four Percussion Groups. Chris Brown, Belle Bulwinkle, Charity Chan, Kanoko Nishi, pianos; Steed Cowart/The Mills Performing Group; Ramón Pagayon Santos/U. P. Contemporary Music Players (Tzadik Records: TZ 8043, 2007)

Ugnayan. (Tzadik Records: TZ 8068, 2009)