Alexander John Villanueva

(b. 1989, Las Piñas).

Filipino composer of mostly chamber, choral and vocal works that have been performed in Asia and elsewhere.

Mr. Villanueva studied composition with Jonas Baes and Josefino Chino Toledo at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City from 2007–12, where he earned his BMus in composition cum laude. He also studied conducting privately with Manuel Nawri.

Among his honours are a prize in the competition Young Composers of Southeast Asia of the Goethe-Institut in Bandung (2011, for Threnody IV) and a finalist in the competition for young composers of the Asian Composers League in Tōkyō (2014, for 5 Little Pieces for 2 Cellos). His music has been performed in Austria, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

He is also active in other positions. He has served as musical director of the Christian Bible Church of Las Piñas since 2004 and served as executive director of the Manila Composers Lab from 2012–13. As a conductor, he has served as artistic director of the Ripieno Ensemble in Quezon City since 2015. As a singer, he performed as a baritone in the AUIT Vocal Chamber Ensemble from 2007–11, the UP Camerata Voices in 2007–08 and The Dozen in 2008–09.

He has taught music theory and other subjects at the FEBIAS College of Bible in Valenzuela since 2012, composition at De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde in Malate since 2013 and arranging and composition for the extension programme of the University of the Philippines Diliman since 2013. In addition, he has been a lecturer in music theory at the University of the Philippines Diliman since 2015.

In addition to the works listed below, he has written and arranged commercial music.


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Unang Silakbo/Ikalawang Silakbo – First Heartbeat/Second Heartbeat, oboe, clarinet (+ bass clarinet), cello, piano, celesta, 4 percussion, 2012

Maria y Marta (chamber opera, libretto by Sofia Paderes), 2 sopranos, flute (+ cymbals), clarinet (+ bass clarinet, cymbals), violin, cello, piano, 2017–19


Bangungot – Nightmare, cello, 2007

Musaicum, oboe, octavina (plucked instrument from the Philippines), guitar, piano, 2008

Reverie, flute, clarinet, bassoon, trombone, piano, glockenspiel, 2009

Tignan – Look, violin, cello, 2009

Threnody II, trombone, piano, 2011

Threnody IV, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass, piano, 3 gendèr (metallophones from Indonesia), 2 saron panerus (metallophones from Indonesia), 2011

Ikatlong Silakbo – Third Heartbeat, oboe, cello, piano, 2012

5 Little Pieces for 2 Cellos, 2 cellos, 2014

Tagpi-an – Fragmented, violin, viola, cello, piano, 2014

Threnody III, clarinet, cello, 2015

Ika-apat na Silakbo – Fourth Heartbeat, flute (+ piccolo), E-flat clarinet (+ bass clarinet), violin, cello, piano, 2015

a-no-ba-yan – what now, country?/what the heck?, flute, clarinet, cello, piano, percussion, 2019


Amami (text from the Lord's Prayer [translated into several languages from the Philippines]), 8 mixed voices, 2008

Papurihan – Praise (text by Ara Janelle Foronda), 2 voices (both + any percussion), 4 groups of children's voices (6 children per group; all + any percussion) (around hall), 2013

Dindikan (text from a traditional song from Maguindanao), children's chorus, 2015

Amo-amo – Monkey, monkey (text from a traditional song of the Maranao), children's chorus, 2015

Dugudak: Magka-ingay ng may Galak (text from Psalm 98 [Tagalog translation]), mixed chorus, 2016

Kristo, Naiyanak – Christ Is Risen (text from a traditional song of the Kalinga), mixed chorus, 2018


A Contrario (text from the Book of Genesis), baritone, French horn, piano, 2008

Prayer of Stillness (text by Lettie Cowman), soprano, piano, 2010

Dala-dalangin – Prayer (text by Ara Janelle Foronda), soprano, flute, 2013

7 Pieces for Small Ensemble (text by Ara Janelle Foronda), soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2015

Prayer of Serenity (text by Lettie Cowman), soprano (+ bowed cymbal), clarinet, 2016

(pa)-ba-ya-(a)n-ko – my country/I'll ignore it (vocalise), 2 sopranos (both + electronic instruments), flute, clarinet, violin, cello (+ electronic instruments), piano, 2019


Bilang 1–5, 2010

Bagatelle 5, 2014


Pa(g)hinga – Breathing/Rest, orchestra (piccolo, 2 flutes, clarinet, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 French horns, 2 B-flat trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, percussion, minimum 18 strings), film (by the composer), 2010


Pagtahak sa Kalayunan – Journey to a Distant Place (site-specific work, text by Ara Janelle Foronda), soprano, male speaker, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, 2 violins, viola, cello, vibraphone, percussion, 2010

Daluhong – Assault of Memories (site-specific work, text by Ara Janelle Foronda), soprano, male speaker, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, audience (4–1000 players; all + bird-whistles, bells, chimes, gongs, cell phones, radios, found objects), 2012


A Cup of Oxygen, flute (+ bass flute), piano, percussion, 2013 (Mohammadreza Shams)


Ich möchte kein Mann sein, clarinet, trombone, violin, cello, piano, 2013 (for Ich möchte kein Mann sein by Ernst Lubitsch; collaboration with Marie-Luise Calvero)

Der müde Tod, flute, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trombone, 2 violins, viola, cello, piano, 2014 (for Der müde Tod by Fritz Lang; collaboration with Marie-Luise Calvero, Melita Cruz, Feliz Anne Macahis)