Alexander John Villanueva
Alexander John “AJ” L. Villanueva (b. 1989) is a composer and conductor based in Manila. He is the conductor and artistic director of the Ripieno Ensemble, a chamber ensemble founded in 2015 which specializes in 21st century contemporary chamber and vocal music, with performances in China, Hong Kong and around Manila, performing and premiering works of Philippine and other Southeast Asian composers. He is currently a doctoral student in music with research interests in post-colonial Filipino identity in composition and Evangelical praise and worship music.
Among his teachers in composition are Jonas Baes, Chino Toledo and Ramon Santos. He has also taken workshops and masterclasses from renowned composers like Dieter Mack (Germany), Chong Kee Yong (Malaysia), Anothai Nitibhon (Thailand), Bernd Asmus (Germany), Eli Marshall (USA), Slavomir Horinka (Czech Republic), and Ken Ueno (USA). His works have been performed by International groups and artists like Ensemble Hand Werk (Cologne, Germany), Ensemble Mosaik (Berlin, Germany), Ensemble Chambre d’Ecoute (Stuttgart, Germany), Ensemble Studio C (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Hanoi New Music Ensemble (Hanoi, Vietnam), Ensemble Kyai Fatahillah (Indonesia), Coro Cantabile (Manila), Manila Chamber Singers (Manila), Metro Manila Concert Orchestra (Manila), Ripieno Ensemble (Manila).
His honors are a prize in the 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 by the Manila Chamber Singers in Germany and Austria (July 2019), the 10th Anniversary of the Manila Composers Lab (March 2019), Hanoi New Music Festival (2018), ASEAN-China Music Festival in Nanning, China (2017-2018), The Modern Academy by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Hong Kong (2015), Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festival in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2009), Young Composers of Southeast Asia Competition and Festival Bandung, Indonesia (2011), Asian Composers League Tel Aviv, Israel (2011), Asia Music Festival/Asian Composers League Yokohama, Japan (2014), Soundbridge Music Festival Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2013/2021), and several concerts and festivals in the Philippines.
Since 2015, he has taken part in conducting workshops and masterclasses under Manuel Nawri and Johannes Schoellhorn in The Modern Academy by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble in Hong Kong, and workshops in Manila. He has performed major and notable works by Jonas Baes, Ramon Santos, Jose Maceda, Conrado Del Rosario, Nicanor Abelardo, Chong Kee Yong, Luciano Berio, Arnold Schoenberg, to name a few. He has also premiered music from Southeast Asian young composers.
Currently, he is a Senior lecturer of composition and music theory in the UP College of Music, Assistant Professorial Lecturer in De La Salle – College of St. Benilde, and a lecturer in FEBIAS College of Bible.