JONATHAN SHAW, born 1995, first expressed an interest in piano performance at a young age which led to his winning the “Young Musician of the Year” award twice while in secondary school. He started to teach himself composition and eventually pursued a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Surrey where he also became involved in sound design.

He has had collaborations with other composers and after winning the University’s “David Lovatt” Competition in 2017 he was motivated to enter other competitions. Currently, he is finishing a Master’s degree in Music Composition at the The University of Surrey.



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The Hills of Banaue


“The Hills of Banaue” (2018) is a symphonic embodiment of life amongst the renowned rice terraces in Banaue, Philippines. It is structured to portray a single day in Banaue, from sunrise to sunset.


The first section, “Sunrise”, emerges through string harmonics, leading to the first of many statements of the “Banaue” motif, a melody inspired by the local Hudhud chant.


This progresses into “Morning”; a playful section following children as they frolic around the terraces. Various musical themes are juggled between the instruments, spiraling from key to key, never appearing to rest.


The “Afternoon” begins as an approaching rhythm reveals a nearby dance celebrating a recent marriage. This section is laden with percussive rhythms inspired by Ifugao gong music and appropriately provides the option for local instruments to be used.


“Evening” follows with the arrival of a solo violin and a 9-part string orchestra, embodying the vast pastoral landscape of Banaue itself. Overtime, a string quartet mysteriously begins to disappear, creating further strain on those who remain as they take on the missing parts.


As the last member of the quartet vanishes, so begins the “Sunset”; a stark reflection of the opening “Sunrise”, concluding as the piece began.