With music “[thriving] in the sustained tension, like the kinetic energy emanating from the corners of a frame, the opposing forces holding up a house” (Rachel Evangeline Chiong, 2022), Toronto-based composer and synth-pop singer-songwriter Juro Kim Feliz has internationally presented his work across Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe. Since winning the Goethe Southeast Asian Young Composer Award (2009), he has collaborated and received commissions and performances from artists including Continuum Contemporary Music, Liminar, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Ensemble x.y, Marilène Provencher-Leduc, Wesley Shen, and Renee Fajardo. As a synth-pop artist, he adopts the moniker “Grumpy Kitty Boy.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, his first musical exposure came through piano lessons from his mother at an early age. Formal piano studies commenced later under Minda Amoranto and Avelina Manalo, leading him to win the Weinstein Piano Competition (1st place, 1999) and land as a finalist in the National Competitions for Young Artists Piano Competition (2001) in the Philippines.
Primary mentors include composers Jonas Baes and Melissa Hui as Feliz studied composition at the University of the Philippines and at McGill University. He also sought further mentorship from composers Liza Lim, Dieter Mack, Linda Catlin Smith, and Japanese koto artists Hiroko Nagai and Masayo Ishigure. His work appeared in festival programs including the Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festivals (2009-2010: Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Asian Composers League festivals (2009-2015: South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Philippines), Music Biennale Zagreb (2017: Zagreb, Croatia), New Music on the Bayou (2017: Monroe, LA), MATA Festival (2018: New York City, NY), Nief-Norf Summer Festival (2018: Knoxville, TN), MUSLAB Festival (2018: Mexico City, Mexico), and the online Cluster XI: Digital Edition (2020).
Feliz was awarded a “Highly Commended” distinction for his work Hanggang sa Paglubog ng Araw at the Ars Electronica Forum Wallis (2018: Leuk, Switzerland). His Piano Concerto landed him as a finalist of the 5-Minute Piano Concerto Competition at the Music Biennale Zagreb (2017). He has done artist residencies under the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (2018: Saratoga, WY), the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (2019: Nebraska City, NE), and served as a library resident artist of the Canadian Music Centre Ontario (2018-2020: Toronto, Canada). He was also nominated for the “Excellence Award in Music and Entertainment” in the Golden Balangay Awards (2019: Winnipeg, Canada), an award-giving body that highlights the accomplishments of Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians.
Some of his works as a contemporary classical composer are published under Babel Scores. Ablaze Records commercially released his percussion duo piece Gandingan sa Kagiliran in 2017, while his synth-pop releases as Grumpy Kitty Boy—including the debut single “Airplane Wings” (2020) and the EP “Show Me The Kibbles” (2021)—gained media coverage with Cashbox Canada, Record World Magazine, Tinnitist, Canadian Beats, the Toronto Guardian, and other outlets.
Besides activities involving composition, Feliz also engaged in community radio as a producer and co-host of Sigaw ng Bayan Montreal at CKUT 90.3 FM (2015-2017). As a library resident artist of the Canadian Music Centre Ontario, he produced an article/podcast series named Nomadic Sound Worlds which explores and situates Canadian contemporary music within present-day global migration.
A curriculum vitae is available here.
Updated: February 27, 2022