About the Composer

Juan de Sahagun Concepcion Hernandez (View Compositions)

June 12, 1881 - February 10, 1945

Birth Place: Sampaloc, Manila
Father: Isidoro Hernandez
Mother: Josefa Concepcion

Juan de Sahagun Hernandez, only child of Isidoro Hernandez and Josefa Concepcion, was born on June 12, 1881. His birthday coincided with the Feast of San Juan de Sahagun, an Austin friar born in Sahagun in the Kingdom of Castille, Spain.

He graduated with a law degree in 1901 from the Escuela de Derechos, the law college which was later integrated into the University of Santo Tomas. However, he never took the bar exams and pursued music, his true passion. At the age of seventeen, he began to play at the Bohemian Club and composed his first of fifteen waltzes at just eighteen years of age. He was later referred to as the “Johann Strauss of the Philippines.”

Hernandez, a bachelor of music degree holder from the UP Conservatory of Music, has composed a total of fifteen waltzes, fifteen kundimans, about eight orchestral arrangements, about fourteen songs (music and lyrics by Juan himself), six religious manuscripts, three marches, a number of operettas, a concerto, several piano arrangements and his three chamber music masterpieces. He wrote the zarzuelas “Minda,” “Lukso ng Dugo,” and “Ang Puso ng Isang Pilipina.” He was also a well-known teacher and conductor.

He has done much in the preservation and development of Philippine music, along with other reputable figures in the field like Francisco Santiago, Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Buencamino, Jose A. Estella, and Antonio J. Molina. Among his many compositions are “Simoun,” an overture; “Piano Concerto in D Minor”; “Auras del Terruno,” for violin, violoncello, and piano; “Tanging Ligaya Ko,” a kundiman; and “Ulila sa Pag-ibig,” a danza.

The years of the Japanese occupation were long and hard for Hernandez. Throughout those times and in true nationalistic fashion, he was inspired to pen the Victory March, which he dedicated to General MacArthur, envisioning the eventual victory of his USAFFE forces. It was also during this time that he composed the “USAFFE March,” again in anticipation of victory.

He died in February 10, 1945 in a bomb blast in Manila, with his “USAFFE March” manuscript still clutched tightly in his bloodied hand.


Martelino, M.G. (2010). The forgotten maestro, Juan de Sahagun Hernandez. Virginia, USA : Mind and Heart Books.
Tiongson, N. (Ed.) (1994). CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, vol. 6: Philippine Music. Manila : Cultural Center of the Philippines.