Jovianney Cruz was born from a generation of musicians. His grandmother, Pura Lacson-Villanueva, was a pianist and the first female conductor in the Philippines. She was also the piano teacher of National Artist Lucrecia Kasilag. His mother, Lourdes Lacson Villanueva-Cruz, is a concert pianist who became frustrated when none of her nine children showed any interest in a musical career, though everyone took piano lessons in their early ages. Ten years after the birth of her ninth child, at 49 years old, Mrs. Cruz gave birth to her tenth and youngest child, Jovianney. This time, she made sure that he is going to be a concert pianist, and finally, the heir to the family's music legacy.
Mr. Cruz began his piano studies at the age of three from his mother, Lourdes. As a child prodigy at age 6, he was invited to give a command performance for the President of the Philippines at Malacañan Palace. By the age of 10, he made his orchestral debut with the Philippine Youth Orchestra after winning First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists Foundation. The Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines provided him a grant to pursue scholarships for piano studies abroad.
In 1980, after finishing grade school at Ateneo de Manila University Grade School, he moved to England to attend the Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, a school for gifted young children. The year after, he moved to New York City where he attended the Manhattan School of Music where he was a pupil of the eminent piano pedagogue Solomon Mikowsky.
At the Manhattan School of Music, Jovianney was a winner of both the Preparatory and College Divisions Concerto Competitions and a recipient of the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, the Elva Van Gelder, and the Anne-Marie McDermott Memorial Scholarships. In 1989, he received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in Piano Performance, and was awarded the Harold Bauer Award, the most coveted award given to a pianist with the highest honors at the school. He completed his Master of Music degree from the same school in 1991.
Between 1984 and 1994, Jovianney competed in various international piano competitions around the world. He was a finalist at the Jaen International Piano Competition in Jaen and 6th prize winner at the Rina Sala Gallo International Piano Competition in Milan. He won third prizes at the José Iturbi International Piano Competition in Valencia, María Canals in Barcelona, Pilar Bayona Piano Competition in Zaragosa, and the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York. He placed second in the International Competition for Piano and Orchestra in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily. He won First Prizes at the Bergen Philharmonic Solo Competition, at the Haddonfield Symphony Solo Competition, the Queens Symphony Soloists Competition, the New York State Music Teachers Association, and the Five Towns, Great Neck, and Port Washington Piano Competitions.
He has performed as soloist with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Manhattan Philharmonia, the Queens Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Maracaibo Symphony, the Orquesta Municipal de Valencia, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the State of Oradea, the Uni-Orchester Säarbrucken, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, the Orquesta Filharmonica de Gran Canaria, the National Symphony Orchestra of Malaysia, the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, FILharmoniKA, and numerously with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also amassed a long string of solo recitals and chamber music collaborations, and is consistently requested to conduct master classes in various parts of the world.
Participation in music festivals in New York, Germany, Spain, and Malaysia, has given Jovianney critical acclaim. Music critics and audiences alike describe his solo recitals as "sublime", "colourful", and "fantastic", and his performance of Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto was praised as "…technically impeccable". The New Straits Times called his rendition of Mozart at the International Piano Festival in Kuala Lumpur, "…a thrilling performance of an exquisite interpretation…showed his artistry, his finesse, and his sensitivity as a pianist. He made the piano sing from the first note to the last, every nuance and every phrase beautifully executed."
Upon returning to the Philippines, Jovianney joined the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Music as an associate professor in piano performance. He also worked as consultant to other music conservatories in the Philippines like the Philippine Women's University, St. Paul University, the Center for Applied Music at the Miriam College, and the University of the City of Manila. He has produced prize-winning students, most of whom have pursued further studies in other countries.
As an artistic director and concert producer, he is in the forefront in the revival of classical music awareness in the Philippines. Jovianney formed the Camerata dell'Arte Foundation in 1995 to further propagate arts and culture to the people. With him as the artistic director, the foundation established Opusfest in 2006, a biennial music camp where pianists, violinists and cellists from all over the world could perform, as well as participate in master classes given by international artists and pedagogues. Also in 2006, he started the Ultimate Pianist National Competition in Manila to discover and promote the new generation of aspiring pianists in the Philippines, provide them with performing opportunities and assist in enhancing their young careers.
In 2008, the Filfest Cultural Foundation was launched with Jovianney Cruz as a founding trustee and the artistic director. The foundation produced Filfest 2008: A Celebration of Music and Dance, a 12-day series of recitals and performances at the Insular Life Theater, the newly established cultural center south of Metro Manila.
Jovianney Cruz was the first Filipino to be invited as Juror in the First ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition held in Kuala Lumpur and twice the adjudicator in the Hong Kong School of Music Festival's several years of existence. In 1996, President Fidel V. Ramos conferred on Mr. Cruz The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for Music, for his contribution to the Arts. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has dubbed Mr. Cruz as "…one of the greatest pianists the country has ever produced!"Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines Scholar, 1980–1989
The Elva Van Gelder Memorial Scholarship, 1980–1984
Laureate, The Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division Concerto Competition, 1983
The Anne-McDermott Memorial Scholarship for Chamber Music, 1984
Full Merit Scholarships, Manhattan School of Music, 1984–1991
Laureate, The Manhattan School of Music College Division Concerto Competition, 1985
The Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation Scholarships, 1987–1991
The Harold Bauer Award, 1989
Gold Medal, The Queens Symphony Soloists Competition, 1984
First Prize, New York State Music Teachers Association State Collegiate Artist Competition, 1984
First Prize, Five Towns Music and Art Solo Competition, 1985
First Prize, The Port Washington Piano Competition, 1985
First Prize, The Great Neck Symphony Piano Competition, 1985
Third Prize, Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition, 1985
First Prize, The Bergen Philharmonic Piano Soloists Competition, 1988
First Prize, The Haddonfield Symphony Piano Soloists Competition, 1988
Third Prize, Jose Iturbi International Piano Competition, 1988
Third Prize, Maria Canals International Piano Competition, 1990
Prizewinner, Rina Sala Gallo International Piano Competition, 1990
Third Prize, Pilar Bayona Piano Competition, 1992
Finalist, International Piano Competition of Jaen, 1993
Second Prize, International Competition for Piano and Orchestra in Sicily, 1994
The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), 1996
The Filipino World Class Achiever, 1999
The City of Manila Award for Arts & Culture, 2008