The Filipino bass-baritone, Jonathan de la Paz Zaens, earned his Bachelor's Degree in Voice, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines under Professor Andrea O. Veneracion, and his Master's degree in Voice from the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany under Professor Dr. Herbert Brauer. Jonathan is a prize winner of the 7th Sylvia Gesxty International Coloratura Voice Competition and a Finalist of the 13th Jonathan Bach International Competition.
A former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Jonathan de la Paz Zaens joined the group in their 1989 world tour, covering the USA, Europe, Mexico and Southeast Asia. He was also the Philippine representative to the World Youth Choir in Norway (1993) and South America (1994).
Engagements have brought Jonathan de la Paz Zaens to the Prague State Opera and Prague Estates Theater where he sang the Mozart roles of Leporello in Don Giovanni and Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte. Other guest appearances include: Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore and Alidoro in Johann Adolf Hasse's La Sorella Amante at the Neukoeliner Opera Berlin. The Abbot in Benjamin Britten's Curfew River at the New Opera Stage Berlin and King Xerxes from Johann Christian Bach's Temistocle at the Berlin Chamber Opera. He has recently ventured into contemporary opera, singing for the Berlin Festival 2002, the roles of Malaspina in S. Sciarrino's Die Toedliche Blume and Luzifer in K. Stockhausen's Michael's Jugend aus Donnerstag aus Licht. For the Salzburg Festival 2003, he sang the baritone part in the world premier of Stockhausen's Duefte-Zeichen.
The Berlin based Bass-baritone is also a much sought interpreter of Oratorio (sacred) Music, performing regularly the bass solo parts in: J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245), St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), B-minor Mass (BWV 232) and his cantatas; Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah and Paulus; George Frideric Handel's Messiah; Haydn's Creation; Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle; Camille Saint-Saëns' Oratorio de Noel; Dvorak's Stabat Mater and the Requiem settings of Johannes Brahms, Mozart, Gabriel Fauré and Verdi.
In 2008, Jonathan de la Paz Zaens was in Manila to perform in a concert called Virtuosos 2008 at the CCP, where he performed with fellow classical artists, soprano Camille Lopez Molina, mezzo soprano Clarissa Ocampo, and tenors Nolyn Cabahug and Randy Gilongo, counter-tenor Mark Anthony Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, visiting French bass-baritone Jerome Correas and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. He impressed the crowd, critics called him a Virtuoso. He not only impressed with his singing but also because he was very good-looking and charismatic on stage. Floy Quintos called him the Piolo Pascual of classical music.
Jonathan de la Paz Zaens released a CD entitled “Kundiman, Philippine Art Songs”. This CD was produced by Sundro Keller and recorded in St. Paulus GermendeGrosser Saal in Berlin and features Kundiman compositions of Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago, Mike Velarde Jr. and Resurreccion Bunyi with musical arrangement by Ryan Cayabyab, and piano accompaniment by Abelardo Galang II. Zaens' way with words and phrases blend with the music with magnificent results and brings back to life this treasure trove of now nearly forgotten Phillipine art songs.
"There are singers and singers, but only a few have a gift for interpretation that goes beyond what the text and music signify." Pablo Tariman wrote this in The Inquirer concerning Berlin-based, Filipino bass-baritone singer, Jonathan De La Paz Zaens, on the release of his CD, "Kundiman, Philippine Art Songs"