Photo by Simon Goodacre
Emily Koh (b.1986) is a Singaporean composer and double bassist based in Atlanta, GA. Her music reimagines everyday experiences by sonically expounding tiny oft-forgotten details. In addition to writing acoustic and electronic concert music, she enjoys collaborating with other creatives in projects where sound plays an important role.
Described as ‘the future of composing’ (The Straits Times, Singapore), she is the recipient of awards such as the Copland House Residency Award, Young Artist Award, Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Prix D’Ete, and PARMA competitions; commissions from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble; and grants from New Music USA, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy and Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and Avaloch Farm Music Institute.
Emily’s works have been described as “beautifully eerie” (New York Times), and “subtley spicy” (Baltimore Sun). This season, her work “After Igor” was chosen to be performed by the Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra as part of the American Composers Orchestra’s first international Earshot Program. A new saxophone, live electronics and video work, “b(locked.orders)”, in collaboration with video artist Michiko Saiki and Noa Even, was performed across the US in Noa Even’s solo tour in Fall 2019. In March 2020, she performed as the double bass soloist in her wind ensemble work “divercity”, with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on the Isaac Stern Stage at Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Wind Band Festival. Her works can be heard on the XAS, New Focus and Ravello labels, performed by PRISM quartet, Transient Canvas, and the McCormick Percussion Group, and have been performed at various venues around the world in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, Finland, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and the United States by acclaimed ensembles and performers such as Talea Ensemble (USA), Ensemble Dal Niente (USA), New York New Music Ensemble (USA), Signal Ensemble (USA), Boston New Music Initiative (USA), New Thread Quartet (USA), Acoustic Uproar (USA), LUNAR Ensemble (USA), East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (USA/Europe), Avanti! (Finland), Israel Contemporary Players (Israel), Sentieri Selvaggi (Italy), the Next Mushroom Promotion (Japan), Chroma Ensemble (UK), The Philharmonic Orchestra (Singapore), Dingyi Music Company (Singapore) and Chamber Sounds (Singapore) among others.
Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, University of Georgia in Athens, GA. She has been on faculty at the Alba Music Festival Composition Program (Italy), Dot-The-Line Festival (South Korea), International Composition Institute of Thailand and Asia-Pacific Saxophone Academy (Thailand). Prior to teaching at UGA, she taught at Brandeis and Harvard Universities, MIT, Longy School of Music (Bard College) and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She graduated from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore (BM Music Composition), the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University (MM Music Composition and Music Theory Pedagogy), and Brandeis University (Ph.D. graduate in Music Composition and Theory). She is a member of ASCAP, SCI, and the Composers Society of Singapore. Her music is published by Babel Scores and Poco Piu Publishing.
Emily lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Jason. Besides composing and performing, Emily is a foodie and enjoys eating, cooking and working in her edible garden.