Emily Koh (1986-)

Emily Koh is a Singaporean composer and double bassist, currently based in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). A graduate of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore, she has been described by The Straits Times as ‘the future of composing’ while The New York Times called her work ‘beautifully eerie’.

She continued her studies at the Peabody Institute, John Hopkins University and Brandeis University and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia.

On her website, she is described as a composer ‘whose music is characterized by inventive explorations of the smallest details of sound’.

SSOPlayOn! Listen to emily Koh's Jia[k] as part of our digital concert season. Find out more here.

Her music includes homemade recipe: nasi ulam (2020), cis-[flux] (2015), Jia[k] (written for the SSO in 2014), memento mori (2019).

She’s been commissioned by the likes of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble. Koh has won prizes including the Copland House Residency Award, Young Artist Award, Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize and the ASCA Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

She is a self-confessed foodie and in a programme note for her work Jia[k], she said: “Jia[k] is a portmanteau (blend of two or more words or their sounds into a single new word) of the pinyin representation of the Chinese word for ‘home’ – 家 (jiā), and the anglicization of the of the word ‘eat’ or ‘meal’ in the Teochew dialect – 食 (jiak.) When I was writing this piece, I found myself thinking of home and all the delicious foods I miss that are unique to Singapore – hokkien mee, laksa, nasi lemak, you name it!”

Find out more about Emily Koh at her website.