Published on 5 May 2017

(L-R): Chen Zhangyi, Diana Soh, Emily Koh, Phang Kok Jun, Terrence Wong, Zhang Kangyi

You don’t have to go to Beethoven or Strauss to get your classical music fix – there’s plenty to explore from our very own orchestral composers who bring in a diverse range of influences to their works.


Rain Tree by Chen Zhangyi

“My work as a composer is challenging yet exciting. I try to create new sounds and weave musical lines together to form a bigger painting. An orchestra is an amazing assembly of musicians coming together to make music.”

Let Freedom Ring! by Zhang Kangyi

“Melody, motifs, thematic groups, form and texture clarity are all important to me. For ‘Let Freedom Ring!’ the music vividly reconstructs stories the Civil Rights Movement in the US with the trombone taking different lead roles in the narratives.”

[Ro]ob[ta]ject[tion] by Diana Soh

“The orchestral world is a hugely conventional institution. With such a large sound palette at your disposal, you would think it’s a dream come true for any sound sculptor. But the reality is a wrestle with a huge amount of history and socio-cultural contexts…I compose to challenge myself – it is probably the best kind of love/hate relationship!”

Crycrotations by Emily Koh

“Musically, dichotomy and extremes often feature in my works, though within that larger idea, I also enjoy creating extreme subtlety in harmonic and instrumental colours at the micro-level.”

The River at Dawn by Terrence Wong

“My work is an expression of my personality – I like to put a smile on other people’s faces and that translates into writing music I hope the audience can relate to. ‘The River at Dawn’ portrays how I would imagine the Singapore River in the nation’s pre-independence days – tranquil and without the mad rush of city life.”

Reminisce by Phang Kok Jun

“Composing music is essentially like storytelling. It has to have a clear introduction, followed by some development. Sometimes, it’s lush and slow, sometimes, it’s fast-paced and attention-grabbing. Everyone interprets music differently, but I always wish for the audience to enjoy the ‘story’ together with me!”

To find out more about local orchestral composers, click here for our “Modern Mozarts” story!

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