Brief Summary

Known to be a multifaceted composer, Phang Kok Jun’s music transcends the concert halls, with a repertoire that also includes theatre, film, and other forms of media. An award-winning composer both locally and internationally, Kok Jun is influenced by a wide variety of musical styles, and has been described as a composer who “comfortably melds Chinese, Western and popular idioms to excellent effect”. 

 

Interested in the unique relationship between music and storytelling, Kok Jun is constantly working with artists of various disciplines to discover new possibilities in music-making. He has held several residencies, most notably with Ding Yi Music Company from 2011 to 2021, and has had the privilege of being featured in major productions around the world, working with orchestras, theatre companies, chamber groups, directors, conductors, designers, and soloists.

 

Kok Jun read music composition at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM), National University of Singapore and as well as the Peabody Conservatory of Music, both under full scholarship from YSTCM. Principal composition teachers include Eric Watson, Ho Chee Kong, Oscar Bettison and Kevin Puts.

Concert Music

Kok Jun is an exponent of chamber music and has worked with international chamber groups such as the Australian Brass Quintet, T’ang Quartet, and the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra. During his residency with Ding Yi, he wrote a diverse range of Chinese chamber repertoire. Most notably, he has been commissioned for the ensemble’s overseas tours; co-commissioned for the ensemble’s performance in the Esplanade 10th Anniversary celebrations; as well as wrote the full-length work - “Of Music and Sound” in 2020.

 

In 2018, his work for mixed chamber ensemble, "52407" was awarded first prize in the Popular Modern Music category of the inaugural New Classics Competition organised by the Moscow Conservatory.

Besides chamber music, Kok Jun has also written for larger ensembles, with a repertoire that includes the symphony orchestra and concert band. More distinctively, he also writes for the Chinese orchestra, with regular collaborators including Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) and Taipei Chinese Orchestra. In 2014 he was co-commissioned by the SCO to compose “Power Singapura”, a large-scale percussion item that broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Chinese Drum Ensemble with 4557 performers.

Education, Theatre, and Collaborations

Seeing the importance of music education, Kok Jun has worked with the Esplanade’s Feed Your Imagination Series since 2010, scoring and producing shows that use elements of storytelling and animation to teach children about Chinese instruments and their music. From 2015-18, the show became a musical theatre production while keeping to its core. The 2019 instalment experimented with music and live art jamming and was released as an audio-illustration-picture book in 2020.

Kok Jun often works with different art mediums, including theatre, film, and media. Notable credits include productions in the Esplanade Huayi’s “Child’s Play” series, “Nü Wa Mends the Sky” (2018 Shanghai production),  “The Rubbish Prince” (2018-19 community action puppet theatre), and “Share the Moment” (Marina Bay Countdown 2021). His venture into jingle writing won him the Scanteak-SCO Jingle Contest’s first prize and commendation prize in 2018.

On Stage

Even though Kok Jun spends most of his time writing music nowadays, he still enjoys performing on the huqin (Chinese stringed fiddle) with a repertoire that ranges from contemporary improvisation, fusion pop, to jazz.

Effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese, with experience in both Western and Chinese music, Kok Jun is regularly invited as a speaker for concerts, seminars, and symposiums. He has also organised workshops on various topics, including music appreciation, Singapore music, improvisation, as well as composition.

Download: Bio, short bio, Chinese bio, CV.

Highlights

2021

  • Composer and Music Director of The Rattle King, commissioned by Esplanade's inaugural March On festival

  • Composer for pinhole camera and music installation Foto Kotak, commissioned by NAC's Arts in Your Neighbourhood

2020

  • Composer for Share the Moment, lights projection at the Marina Bay Countdown 2021 Singapore

  • World Premiere of music and sound design (by Zai Tang) production Of Music and Sound commissioned by Ding Yi Music Company

  • Writer and composer of The Musical Canvas, an audio-visual-drawing book released as part of Esplanade's Feed Your Imagination Series

  • Music Direction of seasons 1 and 2 of online podcast series 大声D茶室 / Warung Cakap Apa by 3pumpkins

  • World Premiere of musical theatre piece 出嫁前夕 commissioned by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra in collaboration with Capital 958

2019

  • Composer and music direction of Shiyun: Island Interludes, presented by The Arts House

  • Composer for radio play 怕输攻略 produced by Capital 958 as part of their collaboration with Mr Kiasu

  • World Premiere of music and art production, The Musical Canvas, as part of Esplanade's Feed Your Imagination Series

  • Composer of By The River, commissioned set piece for SYF 2019 Arts Presentation for Chinese Orchestra (Full Orchestra) Secondary School and JC/CI

  • Composer and Sound Designer for musical theatre production, Child's Play 2019 - The Story of the Banyan Tree, commissioned by Esplanade's Huayi Festival

 

2018

  • First Prize at New Classics - International Competition at the Moscow Conservatory for Young Composers (Popular Modern Classics Category) for 52407

  • Composer for community action theatre, The Rubbish Prince, commissioned by NAC's Arts in Your Neighbourhood

  • World Premiere of Wings of Resonance, full-length work to close the Traditional Flute Festival 2018, Singapore

  • Composer for musical, Little Woods 小小森林, commissioned by Berries World

  • First Prize as well as Commendation Prize winner for SCO & Scanteak's Jingle Contest 2018

  • Composer for award-winning musical theatre production, 创世 - 补天, in collaboration with the Shanghai Puppet Theatre

  • Composer and Sound Designer for musical theatre production, Child's Play 2018 - The Story of Redhill, commissioned by Esplanade's Huayi Festival

 

2017

  • World Premiere of musical theatre production, Bukit Ho Swee, as part of Esplanade's Feed Your Imagination Series

  • World Premiere of Ten Years a Minute, commissioned by Ding Yi Music Company for their 10th Anniversary Concert

  • Singapore "AYE Young Composer" delegate in the PGVIM International Symposium "Music, Myths, and Realities 2017" and World Premier of Ji for solo erhu and string trio, Thailand

  • Composer and Sound Designer for musical theatre production, Child's Play, as part of Esplanade's Huayi Festival

 

2016

  • World Premiere of Urban Rhythms, concerto for Ruan by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra

  • World Premiere of Tache for solo harp in the Asia Harp Festival 2016 Closing Concert

  • Performances of In Seven Steps, commissioned SYF piece for SYF 2016 Arts Presentation for Chinese Orchestra (Full Orchestra) Primary Level

  • World Premiere of Ancient Dreams, concerto for Ruan and Guzheng by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra

2015

  • Straits Times' “30 rising stars under 30” in Singapore’s arts, entertainment and lifestyle.

  • World Premiere of Of Music and Dance, music and dance production presented by Ding Yi Music Company and Re:dance theatre

  • Performances on Hustle Bustle and Wind Chimes as part of SG Inspirations 2015.

  • World Premiere of musical theatre production, A Legend Begins, as part of Esplanade's Feed Your Imagination Series

  • World Premiere of Journey On for Piano Quintet, presented by Kris Foundation

  • Singapore "Music Expert" delegate in the PGVIM International Symposium, "Classical Music of ASEAN on the World Stage 2015", Thailand.

2014

  • World Premiere of Distant Bells, concerto for Daruan by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra

  • World Premiere of Storytellers on Ann Siang Road for 2 erhus and Chinese Chamber Ensemble in Taiwan

  • World Premiere of Power Singapura in Our People Our Music 2014, breaking the Guinness World Record for Largest Chinese Drum Ensemble

  • World Premiere of Pelog Fantasy in the World Harp Congress, Sydney

  • World Premiere of City Lights by the Australian Brass Quintet

2013

  • Featured Artiste in Esplanade's Spotlight Series

  • World Premiere of Ripples as part of Ding Yi Music Company's Inaugural Chinese Chamber Music Festival

  • World Premiere of For Nataraja

2012

  • World Premiere arrangement of Bho Shambo, performed in the Shanghai Conservatory Woodwind Festival

  • World Premiere of Voices, commissioned as part of Esplanade's 10th Anniversary Celebrations

  • World Premiere arrangement of Chun Jiang Hua Yue Ye, performed in the Acenis International Harp Festival 2012