Emmanuel Koh


Home countries: Singapore and Malaysia
Alma maters: University of Michigan, University of Akron
Appearances: Bowdoin International Music Festival, 2012; Montecito International Music Festival, 2011
How did you hear about TŌN: I heard about TŌN through a friend. I was particularly inspired by the opportunity to be able to make and perform music together with exceptional musicians.
Favorite piece to play: Richard Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration
Favorite obscure piece: Erik Satie’s Embryons desséchés
Favorite composer fact: Erik Satie wrote a song about a sea cucumber.
Favorite musical memory: Sometimes when I take my viola out of a case, it’s already in tune. #soundslikespringtime
Which composer would have had the best social media: Franz Liszt. Apparently, women would scream and faint when he performed.
Favorite fact about your instrument: Playing the viola is like playing the violin, but with the difficulty setting turned up to “hardcore.”
The thing most people don’t know about classical music is: Live music is the best.
Favorite non-classical band: Hyukoh
Musical guilty pleasure: K-pop
Best song to have on repeat: “Tunak Tunak Tun” by Daler Mehndi
What recording would you take to a deserted island: “Mr. Lonely” by Bobby Vinton
Favorite non-musical activity: Travel—to go see people and places
Last book read: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis