Emmanuel Koh


Home countries: Singapore and Malaysia

Alma maters: University of Michigan, University of Akron

Photos by Matt Dine


Appearances: Bowdoin International Music Festival, 2012; Montecito International Music Festival, 2011

What inspired you to audition for 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