As a Senior Lecturer of composition at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, a composer of music ranging from choir, symphonic band, wind ensemble, chamber music to large scale orchestral works, Zechariah Goh Toh Chai has carefully fused Southeast Asian-Chinese with Western traditions. In 1999, he received the David and Gunda Hiebert Scholarship award to work on his Master of Piano from University of Kansas, during which he was appointed as a graduate assistant by the university to teach undergraduate music theory. Subsequently, he worked on his Doctorate degree majoring in Composition under the guidance of Dr. Charles Hoag. Zechariah was also awarded the prestigious Anthony Cius Prize for outstanding student composer from the University of Kansas for the Academic year of 2001 and 2002.
Before embarking on his studies in the United States, he was a familiar face in the local music scene, teaching bands and choirs in Singapore. He was a lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, since July 2002. As a composer, he is frequently commissioned to write music for symphonic bands and choirs. Since the 1990s, his choral works have premiered in Singapore as well as winning many international competitions. Dr Goh has conducted numerous folk song arrangement and choral improvisation workshops for choral directors and composers across the Asia Pacific region, including cities such as Bandung (2017), Kuala Lumpur, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, and Tianjin, China (2018). Additionally, he was invited to lecture and give workshops at the Oklahoma State University and University of Kansas, USA. He adjudicated the World Children and Youth Choir Competition in Hong Kong (2017), and the Bali International Choral Competition in 2018 and The Malaysian Choral Eisteddfod, 2018. His commissioned work “纪元晨光” performed by the Diocesan Boys’ School Choir(Hong Kong), won the Best Male Choir at the Music Competition at the World Choir Games in South Africa, 2018, other choral works ‘Reminiscences of Hainan’ ‘In the Bamboo Forest’ performed by the NUS Choir, awarded the top prize at The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod 2018, and ‘Assassination’ performed by Diocesan Choral Society won the Grand Prix award at the Tokyo International Choir Competition 2018. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra commissioned and premiered “Blossoms’ for Large Orchestra in 2017. Zechariah Goh has collaborated with Ding Yi Music Company on a multi-disciplinary production with Chinese Chamber music, Documentary film and ceramics entitled “Songs of the Dragon Kiln’ in 2017.
For his artistic excellence in the field of music, Zechariah was conferred the Young Artist Award (Music) in September 2003 by the National Arts Council, Singapore. The award was presented by the President of the Republic of Singapore at Istana. Zechariah was awarded the Artistic Excellence Award from the Composers and authors Society of Singapore in 2013. Zechariah Goh was also presented with the distinguished Alumni medal from NAFA in 2014.
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