CCRP 2022/23 Faculty Members

Dr. Zechariah Goh Toh Chai

Lead Faculty Member (Singapore)

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 4 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.

Dr. Robert Davidson – Lead Faculty Member (Australia)

Robert is a prolific composer, bassist, lecturer and founder and artistic director of Topology, the ensemble-in-residence at the Brisbane Powerhouse and a Key Organisation funded by the Australia Council. Robert’s compositions are regularly performed, recorded and broadcast around the world. All of Australia’s professional orchestras and many leading soloists and ensembles have commissioned and performed his works. He has received many commissions for major works from festivals and venues including the Barbican Centre, Lincoln Center, Qld Music Festival, Brisbane Festival, Sydney Festival, Olympics Arts Festival, Canberra International Music Festival and many others. With Topology he has released twelve albums and a DVD. He has collaborated widely, with artists including Geoffrey Rush, The Brodsky Quartet, The Kransky Sisters, Gerry Connolly, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, Ed Kuepper, the Southern Cross Soloists, Trichotomy and The Australian Voices.

Robert Davidson is Senior Lecturer in Composition at the University of Queensland. After studying composition with Terry Riley, he formed his quintet Topology, resident at the Brisbane Powerhouse, with whom he regularly tours internationally in venues including New York’s Lincoln Center and London’s Barbican, and works with a wide range of collaborators such as the Brodsky Quartet, Kate Miller-Heidke, Megan Washington, Katie Noonan, TaikOz and Trichotomy. His music is focused on stylistic pluralism, intersections between music and language, and improvisation. His research focuses on modelling musical intelligence, qualitative studies of creativity and collaboration, music’s relationship with language, and practice-based research.

Dr. Graeme Morton

Faculty Member

Graeme is one of Australia’s most eclectic choral musicians, with a wealth of experience as a conductor, teacher, composer and broadcaster of choral music. Graeme has received numerous awards including an award of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the arts, the 2011 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Cultural Award, the Prime Minister’s Medal (2003) for his contribution to music, and a Churchill Fellowship, allowing him to observe choral leadership in the United States and Canada.

As Co-Founder and first Director of The Australian Voices, Graeme helped further establish a new awareness of Australian choral music. He has conducted several Australian premiers, including Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, Benjamin Britten’s The Company of Heaven and The World of the Spirit, Andrew Carter’s Benedicite and Missa Sancti Pauli, Javia Busto’s Requiem and Dominic Argento’s A Toccata of Galuppi’s. He has commissioned many pieces that have become Australian choral classics, such as Past Life Melodies (Hopkins) and Ngana (Leek).

Dr. Eudenice Palaruan

Faculty Member

Eudenice Palaruan studied composition and Choral Conducting at the University of the Philippines College of Music and trained under Dr Joel Navarro, Dr Ramon Santos. After obtaining his Bachelor Degree in the Philippines, he studied Choral Conducting at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule – Germany under Prof. Martin Behrmann. 

He was a member and baritone soloist of some of the significant choral organisations including the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club, the World Youth Choir and the Berlin Spandauer Kantorei. He was also involved in early music performance practice as a countertenor with the Berlin Montiverdichor and Il Diletto Ensemble in Germany.  

Upon his return to the Philippines, Palaruan was actively involved in the choralization of Asian traditional songs with the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM) under National Artist Francisco Feliciano. It was through this institution where he honed and used his skills as an Ethnodoxologist and worked actively as a church music minister at the Greenhills Christian Fellowship and the Union Church of Manila.   

As a conductor he was a music director of the Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club, assistant choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers under Andrea Veneracion, principal conductor of the San Miguel Master Chorale and the Union Church of Manila Chancel Choir. For seven years he was the resident conductor of the International Bamboo Organ Festival where he directed many of the Philippines’ leading choirs in the performance of early European choral music and the revival of Latin American baroque choral music. 

As a composer and arranger Palaruan introduced choral works that exhibit the traditional Filipino vocal sound, such as Gapas (Harvest), Koyu No Tebulul (Bird Song), Pasigin (Fishing Song), and other traditional vocal music. His works are performed by Asian and European choirs in international festivals and competitions. As a music pedagogue, he taught at the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, University of the Philippines College of Music and the St. Paul University Manila College of Music and the Performing Arts, where he designed the choral conducting curriculum of the Master of Music program.  

Palaruan is married to a dancer Emily Ann Lagumen. Way back in Germany, they volunteered as missionary artists under Leadership Encounter of the Campus Crusade for Christ. In the Philippines, they continued their artistic ministry and partnered with two mission-based organisations such as Praisia and WindSong. Before they moved to Singapore, they reached out to the children of Philippine Christian Foundation – PCF, at the Smoky Mountain in Tondo by training young artists and preparing them for a scholarship to the art institutions in Manila.

Currently, he is an associate professor at the School of Church Music in Singapore Bible College and the choral director of the Singapore Symphony Chorus.

Akiko Otao

Faculty Member

“…a tour de force”-Straits Times “…commanding presence with powerful feelings and a voice to match.”-Opera Magazine Singapore based Japanese-American soprano Akiko is an arts practitioner, educator, and the co-artistic director of L’arietta Productions, a chamber opera company focused on bringing contemporary operas that are bite-sized, relevant, and in English. She debuted in Singapore as the leading role of Nora in John Sharpley’s world premiere of Fences. Selected credits include the title role in Alice in Wonderland, Kannagi, Drusilla in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Musetta in La Boheme, Mable in The Pirates of Penzance, and Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors. No stranger to contemporary work, her performance in the monodrama Diary of Anne Frank directed by Samantha Scott-Blackhall received Straits Times’ Best of 2015 in the opera category. In 2018 she also won in the same category for Chen Zhangyi’s A Singapore Trilogy, where she played the Daughter in the newly commissioned Kopi for One. As a vocal coach, she has worked extensively in musical theatre as well as commercial studio recordings internationally, collaborating with Sony Japan, Avex, Gap Japan, and Youmeishu. Selected vocal coaching credit: Pippin, Once Upon a Mattress, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wiz, Aida, and Urinetown. She holds B. M. Ed with vocal emphasis from the Hartt School, and she has recently completed the Practical Voice Science for Singers and Teachers course from San Francisco Conservatory of Music Continuing Education as she believes in anatomically and scientifically forward approach to vocal pedagogy. She is a frequent guest clinician, at VOS (Voices of Singapore), CDAS (Choral Directors Association Singapore), American Chamber of Commerce Japan, Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory to name a few. Her musical versatility continues to bring her an eclectic collection of projects. She is currently on the voice faculty at SOTA and Musical Theatre faculty at Lasalle College of the Arts.