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Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth


Jul 11, 2017

Los Angeles based Filipino composer Saunder Choi was raised in a Chinese family, and his diverse cultural background is informing his voice as an emerging choral composer. Saunder’s motive in composition is to use music to facilitate cultural exchange, telling stories that people might not otherwise hear. Ryan and Saunder discuss Philippine choral culture, family business dynamics, dead white guys, and what it was like to be an immigrant during the 2016 election in this first episode of a two-part series. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “More and more people are composing pieces...that are not settings of poetry by dead white guys.” -Saunder Choi Show Notes:

  • Choral Arts Initiative 5th anniversary concert will premiere of 5 new works by southern California composers, including a new piece by Saunder.
  • Saunder had to make a hard decision to pursue composition in the US, against the expectations that he would remain in the Philippines and help run the family business.
  • After many tours with the Philippine Madrigal Singers performing folk songs from their respective countries, Saunder began to realize that choral music should go beyond folk songs, and reflect the stories of living people.
  • In response to the 2016 election, Saunder reflected heavily on his status as an immigrant in the US. That awareness is infused into his recent works.
Bio: Saunder Choi is an emerging LA based Filipino composer. his works been performed, programmed, recorded and read by the USC Thornton Symphony, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Crossing Choir, the LA Master Chorale, USC Chamber Singers, Peninsula Women’s Chorus, Kalistos Chamber Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium Chorus. He has been commissioned by the L.A. Choral Lab, Andrea Veneracion International Choral Festival, Salt Lake Choral Artists, SYC Ensemble Singers of Singapore, Choral Arts Initiative, University of the East Chorale, University of Visayas Chorale, etc. As an arranger and orchestrator, Saunder has written Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga, the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Gerard Salonga, the Tim Janis American Christmas Carol Show at Carnegie Hall, Ballet Philippines, and the Hong Kong production of Pippin. As a vocalist, he sung in groups such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers, LA Choral Lab, Tonality, C3LA, USC Chamber Singers, Boston Choral Ensemble, Lore Vocal Ensemble, etc. He also serves as the choir director at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood and teaching artist for Pacific Chorale. Saunder holds composition degrees from USC Thornton School of Music (MM) and Berklee College of Music (BM), where his primary teachers include Ted Hearne, Donald Crockett, and Andrew List. Resources/links Mentioned: Sponsored by: Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!) srfLogo 2 My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) 18009657 10100785146152854 187971250 n 2