Tonia Ko wins BMI Student Composer Award

By: Anna Carmichael, 
Wed, 06/01/2016

Doctoral student Tonia Ko was one of nine classical composers to win a Student Composer Award May 16 from Broadcast Music, Inc.  The awards are given to composers age 15-27 who are recognized for their superior musical compositional abilities. The students are awarded scholarship grants, which help them with their musical education.

Deirdre Chadwick, director of the Student Composer Awards,  says ““These young composers are on the cusp of a professional life in music. This is such a special night for all of us at BMI, to watch them take the next steps towards their future, and shine a light on them as they do so. I hope winning this award helps them trust their instincts, take chances, and move forward with confidence.”

Ko won the award for her piano work titled Games of Belief. Ko said through her music she strives to “capture the poetics behind small visual details of everyday life.” Her music and art have been described as “stunningly smart” and “experiment-gone-right” (New Haven Independent.)

Ko is a Sage Fellow and doctoral candidate in music at Cornell. Her music has been performed across the U.S., Asia and Europe by ensembles including the New York Youth Symphony, Volti, Flux Quartet, orkest de ereprijis, Eastman Wind Ensemble and New Morse Code. Her music has also been featured in festivals such as Aspen, Tanglewood, Santa Fe Chamber Music, Thailand International Composition Festival and the Wellesley Composers Conference.

Ko received her bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. She received her master’s degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and during her time there she was an associate instructor of music theory. She has also received recognition from organizations including the New York Youth Symphony, Lin Yao Ji Foundation, New Music USA and International Alliance for Women in Music. Ko is currently represented by Young Concert Artists, Inc. as 2015-2017 Composer-in-Residence.