Press Conference by Prof Ramasamy – Deputy Chief Minister of Penang

The Launch of the First Malaysian Women Composers CD funded by Prof Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister of Penang. Press Conference was held at Komtar, 12.30pm 04 October 2016 

Interweaves – First Malaysian Women Composers CD

Celebrating six works by Malaysian women composers

Interweave: to bring together, to marry different strands, to create a fabric of delightful colours. This is the theme of the new CD compilation of six works by Malaysian women composers to be released this month. The CD will be launched at an official press conference in Penang, more details will be available soon.


ABOUT THE CD: Women composers have made an indelible mark on Malaysian contemporary music. On this CD, they are shown in all their colourful diversity, from modern art music to ethnic fusion and film, from Western and Indian classical to traditional Malay music to Sabahan folk.

They paint every nuance and mood imaginable, exploding with the exuberance of creation and revelling in the richness of human emotion and experience. This homage is dedicated to all our sisters, who truly hold the key to life and all its wonderful possibilities.


1 Jessica Cho – Five Little Pieces for Piano
2 Adeline Wong – Interweaves for string quartet *
3 Jyotsna Prakash – Sukhi
4 Isabella Pek – Jambatan Tamparuli for orchestra
5 Jessica Cho – Hypnagogic II for chamber ensemble
6 Adeline Wong – Chermin, excerpts from the film score

– Opening Title / Death of Zara / Nasrin

*world premiere recording

Produced by Jessica Cho 2016 for the Malaysian Composers Collective (MCC)

Celebrating Nature in Singapore at Singapore Botanic Gardens

Birds. A wonderful gift of nature. We are blessed that Singapore houses an immense diversity of flora and fauna, and even plays an important role as a stopover site for migratory birds. Don’t you enjoy the green, lush forests plus the occasional sweet birdsongs?
Held in conjunction with the 6th Asian Bird Fair by Nature Society (Singapore), the concert Celebrating Nature in Singapore will feature new works by composers Robert Casteels, Liew Kongmeng, Timothy Tan and Jessica Cho. Indulge yourselves into masterful works about birds and nature, plus a wonderful imaginary narration of a Singaporean at SG100!
This extraordinary concert is supported by SG50, the National Arts Council, ArtsFund, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, and the Philharmonic Winds.
Venue: Singapore Botanic Gardens Function Hall (near Tanglin Gate)

Singapore Botanic Gardens – Botany Centre, 1 Cluny Road 259569

Date: 31 Oct 15 (Sa)

Time: 4 pm to 5 pm
Admission is free! Seize your chance!

Robert Casteels – Bird Songs

Liew Kongmeng – Pavane

Robert Casteels – Spirit of Wood

Jessica Cho – Landscapes

Robert Casteels – Hydropyre

Timothy Tan – Birds Dissected

Robert Casteels – Travelogue

CALL FOR SCORES – Young Composers Competition


Malaysian Composers Collective is proud to announce a CALL FOR SCORES to all young composers living in Malaysia, under the age of 30 to send a score for the young composers competitions.

Deadline 31 December 2013
Work Duration 6-8 minutes
Instrumentations Pieces for a pair of the same instruments such as 2 flutes; 2 clarintes; 2 violin ; etc

violin, viola, violoncello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, and saxophone.

Selected composer will be representing Malaysia to Japan Asian Composer League 2014 in Yokohama, November 2014.

For more info on how to submit the works, kindly email your inquiries to

Or Mail your music to
Jessica Cho
71, Jalan Dato Haji Harun,
Taman Tayton View, Cheras,
56000 Kuala Lumpur

*Terms and Conditions Applied

Asian Composers League 2013 Singapore

22 September 2013, 2pm

Performance of Jessica’s Hypnagogic II. Conducted by Robert Casteels. Fantastic performance! And Wonderful flute and clarinet playing.

Flute: Jasper Goh
Clarinet: Benjamin Wong
Violin: Seah Huan Yuh
Cello: Lim Juan
Piano: Shane Thio
Percussion: Eugene Toh and Richard Ter

Conductor and composer Robert Casteels



MPYO Chamber Concert

Jessica CHO’s Hypnagogic II will be performed by the MPYO Chamber Players on the 28th November 2012, 6.00pm at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas.

Wed 28 November 2012, 6.00pm
Programme to include:
CHOHypnagogic II

All seats: RM 10

Location: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, KLCC

100 Olympic Composers

By Jeremy Pound, Updated 27th July 2012

Jeremy Pound investigates the classical music of countries competing at the Games

Here’s what seemed like a good idea at the time. When the Olympic clock announced ‘100 days to go’, I had a thought: why not mark the lead up to the Games by choosing a piece of classical music from 100 different competing countries, and featuring one per day on Twitter? Could be fun…?

Colleagues agreed, and the atlas was dragged off the shelves. The rules were simple. To make things a little bit more challenging, each piece had to be written in the Western classical tradition – so no jazz, folk or pop – and national anthems were strictly banned. Plus, there had to be a sound clip of it on the web, so we could share it.

When it came to determining nationality, Olympic rules applied – someone was born in, hailed from or lived in a country – that qualified them to represent it.

And here, 100 days later, is how things panned out. There were some wonderful discoveries on the way – Iceland, Haiti and Algeria instantly spring to mind – while for some of the classical music ‘heavyweights’, we decided to look beyond the obvious. For each choice, simply click on the link to have a listen.

Of course, we didn’t cover all of the Olympic nations, as there are over 200 of them. So, if anyone from, say, Kiribati, Andorra or Papua New Guinea is put out that their country doesn’t get a mention, we can only apologise… And do feel free to send us a link!

100 (18 April)
Falla: El amor brujo

99 (19 April)
Mathieu: Rhapsodie Romantique

98 (20 April)
Khachaturian: Piano Concerto

97 (21 April)
Sveinbjörnsson: Piano Trios

96 (22 April)
New Zealand
Lilburn: Symphonies

95 (23 April)
Tabakova: Whispered Lullaby

94 (24 April)
Samayoa: La Estatua Ridicula

93 (25 April)
Obrecht: Missa Caput

92 (26 April)
Malek Jandali: Echoes from Ugarit

91 (27 April)
Takemitsu: Arc

90 (28 April)
Glazunov: Symphony No. 5

89 (29 April)
Jovan Milosevic: More, vrcaj konja, Cerim Abdul ago!

88 (30 April)
Cleophas Adderley: Missa Caribe

87 (1 May)
Schreker: Prelude to a Drama

86 (2 May)
Dino Residbegovic: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

85 (3 May)
Honegger: Rugby

84 (4 May)
South Africa
Joubert: Symphony No. 1

83 (5 May)
Vasks: Plainscapes

82 (6 May)
Pande Shahov: In Struga

81 (7 May)
Ginastera: String Quartets

80 (8 May)
Karlowicz: Eternal Songs

79 (9 May)
Roque Cordero: Rapsodia Panamena

78 (10 May)
Yannis Kyriakides: a conSPIracy cantata

77 (11 May)
Faeroe Islands
Sunleif Rasmussen: Skaerur Vindur

76 (12 May)
Shirish Korde: Tenderness of Cranes

75 (13 May)
Grieg: Holberg Suite

74 (14 May)
Angel Matias Pena: Iyo Kailan Pa Man

73 (15 May)
Gliere: Harp Concerto

72 (16 May)
Orego-Salas: Clarinet Sextet

71 (17 May)
Saygun: Violin Concerto

70 (18 May)
Kodaly: Dances of Galanta

69 (19 May)
El Salvador
Carlos Colón Quintana: Overture for a Martyr

68 (20 May)
Stanford: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G

67 (21 May)
Justinian Tamusuza: Ekkivvulu Ky Endere

66 (22 May)
South Korea
Unsuk Chin: Xi

65 (23 May)
Langgaard: Music of the Spheres

64 (24 May)
Gerardo Guevara: Fiesta

63 (25 May)
Cui: Preludes, Op. 64

62 (26 May)
Salem Abdul Karem: Qatar Symphony

61 (27 May)
Jessica Cho: Landscape

60 (28 May)
Respighi: Suite for Strings

59 (29 May)
Jalloul Ayed: Hannibal Barca Symphony

58 (30 May)
Castellanos: Santa Cruz de Pacairigua

57 (31 May)
Omar Khairat: The Storm

56 (1 June)
Justin Elie: Legende Creole

55 (2 June)
Czech Republic
Martinů: Symphonies

54 (3 June)
Samuel Ekpe Akpabot: Three Nigerian Dances

53 (4 June)
Arkady Luxemburg: Spring Melodies

52 (5 June)
Naji Hakim: Theotokos

51 (6 June)
Röntgen: Symphony No. 3

50 (7 June)
Ives: First Symphony

49 (8 June)
José de la Cruz Mena: Rosalia

48 (9 June)
Camilleri: Malta Suite

47 (10 June)
Moncayo: Huapango

46 (11 June)
Peter Sculthorpe: Quamby

45 (12 June)
Stenhammar: First Piano Concerto

44 (13 June)
North Korea
Ahn Eak-tai: Korea Fantasy

43 (14 June)
Kancheli: Symphony No. 1

42 (15 June)
Costa Rica
Gutierrez: Pavane

41 (16 June)
Phoon Yew Tien: Ping-Diao

40 (17 June)
Chavarria: Alegrese la tierra

39 (18 June)
Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times

38 (19 June)
Jakob Handl: Moralia

37 (20 June)
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras

36 (21 June)
Haydn: Quartet Op. 33, No. 2, ‘The Joke’

35 (22 June)
Enescu: Violin Sonata No. 3

34 (23 June)
Alexander Müllenbach: Dream Music

33 (24 June)
Fikret Amirov: Azerbaijan Capriccio

32 (25 June)
Luis Antonio Escobar: Flute Concerto

31 (26 June)
Tish Daija: Over the Highland Pastures

30 (27 June)
Sibelius: The Wood-Nymph

29 (28 June)
Noam Sheriff: Psalms of Jerusalem

28 (29 June)
JP Mohapeloa: Nonyana Senyamafi

27 (30 June)
Aleksandra Vrebalov: …hold me, neighbor, in this storm…

26 (1 July)
Agustin Barrios: La Catedral

25 (2 July)
Cardoso: Requiem

24 (3 July)
François Bayle: Morceaux de ceils

23 (4 July)
Isadore Freed: Invocation for organ

22 (5 July)
Dnu Huntrakul: Tung Saeng Tong

21 (6 July)
E Choidog: Friendship Overture

20 (7 July)
Moyzes: Symphony No. 1

19 (8 July)
Benjamin Yusupov: Cello Concerto

18 (9 July)
Brahms: Fourth Symphony

17 (10 July)
Hong Kong
Thomas Oboe Lee: Stabat Mater

16 (11 July)
Celso Garrido-Lecca: Cello Concerto

15 (12 July)
Skalkottas: 36 Greek Dances

14 (13 July)
Leo Brouwer: Estudios Sencillos

13 (14 July)
Ivo Josepovic: Ars Diaboli

12 (15 July)
Soe Tjen Marching: Angen

11 (16 July)
Tan Dun: Symphony 1997

10 (17 July)
Dupré: Prelude & Fugue in B major

9 (18 July)
Maurice Ohana: String Quartets

8 (19 July)
Rheinberger: Organ Concerto No. 1

7 (20 July)
Gabriel Jackson: Sanctum Est Verum Lumen

6 (21 July)
José Serebrier: Second Symphony

5 (22 July)
Arvo Pärt: Stabat Mater

4 (23 July)
Marc Eychenne: Cantilene et danse

3 (24 July)
Sao Tomé & Principe
José Vianna da Motta: Valsa caprichiosa

2 (25 July)
Eleanor Alberga: Dancing with the Shadow suite

1 (26 July)
Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony


ACL Young Composer Competition 2011 in Taiwan

Jessica Cho was selected as the Malaysian representative to attend the ACL Young Composer Competition held in Taiwan. She was awarded 3rd Prize Winner in the competition with her solo piano piece ‘Five Little Pieces for Piano’ written in 2010.





Interview on Online Magazine –

Small is beautiful – feature on young composer Jessica Cho
Cho is a young composer with a clear idea of where she wants her music to head, and in just a few years since graduating has honed her voice into a fascinating and original addition to the Malaysian new music tapestry.

In 2008 during the HSBC Young Composers Workshop 08 a delightful piece for flute and piano Rivulet, was selected for a read through during the final night open workshop at KLPac.
Staying under the radar, not much had since been heard from Kuala Lumpur-based young composer and pianist Jessica Cho, until she returned recently from her studies in the UK, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.
Jesssica has since written a number of works for small groups, a work for symphonic band and most recently music for the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra’s project to accompany the local epic film Merong Mahawangsa.
Having been inspired to compose after an encounter with the music of Adeline Wong, whom she then sought as her first composition teacher, Cho furthered her studies at the University of Sheffield where she obtained her Masters of Music.
Currently teaching music in KL, Cho has been selected to represent Malaysia at the Asian Composers League festival in Taiwan this December, and speaks of her journey of discovery that has led her to this exciting journey.
What made you start pursuing composition?
To be honest, I had no idea about composition when I first started. I took up composition lessons from Malaysian composer Adeline Wong because she was like the ‘star’ of our academy (Yamaha Academy) and as a fresh college student at the time, I wanted to explore more about music, especially anything that could help me to improve my piano playing.
Before I started my first lesson with Wong, I got a recording of her works, and I played it on the CD player in my car. Can you believe it? I actually listen to contemporary music in the car most of the time. And her music really amazed me.
Before that I didn’t really believe that Malaysians, especially a person whom I could be in contact with (such as Wong) could actually write music like that. Then slowly I started to explore more of such music and started to take lessons with Wong. And she shares lots of recordings of new music with me.
What was it about Wong’s music that attracted you, and which works of hers in particular?
I was attracted by her melodies, rhythms and the colours that she used in her orchestral works. Even in her chamber work Synclastic Illuminations, the energy and texture she used makes it sound as if a full orchestra is playing.
I like her Paces (for piano and electronics) and Snapshots (for cello solo and chamber orchestra) a lot. I like the way she used some really common elements in life and put them into music, and make them work so well in Paces. And also the dramatic tension in Snapshots, which always frightens me in certain parts.
What are the things you have learnt from Wong and in UK that are most important to your compositional approach now?
Structures and colours. I like to explore different sounds that one instrument can produce and experiment. So when I started writing chamber works, I started to look into the colours that I could get with different combinations of instruments. And structure, although contemporary music sounds weird a lot of the time, they are all still well structured. It’s like the back bone of a piece of music, really. During my final year in Sheffield, I learned a lot about detailed notations in music; even a single slur can affect the whole piece of music.
How would you describe your compositional style or aesthetic, when you first started out (for example in Rivulet for flute and piano of 2008) and how has it developed over time?
Rivulet actually is my second work which is revised from a flute solo piece that I first started while studying with Wong. It’s more atmospheric, I could say. Probably Debussy and Ravel’s music were more familiar to me at that time.
But slowly, during my Masters studies in Sheffield, I began to feel that I had started to gain my own voice in my music. I started to write my first piece (Sketches for Viola) without using a keyboard or any instrument to help me.

The notes are entirely from my head instead of my fingers (which in the past I would usually play on the piano to experiment). From then on, I practised a lot writing without the aid of instruments, just like what Schoenberg had done. And surprisingly the short little piece for viola which was recorded and posted on Facebook was spotted by conductor Kevin Field, and he invited me to send in scores for auditions to the MPO Forumplus.
During my final year in the UK, I performed a piano recital entirely based on contemporary repertoire and I explored a lot on smaller pieces like Kurtag’s Jatekok, Carl Vine’s 5 Bagatelles and Schoenberg’s Six Little Pieces for piano.
These are not really little, but actually condensed versions of a larger piece in concept, the details of the writing are amazing and even a single note means so much in the music. And that is what I’m looking for and trying to get in my music. That’s why I’m now writing more smaller pieces particularly for piano and am planning to compile them into a volume of small pieces for pianos.
Why determined your choice for your ACL competition submission, the 5 Little Pieces for piano?
The 5 Little Pieces is very much inspired by Kurtag and Schoenberg; they are small but not meant to be played by children. The reason that I chose it is because it’s a good representation of myself. I have small hands and mostly explore sets of smaller pieces like song cycles. And the advantage of these smaller pieces is that I can have so many different characters in a piece of work. It sounds a little bit greedy, but yeah.

And for this set, I actually started with the third piece, which is the central piece of the entire set. Because when I started to write this piece, I was thinking of exploring more on rhythms and melodies in my music. Then I started to play around on the piano like drumming, and then I got the idea for this piece.
And the last piece in the set is really to explore the harmony of the piano. I feel very satisfied with these pieces because I have achieved what I wanted in my music; the naughtiness, the craziness, the calmness, the details and the rhythm.
How do you feel representing Malaysia in Taiwan after our nation’s absence in the competition for over a decade?
I feel excited but nervous; it’s one of the largest festivals that I’ve ever participated in. Unlike the MPO Forum, this involves composers from other Asian countries. I used to deal with European composers and so I am used to the culture in the UK. I hope ACL will not be too harsh on me!
What do you think your role as a composer is in the context of Malaysian society?
To be honest I’m not an active composer. I write when I feel like it. But since I started to compose, I always think of what the composer might have thought of when they composed. Which is really helpful and has significantly changed my music appreciation and musicality.
And as a lecturer, teaching harmony (like what Schoenberg once did), I am trying to make harmony lessons more interesting so that the students can understand the usage of harmony in the musical context. And for my piano students, I always encourage them to think more, visualise and imagine when they attend to a new piece.
What are some of your future plans?
My future plan is to get some of my piano work published. They are not only for advanced players, but for beginners and amateur pianists as well. And in this case, I wouldn’t have the problem of losing my manuscript like how Bach did. Who knows, something which is not popular and well received now could be something big in the future?
And after the MPO Forum, I have been thinking of getting some Malaysian women composers’ works compiled into a CD and probably would like doing some biographical research on them. These are not only limited to contemporary classical composers, but it could also be Indian music composers for example. We have lots of talented female composers in Malaysia, but they are not well known.

MPO FORUMPLUS Reel-Time Composers


Reel-Time Composers
Sat 9 July 2011, 8.30pm

Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
Kevin Field conductor

The MPO Forumplus concert, a platform to promote the works of local composers, is scheduled on Saturday, 9 July 11 at 8.30 p.m. Themed Reel-Time Composers, the MPO will be led by Kevin Field who is also the Forum Director. Among the composers to be featured are Khairil Ridzwan, Jessica Cho and Jyotsna Prakash.

Forum (A)The Malay Chronicles – ‘scene 1’
CORIGLIANO: Three Hallucinations from Altered States
Forum (B) The Malay Chronicles – ‘scene 2’
HUPPERTZ: Metropolis
Forum (C)The Malay Chronicles – ‘scene 3’
NYMAN: Gattaca

Set against two modern movie scores and one from the heady inter-war years of spectacular German cinema, three Malaysian composers taking part in the MPO Forum will be invited to score one scene each from the brand new Malaysian movie, Merong Mahawangsa.

Ticket Price (RM): 35 for All Seats Buy Tickets
Ticket Status: Available

Dress Code: Long-sleeved batik or lounge suit

RMA Colloquium: Masterclass with Joanna MacGregor

Jessica’s second piano solo piece ‘ Five Little Pieces for Piano’ was selected to for part of the masterclass/workshop with Joanna MacGregor in Liverpool Hope University. The pieces was read through and discussed in the workshop.

‘Not an Ordinary Piano Recital’


The programme includes pieces by

French composer Olivier Messiaen – Prelude for piano ” La Colombe” and Fantaisie Burlesque

Hungarian composer György Kurtág – Selections from Játékok

German composer Arnold Schoenberg – Six Little Piano Pieces, Op.19

Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe – Night Pieces for piano

Carl Vine – Five Bagatelles for solo piano

Malaysian composer Jessica Cho – Landscape for piano