Choy Siew Woon
Choy Siew Woon is a Singaporean choral director, music educator and vocalist.
Siew Woon was conferred Singapore’s prestigious National Arts Council Arts Scholarship (Postgraduate) in 2020, a full scholarship in support of her Master of Music (Conducting) programme at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM), National University of Singapore, under the tutelage of Jason Lai (UK/Hong Kong). At YSTCM, she was actively involved in premieres of the new music of young local composers. Concurrently, she was also pursuing the Master of Music Education (Choral Emphasis) programme at the Westminster Choir College (USA), under the Trailblazer Foundation Study Grant. There, she specializes in Choral Conducting as well as the application of Critical Pedagogy in choral music education, under the tutelage of Dr. James Jordan (USA) and Dr. Jason Vodicka (USA) respectively.
In 2010, she received the Kodály Certificate in Music Education from the Kodály Institute of the Lizst Ferenc Academy of Music (Kecskemét, Hungary; in conjunction with the Young Musicians’ Society, Singapore). She attended all editions of Kodály Seminar Asia from 2009 to 2016, where she trained in choral pedagogy, musicianship and conducting. In 2017, Siew Woon was selected to conduct in the International Masterclass for Choral Conductors at the 15th International Chamber Choir Competition (Marktoberdorf), as well as at the 11 th World Symposium on Choral Music (Barcelona). In 2019, Siew Woon received a Conducting Fellowship with the Yale School of Music’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (USA), where she conducted the Norfolk Festival Orchestra and Choir. Thus far, she has studied choral conducting under Simon Carrington (UK), María Guinand (Venezuela), Simon Halsey (UK), Volker Hempfling (Germany), James Jordan (USA), László Nemes (Hungary) and Jennifer Tham (Singapore).
With these varied learning experiences, she enjoys exploring how choirs can create new corners with instrumentalists and artists in the landscape. Her interests as a conductor now encompasses chant, soundscaping, Laban movement application and choral music education through Critical Pedagogy. In her work, she aims to integrate her knowledge in both choral and orchestral conducting to foster meaningful and thought-provoking approaches in music-making. In 2021, Siew Woon formed The Chorallective, a project-based group of singers and musicians focusing integrating chamber choral music with inter-disciplinary collaborations in the local arts scene.
Having grown up in school choirs, she is now also the conductor of several school choirs in Singapore, and has led her choirs to accolades at international choral competitions in Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Singapore. Most recently, she led the Temasek Junior College Choir to the Grand Prix Finals at the 2018 Belt & Road World Choir Festival (Hong Kong), where the choir emerged as Category Champion in the Mixed Youth category. Locally, she has a has led her choirs to several Distinction awards at the biennial Singapore Youth Festival. She currently directs the choirs at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary), River Valley High School (both High School and Senior High choirs), St. Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School, Temasek Junior College (both Integrated Programme and Junior College choirs), and Temasek Polytechnic. Her choral programme explores a diverse range of choral music genres, commissioning new music and collaborating with arts groups both within and outside of the school setting. She is thankful for the privilege of guiding her students through their musical and personal journeys, and hopes that they, too, will find their time in choir joyous, fulfilling and thought-provoking.
As a chorister, Siew Woon was invited to represent Singapore at the inaugural season of the Asia Pacific Youth Choir (APYC, Macau, 2011), and subsequently in 2014, at the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music (Seoul), where she learnt under the guidance of Chifuru Matsubara (Japan), Jonathan Velasco (The Philippines) and Saeko Hasegawa (Japan). In both seasons, she was selected to be the soprano soloist. She also sang with the SYC Ensemble Singers (formerly known as the Singapore Youth Choir), where she served as Assistant Conductor from 2009 – 2018, working largely on performing and promoting the music of living composers, as well as chamber choral works. During her time in the SYC, Siew Woon was featured prominently on a number of soprano solo parts, largely of new music and chamber choral works.
As a classical soprano, Siew Woon has collaborated with local arts organisations like The Esplanade, the Young Musicians’ Society, as well as the Magnetic Band (an ensemble of musicians dedicated to new chamber works). She has also collaborated with local composers Americ Goh, Diana Soh, and Hoh Chung Shih, as well as pianist Wong Yun Qi, in a number of improvised performances, including Georges Aperghis’ 14 Récitations (2010), as well as Edward Greig and Johan Halvorsen’s transcriptions of Norwegian folksongs and dances for voice, fiddle and piano (2015). Most recently, Siew Woon performed at The Esplanade’s A Tapestry of Sacred Music 2021, where she sang in a specially curated program of Bach chorales and their fragments hidden within Bach’s Partita in D minor (BWV 1004), in collaboration with a vocal quartet and solo violin.
The Cor Novum Choir
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary) Choir
River Valley High School Choirs (Secondary & JC)
St. Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School Choir
Temasek Junior College Choirs (IP & JC)
Temasek Polytechnic Chorale