Seung-Ah Oh

Seung-Ah Oh

Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: US & Canada

Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Praised as “OH, a name to remember” in the Volkskrant (September 2005), Seung-Ah Oh, a native of Korea, is the winner of the Toonzetters prijs for the best contemporary music in the Netherlands (2010),  the prestigious creative arts residency at the Bellagio Center by the Rockefeller Foundation (US. 2010),  the Barlow endowment for music composition, (US. 2008), the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (US. 2007),  the third prize of the Lutoslawski Award (Poland, 2007), and  both the first prize and the audience prize of the 3rd Seoul International Competition for Composers (Korea, 2005).

Her music has been described as “…exciting… in which you can experience a great variety of timbre and organic development," “refined… sharply cut” (Volkskrant, NL), and marked by "Asian sensitivity and meditation” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

She has received scholarships, fellowships, and grants, including a residency at the MacDowell Colony (2003, 2008), Tanglewood Music Center (2006), Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (2004), Wellesley Composer’s Conference (2003), Norfolk Music Festival (2002), the Schumann-Ford scholarship (2001), the Munzer fellowship (Brandeis University 1998-2001), the Kim Young-Hee scholarship (Ewha Woman’s University), and commissions from the Fonds voor de Scheppende Podiumkunst (2008-2010), the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst (2004-2007), the Amsterdam Fonds (2003), and various invitations from festivals such as Bang On A Can Festival (2010), Music of Our Age Contemporary Music Festival (2007) (Hungary), Gaudeamus International Music Week (2003, 2005, 2006) (Netherlands), Alicante Contemporary Music Festival (2006) (Spain), Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival (2002) (Norway), Nederlandse Muziek Dagen (2001) (Netherlands), Aspen Music Festival (2001) (USA), and Tanglewood Music Festival (2006) (USA). Her music was heard through VPRO (Dutch National Television & Radio), Radio 4, Concertzender in the Netherlands, and NHK FM in Japan.

Ms. Oh’s music has been performed in Europe, North America, and Central and East Asia, including Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Uzbekistan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, and the United States. Her music was performed by  Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea (CMEK), Ensemble TIMF (TongYoung International Music Festival Ensemble), Nederlands Vocaal Laboratorium, Doelen Ensemble, Ensemble Chronophonie, the Atlas ensemble, Percussion Group The Hague, the Nieuw Ensemble, Orkest de Volharding, Flexible Music, ensemble KLANG, Empyrean Ensemble, ICE ensemble, and New York New Music Ensemble, among others.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship, Ms. Oh will devote her time to several commissions, including a quintet for Brisk recorder quartet and percussion (NL); a trio for voice, piano, and percussion written for Tony Arnold, Thomas Rosenkranz, and Aiyun Huang; a quintet for electric-recorder, flute, trumpet, piano, and female voice inspired by the quarry photos by Edward Burtinsky, for the Hexnut ensemble (NL); a solo guitar piece for Dan Lippel (US), a solo piano piece for Thomas Rosenkransz, Nicholas Phillips (US), and Maarten van Veen (NL); a sextet for flute, violin, tenor sax, piano, percussion, and female voice for Wet Ink Ensemble (US); a trio for viola, clarinet, and percussion for Dinosaur Annex (US); a concerto for double string quintet and chamber orchestra for the CME at Oberlin (US);  a quintet for violin, oboe, electric guitar, horn, and percussion for ICE (US); and a trombone concerto for Berk Schneider and the National Symphony of Ecuador.

In October 2010, Seung-Ah Oh was invited to be one of the leaders of the international workshop Omnibus Laboratorium at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Omnibus ensemble is the only ensemble that brings New Music to central Asia, and its annual international meeting brings together young composers from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. Ms. Oh gave public lectures on her music and a short talk on non-western sound and concept in contemporary music, and met young composers for private lessons.

She studied at ChuGae Art School (undergraduate study), Ewha Woman’s University (BA, MM), University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (doctoral study), Brandeis University (M.A., Ph.D.), and The Royal Conservatory of the Hague (MM). She has previously taught at Brandeis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Florida at Gainesville, and Oberlin Conservatory of Music.


Profile photograph by Co Broerse.

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