\very/ specifically vague was an observation describing the usage of Singlish in an r/Singapore discussion. In the work, I had the two protagonists (bass clarinet and marimba) “speak” in a roundabout, specifically-vague way similar to that in Singlish. Here’s a sample of Singlish’s very specifically-vagueness:


A: "Eh, lunch eat where ah?"

B: "Why not go to that place... the one behind the building..."

A: "Oh... The one next to the big tree, left hand side is alley one ah?"

B: "Think so lah. Opposite is the small park one correct?"

- Emily Koh


Emily Koh (b.1986) is a Boston-based Singaporean composer whose music is characterized by inventive timbral extremes. Described as ‘the future of composing’ (The Straits Times, Singapore), she is the recipient of awards such as the Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Prix D’Ete, and PARMA competitions, commissions from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble and grants from New Music USA, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy and Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence.

Emily’s works have been described as “beautifully eerie” (New York Times), and “subtley spicy” (Baltimore Sun), and have been performed at various venues around the world in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, Finland, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States by acclaimed ensembles and performers such as Talea Ensemble (USA), Ensemble Dal Niente (USA), New York New Music Ensemble (USA), Signal Ensemble (USA), Boston New Music Initiative (USA), New Thread Quartet (USA), Acoustic Uproar (USA), LUNAR Ensemble (USA), East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (USA/Europe), Avanti! (Finland), Israel Contemporary Players (Israel), Sentieri Selvaggi (Italy), the Next Mushroom Promotion (Japan), Chroma Ensemble (UK), The Philharmonic Orchestra (Singapore), Dingyi Music Company (Singapore) and Chamber Sounds (Singapore) among others.

Emily graduated from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, NUS and the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition and Theory at Brandeis University (degree expected May 2017). She currently teaches at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, and Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and has taught at MIT and Longy School of Music, Bard College. She is the co-Artistic Director of Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, and is a member of ASCAP, SCI and the Composers Society of Singapore.