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Shao Ying LOW
  • Female
  • Singapore
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  • H. S. Teoh
  • Michael Lofting
  • J Joe Townley
  • Gav Brown
  • Tyler Hughes

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Profile Information

What have you composed for? Or what medium do you work around?
Film, Orchestra, Small Ensemble, Songs, Other
What is your favorite genre or style of music?
A few: Classical, Pop, New Age, Film Music, Blues and soft Jazz.
Is music your main income source?
Where do you live?
About Me (Must include at least one paragraph of biographical information about you as a composer) - blank or minimal answers on this line will cause your request to be rejected. Include a link to your website if you have one.
I'm a professional classical pianist, as well as a composer and songwriter from Singapore. I'm a full-time piano accompanist at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Music, and in my free time, I love to compose. I have written pop songs for the mandarin pop market, as well as instrumentals, ranging from classical to New Age to film music styles. A number of my works have been performed worldwide, and also won awards at online competitions such as Broadjam. More information about me can be found at my joint-personal website with my twin sister, Shao Suan, who is also a classical pianist and composer like me.

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At 12:59am on August 31, 2015, J Joe Townley said…

Shao, so sorry for my extremely late reply to your offer about the pianist in Singapore. Can't recall if I told you about my eye and lower respiratory woes upon arriving back in the States from Europe but I wouldn't be able to get to Singapore under any circumstances, let alone being treated long term for a serious eye condition so I'm afraid I'll have to decline your generous offer about arranging for your friend to learn the work. Thanks, though, most sincerely for your generous offer. J Joe

At 10:27am on March 31, 2015, J Joe Townley said…

>>>>>>During interval, I heard an audience comment "what a horrible piece".

This is what I find so dis"concerting" about music these days. There are two types of audience members; they could be referred to as the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The former run the classical music industry; they are composed of a small group of powerful composers, music foundations, and sundry organizations whose sole purpose is to obliterate any form of Romantic and Classical traditional music in the 21st century other than the established literature from those eras. They commission works from only established composers who write in the ultra modern idiom and guarantee them a splashy premiere, which is great for the composer.

The only problem is the composition is never heard again. It disappears from the music scene. And the audiences, depending on the type, B or P, react accordingly. The B's applaud enthusiastically for the cameras in order to try and make it seem they loved it, hence modern music is very appreciated, while the P's hold their nose and exclaim, "What a piece of trash".

The question is how can classical music survive this way. Everything being written that is radically atonal will be forgotten and 99% of the concert programs will always be playing the same 100-150 or so standard works that have made it to the status of immortality. But as concerts gets more and more expensive to put on, the only pieces that will be performed are small works for 2-3 players. Eventually, even the classics will be performed only by major orchestras and community ensembles who play for free for the love of it.

I've approached a few semi-professional orchestras like the Santa Fe Symphony to premiere my concerto. The usual  response is, "Sure we can do it but not in a subscription concert and only for a fee of 100K. We can make a very nice recording of it and you have to provide the pianist." Which leads me to your very generous offer to show it around to a few of your colleagues in Singapore. I'm most grateful for your generosity and I hope something comes of it. But music politics, being what they are, it would almost take a miracle to get someone to seriously agree to do it. The costs would be astronomical. The pianist's fee alone would run maybe 10K-20K, not to mention the orchestra's.

So, in sum I see classical music like the planet's oil reserves--in a steady decline, perhaps depleting itself in 50-100 years as atonalism dies out and it  gets too expensive to perform the larger orchestral things. Tickets here are already at $50 for the cheapest seats at the Disney Hall. The average concertgoer cannot afford those kinds of prices.

Last thought: perhaps if you made the "By the Fireside" the slow movement of a string quartet that might help boost its visibility. After all, it was Borodin's Nocturne from his 2nd String Quartet that put it in the standard literature. This might do the same for you.

Good luck, Shao. I hope we get a chance to "talk" again.

J Joe Townley

At 2:56am on March 30, 2015, J Joe Townley said…

Thank you for your very kind and informative feedback, Shao. Let's keep in touch because I have some thoughts on the state of classical music today that I'd like to run past you to get your opinions. I'd do it now but it is 1AM and I'm ready to drop off (not off the face of the planet, just to sleep). I'll write in the next two days or so. Anxious to hear what you think about my analysis of the situation with atonalism.

Cheers till next time,

J Joe

At 11:13pm on March 22, 2015, J Joe Townley said…


Thank you for your very kind comments on my Piano Concerto. I would also like to say I rarely hear something as lovely as your "By the Fireside" for string quartet. You are indeed a composer who writes from the heart as do I. I find it extremely difficult to listen to radical modern music such as the things written by, for example Ashey Fu-Tsun Wang. This is not to put Ms. Wang herself down but just to categorize the type of music she writes. For me, melody is everything and you seem to have a gift for simple, gentle melody all too lacking in today's serious music. I think the classical music media has almost made it a "sin" to write a melody that can be remembered or hummed once one walks out of the concert hall. This trait brands a composer as "silly and sentimental" and composers who want to be taken serious thus avoid at all costs having such labels attached to their creations. I applaud you for being among the few fearless who write tonally and are not afraid to incur the ire, or dare I say, "wrath" of the classical music establishment. I get wordy and verbose at times, but this is an issue close to my heart, as I find it extremely difficult to have serious musicians even listen, much less consider performing my two concertos.


Anyway, I have studied your CV and you are without doubt a "pro" in the music field so I think you are finding your place in the professional world of music. I puzzle why you don't put your quartet version of the Fireside on YouTube. I did see another By the Fireside but it was for flute and piano and not the same tune in yours. It looked to be written by your sister possibly, who also is very talented. I think you two should be capitalizing on your sibling status by posting videos of the both of you playing piano duos of some of the famous works by Rachmaninoff, for example. YouTube, sadly is just a shell of itself far as classical music goes. At one time a new composer could make a name for him/herself by posting on YouTube. Not anymore---it's just too vast.


Again, I love your music and if I can ever be of service please don't hesitate to call. Welcome to Composers Forum.


J Joe Townley

At 11:45am on March 18, 2015, Tyler Hughes said…

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