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  4. Tonia Ko: cultivating a personal interdisciplinary practice




Tonia Ko: cultivating a personal interdisciplinary practice




This event will take place virtually via Zoom. Please note all attendees will need a Zoom account to access the webinar. A free account can be set up when registering for the event.


Composer Tonia Ko has collaborated with leading soloists and ensembles across a variety of media—from acoustic concert pieces to improvisations and site-specific installations. Recipient of numerous accolades including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Ko’s music has been lauded by The New York Times for its “captivating” details and “vivid orchestral palette,” and performed at venues such as Walt Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and the Tanglewood Music Center and Royaumont Festival. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Hawaii, Ko holds a DMA from Cornell University and was appointed Lecturer in Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2020.


Composers now work with an expanded definition of what could be made “musical.” Through the plethora interdisciplinary works being made today, audiences can experience musicality through sound, sight, as well as touch. In the attempt to follow these sensory instincts in a holistic way, creators increasingly mediate between the identities of composer, sound artist, and visual artist. Rather than focusing on multi-media, an act of addition and juxtaposition, this presentation will explore my approach to inter-media— augmenting the possibilities of one particular medium.

Breath, Contained is my ongoing project using bubble wrap as a canvas for both art and sound. This project has been guided by several conceptual questions: How can we bring out the instability seemingly flat and inert surfaces? What are the sonic images of these surface imperfections? How closely does our sense of touch align with our visual and aural instincts? And most importantly, how can these relationships be shared effectively?

Previous research on the organology of two other unusual instruments—the celesta and balloon—further contextualises this journey of finding a creative practice that is intellectually rigorous and personally meaningful. These findings have had a profound influence on recent works for traditional instruments and bring up important issues concerning compositional technique in concert music.

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When and where

5.30pm - 7.30pmWednesday 28th October 2020

Contact Details

City Events Team

+44 (0)20 7040 8037

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