Jaco Wong (b.1992), a Hong Kong native, Los Angeles-based composer, conductor, tenor, and educator who is multicultural and passionate about philosophical and social inquiries, frequently collaborates with dancers, visual artists, poets, and musicians of all shapes and forms.
In 2016, Wong completed a yearlong collaboration with animator Evan Tedlock in creating Collective Reflections on Temporality, composed for HOCKET piano duo. Earlier that year, Wong’s notable commission by The Show Choir (HK) @ Red Vocal Academy, a popular tune arrangement, was performed by Lang Lang and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra at Hong Kong Coliseum. Other recent commissioners include Redwood Middle School choir directed by Maryloie Rivera Calaguas. Wong won the Allen Strange Memorial Composition Contest 2014 with The Whampoa Overture, which was premiered by San Jose Chamber Orchestra (SJCO) in June 2016, and later performed again at their 25th anniversary concert the following year. From 2013 to 2014, he was a member of the South Bay Composers’ Collective, a music theory tutor for the San Jose State University Music Department, as well as a new music research intern for SJCO, where he worked closely with the music director, Barbara Day Turner. Dao – the Formation of Art and Self was premiered by DUO EQUILIBRIUM guitar duo in 2013, the same year Wong made his choral composition debut with his setting of The Lord is My Shepherd, sung by SJSU Choraliers under Jeffery Benson’s direction. In 2014, Wong participated in Summer Study Abroad: Paris hosted by Eastman School of Music, where he also attended the IRCAM ManiFeste. Wong is currently composing a Christmas carol commissioned by NOVA Vocal Ensemble and another choral work in collaboration with poet Zak Tsang.
Wong is continuing his third-year tenure as the music director of Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church, where he recently led the chancel choir to produce a series of two Christmas concerts in 2016, titled “The Mysterious and the Luminous.” He is also the conductor of a newly formed chamber youth orchestra at LA-VOCE Music Academy and the former choral director of Esperanza Azteca Los Angeles, where he had the opportunity to prepare the youth chorus to perform with Placido Domingo in September 2016. For professional development, Wong participated in the International Conducting Workshop & Competition 2017 at Atlanta, Georgia, taught and adjudicated by Adrian Gnam, Gregory Pritchard, and Robert Gutter. In the summer of 2016, Wong was selected as one of eight conducting master class
participants to attend the Taipei International Choral Festival, where he conducted the Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Orchestra performing G.F. Handel’s Utrecht Te Dum. Taught by Stephen Coker, Hong Kong SingFest 2015 was another conducting master class Wong participated in. At a collaborative event between the USC Thornton School of Music and Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, “The Artist as Leader: Meet Bill T. Jones,” Wong had the privilege to conduct all of the student compositions for the performance and received praises by many faculty members. He has previously served as the assistant conductor at the USC Caruso Catholic Center and has guest conducted choirs at his alma mater, Monta Vista High School at Cupertino, California. Musically versatile, Wong sang with and later directed contemporary acapella group, PITCH PLEASE. The group competed at the semi-finals of International Championship Collegiate Acapella (ICCA) in 2013. Wong is looking forward to participating in SoundSCAPE new music festival and Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop, both in Italy this summer.
As an active choral singer, Wong is one of the founding members of LORE Vocal Ensemble, a professional male ensemble dedicated to telling stories of various cultures and peoples. Wong also enjoys performing Russian liturgical choral music with CAMERATA RUS, and was a former staff singer at Long Beach Camerata Singers and Santa Clarita Master Chorale. He was a chorus member of the USC Chamber Singers, SJSU Choraliers, and among other ensembles. Having sung with renowned conductors including Simon Carrington, Gabor Hollerung, Jeffrey Kahane, and Yip Wing-sie, performing J. Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with Hong Kong Sinfonietta under Helmuth Rilling’s baton in SingFest 2013 was certainly a highlight. Dedicated to vocal pedagogy as well, Wong has studied with Greg Enriquez, Guy Babusek, Lynn Helding, and other voice teachers, and became a certified instructor of Speech Level Singing (SLS) and Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA). Wong has coached vocally for HKFYG Hong Kong Melody Makers, Theatre Noir Foundation, and many private clients. He was previously invited to adjudicate the UCLA HKSS Internal Singing Contest 2016 and The Voice of De Anza 2014.
Wong holds a double Master’s degree in Choral Music and Composition from University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he was the recipient of the 2016 Music Honors Convocation Choral Music Department Award, Carolyn Alchin Endowed Music Scholarship 2015, and Morten Lauridsen Endowed Composition Scholarship 2014. Graduating with Cum Laude, Wong also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from San Jose State University, where he was a three-year recipient of the College of Humanities and the Arts Dean’s Scholar. His most influential instructors include Frank Ticheli, Donald Crockett, and Ted Hearne in composition, and Jo-Michael Scheibe, Cristian Grases, Nick Strimple, and Larry Livingston in conducting.
Résumé available upon request.