We had the good fortune of connecting with Benedict Koh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Benedict, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I didn’t really get into music until I was around 12, and funnily enough it started because of a “mistake” my dad made. I was picking up an extra circular activity that my middle school required all of us to do and I decided to join the school’s after school music program for beginners. I initially wanted to do a percussion but my dad had mixed up a double bass with a percussion instrument and I ended up getting signed up for that. Funny enough, it was through playing double bass and eventually playing in the school orchestra that got me into music. I became curious to know how composers create the soundscapes they write and the orchestration; and the more I got into it, it eventually clicked with me that I wanted to write music.

I started off with a very classical background but once I enrolled in Berklee, I was exposed to a wide array of musical cultures and sounds. Jazz and fusion has made a big impact on how I write and I’m now writing and arranging for a wide array of genres and ensembles ranging from big band to chamber groups.

It’s definitely not the traditional route that most people would take. Coming from Asia, such a career path was seen as unconventional and risky. Thus, I really appreciate my parents for letting me pursue my dreams and supporting me on this journey. Being the only musician in the family, I am very blessed to have such a strong support system.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s ok to have setbacks and failures. Sometimes things don’t work out they way they are supposed to. Whether it be running a show or a composition. I used to be very upset about all of it but failures aren’t always the end. Sometimes when writing a piece of music, maybe something doesn’t work out, the harmony feels odd, there is something lacking and so on and so forth. But I always remind myself that there really isn’t a “right” way of composing. Composition itself is a very experimental thing to do and we’re always trying new things out. Never let something that doesn’t work out define who you are.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Now that I’m currently living in Boston, I would for sure recommend checking out a lot of good places. I know I’ve heard people complain about the food choices in Boston and that its lacking (which is kinda true) but there are many hidden gems here for food. I’ll definitely take a trip to Chinatown for breakfast to get some good dim sum (I highly recommend Windsor Dim Sum house). I would also visit Little Saigon in Dorchester to get some amazing Vietnamese food for lunch.

Boston is also known for its museums so visiting the Museum of Fine Arts is definitely worth the visit. And if you’re feeling adventurous, take a hike at Blue Hills Reservation (which isn’t that far from downtown). You’ll get amazing views of the city from there.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s way too many people that has helped me throughout my musical journey. Firstly, I want to thank all my professors and teachers throughout my education from high school till college for the support and guidance they have given me. The work they have done to impart their knowledge and the care they have for their students really made a big impact on me and have always inspired me to keep on going,

Secondly, I want to thank these musicians who have really been with me and given me opportunities to work and collaborate with: Andrea Cui, Desiree Tay, Jonas Cho, Ryota Sasaki, Jin Lee, Jason Ryu, Hanley Chan, Julia Jahng, Hazel Ho, Dava Guitizia, Kristian Witanto and Yueyang Chen. While I have worked with many great people, they have been there for me through thick and thin and have helped me so much in my musical journey. I would not be able to achieve any of it without them.

Lastly, I would like to thank my parents for the strong support system they have provided for me to help me get to where I am today. Without them, I don’t think I would be able to achieve my dreams.

Website: https://linktr.ee/101benvolio101

Instagram: 101benvolio101

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvbSrJ4UnGU9OnzxPu0zeKQ

Other: Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/101benvolio101

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