Saunder Choi is an emerging Los Angeles-based Filipino composer who has written a wide variety of works, from contemporary classical instrumental, vocal and choral works to jazz charts and popular music arrangements. His works have been performed in various concert halls, including Merkin Hall at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in NY, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the world famous Teatro Colon opera house in Buenos Aires, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and in different international goodwill tours and concerts, such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers’ 2009 UNESCO Artists for Peace awarding ceremony, the 2010 Guido d’Arezzo Polifonico Choral Competition in Italy, the 2011 World Choral Symposium in Argentina, the 2012 World Choir Games in Ohio and the 2013 Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium.
As a composer, his works have also been performed, programmed, recorded and read by the USC Thornton Symphony, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Crossing Choir, the LA Master Chorale, USC Chamber Singers, Peninsula Women’s Chorus, Kalistos Chamber Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium Chorus. He has been commissioned by the L.A. Choral Lab, Andrea Veneracion International Choral Festival, Salt Lake Choral Artists, SYC Ensemble Singers of Singapore, Choral Arts Initiative, University of the East Chorale, University of Visayas Chorale, etc. As an arranger and orchestrator, Saunder has written Tony-Award winner Lea Salonga, the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Gerard Salonga, the Tim Janis American Christmas Carol Show at Carnegie Hall, Ballet Philippines, and the Hong Kong production of Pippin.
In 2014, he was awarded the 1st prize in the American Prize for Choral Composition (student division). He is also a finalist for the 2012 and 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. In 2007, his arrangement of Malinac Lay Labi was chosen as one of the 15 winning, published entries in Awiting Bayan para sa Korong Pilipino, a national Philippine folksong choral arranging competition sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and Arts in the Philippines. He was also one of the composers selected for the 1st Young Composers Initiative call for scores by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and received an honorable mention from the 2016-2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute. He was also one of the composition fellows at the 2016 Big Sky Choral Initiative.
He sang tenor and was one of the resident composers of the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers, joining them in several national and international goodwill tours, international music festivals and concerts. He also sang with the First Church in Boston Choir, the Boston Choral Ensemble and the USC Chamber Singers. As a conductor, he directed the Philippine Cultural College Annex Campus Youth Choir from 2006-2011, leading them to participate in local Philippine choral festivals and competitions. He also formed and directed the Tenuto Chamber Singers, a Berklee student-run chamber choir that focuses on premiering new music written by Berklee student composers. He is former tenor soloist and section leader at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church. He currently sings with the L.A. Choral Lab and founded Lore Vocal Ensemble. He also serves as the choir director at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood and teaching artist for Pacific Choral Academy.
Born in Manila, Philippines, he holds a Bachelor of Arts major in Communication Arts degree from the De La Salle University-Manila and a Bachelor of Music in Composition, minor in conducting from the Berklee College of Music. He completed his Master of Music in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, where his primary composition teachers were Ted Hearne and Donald Crockett. He also took orchestration classes with Stephen Hartke and Andrew Norman. In the past, he has studied composition with Andrew List, and Vuk Kulenovic, and had master classes with Chen Yi and Robert Kyr. He studied conducting with Larry Livingston, Isaiah Jackson and Francisco Noya. His works are published with Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Earthsongs. Select works are also distributed by MusicSpoke.