Albert Tay’s Composition: Choral SATB

Songs of Childhood: DaliBingBong

Conductor Terrence Toh called me up whilst I was in Penang on the 25 September 2022 to request for a work that was “like LonDali Bridge”, a surrealistic choral work unfettered by conventions. Choral theatre has always been an interest of mine so DaliBingBong was an opportunity to have fun, go wild and the work was more or less sketched and completed the following day.

Deus Omnipotens

Written for the 2021 Choral Composers Seminar Singapore, this ‘exorcism song’ was specially tailored for the 13-strong professional choral ensemble, the Renaissance Singers led by Maestro Toh Ban Sheng. I am also grateful to Prof. Eudenice Palaruan for his input and advice in the construction of this piece! This rare text was researched and chosen from supplications that may be used by the faithful in their struggle against the powers of darkness. Like its sister work, “Deus Omnipotens” employs extensively, the use of the “triple cross motif” and its various thematic transfigurations, Augenmusik (music for the eyes), madrigalism and numerology in its evocative expression and construction.

你是我的家 You Are My Home (SATB)

Commissioned by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education Filial Piety Teaching Resource Centre. Melody and arrangement by Albert TAY, text by 金曲獎Golden Melody Award winner, lyricist WANG Zhong Yan (王中言). Golden Melody Award winning producer 吳蒙惠 Vikung RULJADENG helped record and assisted with the production of the original music video. The SATB version is a gift to Natus Cantorum (Taiwan) and based on the original SA version.

八阵图 Eight Trigrams

Described by colleagues as a “Choral Opera”, the highly modernistic and dramatic 3-movement “Eight Trigrams” employs numerous theatrical and musical devices ranging from lighting, spatial distribution, movement, improvisation and even the breaking down of the fourth wall in a co-creation of music with the audience. The work is inspired by Peking opera, guqin music, the elemental symbolisms of the Eight Trigrams, Leong Yoon Pin’s “Invitation to Wine” and the poetry of renowned Tang Dynasty poet Dufu, which are in turn deconstructed and set to music. The Zen-inspired second movement is a flexible instrumentation piece and should a guqin be unavailable, a guzheng or piano can be used in its place. For highly accomplished choirs.

心经 Heart Sutra

Written as a gift for Pop and Jazz Choir YAZERS, this work was written at their request for a choral or a cappella work that is inspired by Japanese monk Kanho YUKUSHIJI’s Heart Sutra. It turned out to be (and still remains) one of the most difficult assignments I’ve received – the Heart Sutra text was such a dense work of literature that despite months of extensive research, re-reading and study, it remains a mystery to me. Yukushiji’s fantastic composition was minimalism at its finest and made it (near) impossible to add or subtract anything to it. Perhaps this work is more accurately described as a “transcription plus” rather than an arrangement or composition, but it remains one of my most intellectually stimulating exercise to date.


One of the things I teach in choirs get to experience in their 4 years of choral training, is a chance to compose and create new music material via improvisation exercises. After providing them with some tools, the various groups were each given 30 minutes to come up with a new song/arrangement. From this little composition exercise came preliminary ideas for H.A.P.P.Y. I was quite amused by some of the ideas and texts they came up with and decided to further develop these, making multiple changes and rearrangements to make it work on the concert stage.
H.A.P.P.Y is a gift to the choir girls for being an inspiration to work with, a tribute to the joyful sessions we have and a token of thanks to the school for having faith and hiring this young musician when he was taking his baby steps in conducting.

安平追想曲 (Extended+Light Version)

Written for Professor Julian SU (蘇慶俊博士)The original version for piano and choir was premiered on 13 July 2017, 台南文化中心演藝廳 by the Taiwan Youth Festival Choir conducted by guest conductor Albert Tay.

This extended version was written at the request of Professor Julian SU (Taiwan) for a version with saxophone and premiered by the combined choirs of of Formosa Singers and Schola Cantorum Singapore Ltd. on 15 August 2017.

Majulah Singapura (National Anthem Arrangement)

Written at the request of Mr Shaun Teo who at the time, was a member of Schola Cantorum Singapore and was serving as a staff of the National Arts Council (NAC), this arrangement was premiered the NAC team for the Public Service Week Observance Ceremony on 22 October 2015.

The work is economical, minimalistic, with a simplicity that is meant for amateur singers. Although most renditions of Singapore’s national anthem tend to be grand and majestic, this unusually intimate arrangement is done with profound respect and set in a way to encourage one to reflect on the beautiful text – a poignant reminder for all of us in the year that has seen the passing of Singapore’s founding father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

I hope this arrangement will be a poignant reminder and an encouragement to all Singaporeans to work as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion.

Onward Singapore!

Laudate Dominum (SATB)

Taken from Psalm 116 (117), the ecstatic, euphoric joy in this piece is inspired by the coming of my first child. Laudate Dominum was featured at the 2015 Europa Cantat and has since been performed by numerous award-winning choirs from around the world in various festivals or competitions.

This latest revision and SATB arrangement is specially made for 天生歌手 Natus Cantorum (Taiwan) for the 2015 inaugural Asian Cities Choral Exchange and was premiered by on 24 December 2015 at 大東文化藝術中心演藝廳.
It is possible to add percussion instruments such as djembe, finger cymbals and/or piano improvisation to this piece if a fuller sound is desired. Written at a time when I was studying with Leong Yoon Pin, the work is informed by organum, Bach-ian counterpoint, Indian ragas and a dash of Guns & Roses! Laudate Dominum is available in SATB, SSA and SAB.

Songs of Childhood: LonDali Bridge

Updates coming soon.

Mi You Lan 覓幽蘭 (arrangement) SA(T)B

Arranged for pop and jazz youth choir Yazers.


With the passing of Lee Kuan Yew on the 23 March 2015, we lost one of Singapore’s greatest. “Elegy” was sparked by this event and completed on the same day.

Adapted from the text of stoic philosopher Epictetus (c.a. 55- c.a.135), the music alludes to references ranging from Gustav Holst’s Jupiter, Sir Cecil Spring Rice’s ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ to Gregorian chant (Dies Irae). Numerology also influenced the composition of this work.

Longing 相思

“A lone poet in Tang Dynasty robes sits calmly in a bamboo forest, composing the first two lines of the poetry as a light veil of rain starts to fall around him. He starts playing the 古琴 (guqin :an ancient zither) restlessly in a bid to find peace and inspiration to finish his work. As his thoughts begin to wander to his loved one faraway, the music starts to get more agitated – eventually as the rain comes to a stop, so too does his quiet ruminations come to an end as he completes the poem.”

This work was premiered by the choir Evokx under the direction of Terrence Toh on 27 October 2013 @ SOTA Concert Hall.

Xiao Bai Cai 小白菜 (Little Cabbage)

Updates coming soon.

Missa Brevis

Updates coming soon.

Dona Nobis Pacem (Extended Double Choir Work)

Based on the original accompanied mixed-choir version written for love of Kecskemét and the Kodály Intézet, this extended a cappella version was written at the request of Professor Péter Erdei for the New Liszt Ferenc Chamber Choir for premiere in November 2012, Beijing, China.

Spatial distribution was considered in the conception of this work hence Choir 1 and 2 should be sufficiently apart to make a sonic distinction (e.g. Choir 1 mostly on stage, Choir 2 behind/around the audience).

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) for solo instrument/voice, mixed choir and piano.

The inspiration for this work came from studying at the Kodály Institute and living in the beautiful Hungarian city of Kecskemét. Here, the skies are so clear that we could see high altitude planes painting straight lines against the blue canvass. The characteristic city hall has a fabulous set of bells that plays folk melodies and tunes by well-known composers at regular intervals.

The solo was conceived in honour of my French housemate who is an amateur clarinetist and can be substituted with a soprano voice or other treble instruments. The final 6 bars of the piano part are a tribute to the city hall bells of Kecskemét. The work is dedicated to Dr. László Nemes and the staff & students of the Kecskemét Kodály Intézet.

Prayer for Peace

“Prayer for Peace” is a special parting gift written for mentor Jennifer Tham, manager Albert Yeo and the many friends and fellow singers of the SYC Ensemble Singers as I leave Singapore for further studies at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music in fall, 2011.

Just as SYC seem to bring rain every time we sing Alberto Grau’s “Hermana Illuvia”, it is hoped that we will bring peace everywhere, every time we sing this work. Prayer for Peace was premiered by the SYC Ensemble Singers under the direction of Jennifer Tham on 30 August 2014 at SOTA Concert Hall (Singapore).

Laudate Dominum (SAB)

Updates coming soon.

Ave Maria

Updates coming soon.

Happy Birthday (Arrangement)

Updates coming soon.

Sing Singapore Medley

Updates coming soon.