Dr. Zechariah Goh Toh Chai

Dr. Zechariah Goh Toh Chai

Head of Composition / Senior Lecturer Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)


Dr Zechariah Goh Toh Chai graduated from NAFA in 1989 with a Diploma in Music. He began his piano lessons with Ong Lip Tat, harmony with Phoon Yew Tien and counterpoint with Leong Yoon Pin while pursuing his Diploma at NAFA. In 1999, he received the David and Gunda Hiebert Scholarship to pursue his Master of Piano from University of Kansas.

Subsequently, he pursued his Doctorate degree majoring in Composition and at the same time, studied Orchestration and Arrangement for Band. Zechariah was awarded the prestigious Anthony Cius Prize for outstanding student composer from the University of Kansas in 2001 and 2002.

Currently Head of Composition of the Department of Music at NAFA, Zechariah has carefully fused South East Asian-Chinese with Western traditions in his works ranging from choir, symphonic band, wind ensemble, chamber music to large scale orchestral works.

As a composer, he is frequently commissioned to compose music for symphonic bands and choirs. Since the 1990s, his choral works have been premiered in Singapore as well as winning many international competitions in Austria, Brazil, Germany, Greece, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and USA. Zechariah has also been commissioned by SYC Ensemble Singers, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, The Philharmonic Winds, The West winds, University of Kansas Wind Ensemble and National Arts Council of Singapore, just to name a few.

Zechariah is also an active speaker at international music conferences. He was invited to judge international choral and band competitions such as the Voyage of Songs, and Taiwan Band Director’s Association Band Competition. For his outstanding achievements in the field of music, Zechariah was conferred the prestigious Young Artist Award (Music) in 2003 by the National Arts Council, Singapore and the Artistic Excellence Award in 2013 by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore.