Jay Ong


Photo by Carisa Davis

Jay Ong (b. 1995, Singapore), is a freelance composer and arranger, predominantly writing for wind ensembles and chamber groups. He will be entering the Berklee College of Music in August 2016 and is the resident composer for the quartet.

His arrangements have been performed by numerous music groups and schools in Singapore, including the Philharmonic Winds, Philharmonic Youth Winds, Philsax, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Hwa Chong Institution.

He currently performs with and arranges for the Philharmonic Winds (Singapore) and his most recent projects include arranging for their latest Pops Concert (The Philharmonic Winds goes Pop!) and for ‘Songs Our Parents Love 2’ by the Philharmonic Youth Winds.

He first picked up the saxophone in the Hwa Chong Institution Military Band and had the privilege of exploring the saxophone further in programmes such as the Music Talent Development Centre (2010), an educational programme by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the International Music Camp (2011), a music camp held in North Dakota, USA, sponsored by the MOE. His interest in composition was subsequently ignited when he embarked on Music as a H2 subject at the GCSE ‘A’ Level examinations. He went on to attain Top in Cohort for Music in Hwa Chong Institution (2013) and an A grade for his ‘A’ Level H2 Music studies.

A strong believer in community involvement, he has been invited to collaborate with the National Arts Council (NAC) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to pilot their Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) busking scheme with his group, Saxobeats, bringing music to the MRT platforms. Other engagements with Saxobeats include performances at various old folks homes (e.g. Kheng Chiu Loke Tin Kee Home, Adventist Home for the Elders).

His interest in music beyond the classical tradition has led him to perform regularly with the Instigator Afrobeat Orchestra, a local Afrobeat band, at venues such as Artistry and Barbershop @ Timbre. He has also explored the reggae genre, having recently performed with Masia One and the Irietones, opening for The Wailers at Sun Splash 2015.

His passion for the jazz genre has led him to participate in the Mosaic Jazz Fellows Programme organized by the Esplanade, where he is currently mentored in the jazz tradition by his mentors Andrew Lim, Chok Kerong, Joshua Wan and Tony Makarome. As part of the programme, he explores the intricacies of the bebop language, blues, jazz theory, performance and human expression, all of which inform his compositional style.

His interest in interdisciplinary performance has also led him to  The Rooftop Collective, an Arts Collective based in Singapore supported by NAC’s Matchbox Grant. As part of the collective, he is writing incidental music for their first performance, ‘A Day in the Life Of ________’.

He is now working on a solo saxophone work dedicated to Michellina Chan and a saxophone quartet composition inspired by the poetry of William Blake.⁠⁠⁠⁠