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Meet composer
Johnny Yang

In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Johnny Yang.

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

I am a multi-instrumentalist freelance composer & sound designer, currently studying a Bachelor of Music (Composition for Creative Industries) at the Sydney Conservatorium. I work alongside other creatives in the theatre industry as a sound designer and am aspiring to be a multi-media composer, particularly in game, theatre, and art music.

My passion lies in writing music to a narrative and being a puzzle piece to the bigger picture, bringing out the emotions of the story and touching the heartstrings of the audience for a fully immersive experience.

Though I started piano at a young age, my time at Macleans College in Auckland was rich with music culture and experience. With mentorship support, having the opportunity to learn all kinds of instruments and play in all sorts of ensembles helped me gain a holistic view of orchestration & arrangement. I am forever grateful for the inspiration and passion my school and teachers gave me to pursue this career.

My music tends to be abundant in texture, harmonically aesthetic, eclectic, and wide in range. Most recently I've had the opportunity to sound design for Slanted Theatre's Chain Play for Sydney Fringe Festival, back-to-back shows by Akimbo & Co. for the new Australian play Tongue Tied, and The Wasp, as well as assisting in New Ghost Theatre Company's For the Grace of You Go I and Albion which won several awards from Sydney Theatre Awards 2022.

University constantly provides collaboration opportunities with chamber ensembles and concert assistance. I continue developing my piano, viola, and harp, conducting practices on the side, and spending spare time on hobbies including kyudo Japanese archery, baking, and gaming.

Please choose 2-3 of your works/albums and tell us about them.

Art music inspires me to use compositional exercises to create interesting sounding pieces, such as this piece, Beyond 'Further Away', which was an exercise on quartal/quintal harmony & repetition, which I extended into exploring the interactions between a piano and harp.

Game music interests me in that the music can interact with the players' choices and gameplay. SpiScape does this through the layering of instruments as the player progresses through the game and gains upgrades:

Désir Ardent was a first-year project at USYD (2021) in collaboration with multi-media. I connected with instrumentalists, contemporary dancers, and a videographer to create the following dance concept video amidst covid restrictions:

Embed Video

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently, I'm working on The Life Cycle of Blanco, a new Australian play showing in Riverside Parramatta Theatre, Sydney in early March. Cherry Smoke, showing in the new KXT theatre at Broadway, Sydney in late March, and a short film by Simon Shin in Auckland.

With university starting up again, I'll also have the chance to work on more art music pieces with live musicians and will stay on the lookout for more opportunities both in Australia and New Zealand!

Where can people connect with you?