About Sarana Chou

Sarana Chou's music is known for its distinct expressiveness and intense musical language. The New York Times described Sarana’s music as “modern and thorny”; The Birmingham News praised her as “a composer with a convincing point of view and the facility to get her ideas across.” As the first prize winner (Leo Kaplan Award) at the 2002 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, Sarana Chou has been awarded numerous composition prizes. Her Toccata for Trombone and Piano recently won third place in the 2016 Wright Stat University Trombone Festival Composition Contest. She was named 2012 winner of Alabama Music Teachers Association State Commission Award, and 2nd International Call for Duet at Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China. She was also winner of the Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize from International Alliance for Women in Music, and the USA Florida Chapter of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) competition. 


Sarana Chou’s music has been widely performed, most notably at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City, Taiwan National Theater in Taipei, and Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Germany; Her music has also been featured in music festivals such as The Banff Summer Arts Festival in Canada, New Music Miami Festival, June In Buffalo Festival, Taiwanese-American Heritage Festival in La Jolla, CA. She has worked with such artists as Boston Brass, Pacifica Quartet,  flutist Demarre McGill of MET Orchestra, pianist Jenny Lin, and ProArt Bassoon Quartet. Her concerto for piano and orchestra Spotlight On was performed in the Composer’s Forum of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Robert Franz. She has collaborated with librettist Hyejung Kook on a chamber opera “Flight”. The project was sponsored by Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation.


Sarana Chou has been invited as composer-in-residence at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, where she presented a concert of her music, and gave lecture on music and creativity process to audience. She has also been invited as featured young composer by Foundation for Chinese Performing in a concert and seminar series, New Music from China, held in Harvard University and Longy School of Music.


Sarana Chou moved to the United States in 1998 from her native Taiwan, to pursue composition studies under Samuel Adler, Shulamit Ran, Robert Morris, and David Liptak at The Juilliard School (B.M. ’02), the University of Chicago (M.A. ‘04), and Eastman School of Music (D.M.A. ’09), respectively. From 2008-2013, she was Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Music at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She is currently on faculty at West Virginia University School of Music, and also serves as an official rater/reader of the AP Music Theory Exams by ETS.