Nicholas Ng

Dr Nicholas Ng is a composer, performer and full-time Research Fellow at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

Nicholas Ng obtained a PhD in composition/ethnomusicology in 2008 with E/Prof Larry Sitsky and Dr Stephen Wild (ethnomusicologist) at the Australian National University. He has a Bachelor of Music (1st class honours) in composition and musicology from the University of Sydney where he was a student of Prof Anne Boyd, Prof Allan Marrett, Ross Edwards, Dr Matthew Hindson and Dr Kirsty Beilharz.

A keen performer, Ng plays the erhu (Chinese 2-string fiddle) and is in the constant search for new performative contexts from contemporary dance to meditation circles. He has performed at the Sydney Opera House Studio, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (Taipei) and Merkin Concert Hall (New York City). He periodically tours in William Yang’s Performing Lines production, China (2007-present), which has been invited to various festivals such as the KunstenFESTIVALdesarts (Brussels), Melbourne International Arts Festival, the OzAsia Festival (Adelaide) and the Push Festival (Vancouver). Nicholas Ng has appeared solo and in ensemble at the Chinese Gardens Chamber Music Festival (Sydney), National Multicultural Festival (Canberra), Woodford Folk Festival (Woodford), Music by the Sea (Brisbane) and in 2009, at the Parliament of the World’s Religions with Dr Kim Cunio, Heather Lee and Tunji Beier. In the same year, he performed in Erik Griswold’s Clocked Out production, The States.

As a composer, Nicholas Ng has composed for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Foundation for Universal Sacred Music, Saitenwind, The Song Company, The Australian Voices, Chronology Arts, United Nations Association of Australia, Australian Choreographic Centre, Tugpindulayaw Theatre, Sydney-Asia Pacific Film Festival, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Published by Orpheus Music, his compositions have been broadcast on ABC Classic-FM and awarded prizes such as the 2005 Orpheus Publications Composition Prize. He is now developing a commission of three sacred compositions for the Cathedral of St Stephen.

A former lecturer at the School of Music, Australian National University, Nicholas Ng has presented papers on his research topic (Australian Chinese sacred music in Sydney) at conferences including the 38th International Council of Traditional Music World Conference, University of Sheffield (2005) and the 3rd Asian Australian Identities Conference, Curtin University (2009) and continues to research Chinese music in diaspora.

Composer website:


On an ocean deep, for cello & erhu, with voice & bells.

This piece was part of a cross-art project, The Stones Would Cry Out on St Helena Island in November of 2012 ( The recording is actually a semi-structured improvisation that we did in one take in the Queensland Conservatorium recording studio without a rehearsal. Performers/composers: Julian Wong (voice, cello) and Nicholas Ng (erhu, bells).

Featured in Playlist 8 – String Waves, 31/08/2015

Stellar Mansions: On Tao, life and the Universe, for Choir.

This composition is based on elements of Chinese cosmology inspired by the poetry of Australian scientist and poet Neville Thomas Yeomans (1928-2000).

The first movement heard here draws from 3 of Yeoman’s poems: Air, Sun and Tao Now.

While setting the words to music, I spent many hours star gazing while reading about star clusters known as ‘mansions’ in ancient Chinese astronomy. There are 7 stellar mansions found in each of the 5 compass directions of the night sky. These mansions and directions are intrinsically linked to the Ba Gua, a cosmological belief system of geomancy governing aspects of life from the seasons, nature, animals (some mythical), to the human senses and anatomy. Each compass direction is assigned with a colour, musical note, emotion, movement and number.

Featured in Spotify Waves – February 2017 (01/02/2017)