As a Senior lecturer of composition at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, a composer of music ranging from choir, symphonic band, wind ensemble, chamber music to large scale orchestral works, Zechariah Goh Toh Chai has carefully fused South East Asian-Chinese with Western traditions. He began his music piano lesson under Ong Lip Tat, harmony from Phoon Yew Tien and counterpoint from Leong Yoon Pin while working on his Diploma of Music from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. In 1999, he received the David and Gunda Hiebert Scholarship award to work on his Master of Piano from University of Kansas, during which he was appointed as a graduate assistant by the university to teach undergraduate music theory.
Subsequently, he worked on his Doctorate degree majoring in Composition under the guidance of Dr. Charles Hoag. At the same time, he studied Orchestration and Arrangement for Band under James Barnes. Zechariah was also awarded the prestigious Anthony Cius Prize for outstanding student composer from the University of Kansas for the Academic year of 2001 and 2002.
Before embarking on his studies in the United States, he was a familiar face in the local music scene, teaching bands and choirs in Singapore. He was a lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, specializing in Composition, Orchestration, Aural and Sight Singing, and Choir since July 2002.
As a composer, he is frequently commissioned to write music for symphonic bands and choirs. Since the 1990s, his choral works have been premiered in Singapore as well as winning many international competitions including Austria, Brazil, Germany, Greece, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, USA. Zechariah has been commissioned by SYC Ensemble Singers , Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, The Philharmonic Winds, The West winds, University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, The National Arts Council of Singapore, Tanjong Katong Secondary school, Timothy Reynish, Professor Vince Gnojek, Shane Thio, The Amigo Saxophone Quartet, Shyen Lee, Jennifer Tham, Nelson Kwei, The Singers, The Hong Kong Academy of Performing arts, The Diocesan Boys’ School Choir (Hong Kong), The Diocesan Girls’ School Choir(Hong Kong), The Chamber Sounds(Singapore), The Victoria Chorale, Victoria Junior College, Tampines Junior College, CHIJ(Toa Payoh), The River Valley High School, The Amadeus Choral Society, The CCA Branch of the Ministry of education(2003 and 2009).
Zechariah Goh is also an active speaker at International music conferences such as the WASBE, ISME, APSME, and etc. He was also invited to judge international choral and Band competition such as the Voyage of Songs, and Taiwan Band Director’s Association’ Band Competition and etc. For his artistic excellence in the field of music, Zechariah was conferred the Young Artist Award (Music) in September 2003 by the National Arts Council, Singapore. The award was presented by the President of the Republic of Singapore at Istana.