Cassie To’s (b.1994) music is about producing emotional connections. Her sound is refined but textured, with each composition carefully crafted to appeal to the rawest elements of humanity – emotion, memory and feeling. That way her songs are neither esoteric nor inaccessible instead they engage with a wide audience, whether pop orientated or academic and classically trained.
Her education at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music (Bachelor of Music, Honours in Composition) combined with her musical influences has given her the passion and expertise to compose across different styles and genres. Her recent work blends classical technique with contemporary composition, blending symphonic phrases with experimental and environmental soundscapes. A new contemporary style, visceral and melodic, that hints at the minimalism and sentimentality of Joe Hisaishi but also the richness and precision of her influencers, Debussy, Liszt and Rachmaninov. In 2015 her originality and innovation were recognized by Australia’s preeminent new music group Ensemble Offspring who chose To as a composer for the ensemble’s 20th anniversary Future Retro Concert (2015).
Cassie To’s adaptability and creativity has seen her write scores for film, social media shorts, advertisements and documentaries as well as collaborations with pop and indie artists. Her young portfolio already includes work for Tropfest (2011 – 2014), the ABC and Channel 7. During her studies she was one of two students chosen to work with the Sydney Youth Orchestra, composing two new pieces for their string ensembles. She has also composed for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of their Cybec 21st Century Composer program and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
Cassie is a devoted environmentalist and her passion for conservation and telling stories through nature is rippled through her work. Her 2015, Ensemble Offspring composition Avialae exposes the extreme habitat loss of Australia’s native birds. The wistful, poignant and sometimes frenetic song harmoniously weaves the sounds of five endangered birds in an out of To’s composition, as if they were in conversation with one another.