TEO, Shao Fern 张晓芬 (b. 1992) is a composer and music professional, born and raised in Malaysia. Her music is accessible and rooted in her creativity with tonality and instrumentation. Her rich cultural background, educational influence spanning east and west, and her appreciation of life make her works wide-ranging and memorable.
Fern began her musical training on the piano, honing this skill when she started playing music at church and with her high school band. She later picked up the violin, and then composition. She likes watching clouds flit by in the sky and imagine different ways she could score oddly shaped ones. She found an outlet for this when she began to write songs and tunes for school related events and organizations.
Fern graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music (summa cum laude) from the University of North Texas in 2013 where she studied composition with Joseph Klein and Kirsten Broberg. She took further studies in composition with Clifton Callender at Florida State University and earned a Master of Arts in Music in 2016. In the summer of the same year, she participated in the Film Scoring Institute Program by the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of the Institute Director, Thomas Haines.
Her violin and piano composition Congkak saw its world premiere at Carnegie Hall, New York in 2017. Other new commissions include bassoon piece In Malaysia which has received acclaim and is played by many bassoon players who enjoy new bassoon repertoires. Fern continues to cultivate her craft and seizes opportunities to collaborate with musicians internationally.
As the former Associate Music Director at Shanghai Disney Resort, she has partnered with other music professionals and live entertainment experts on the creation and execution of parades, fireworks, stage show performances, as well as direction and recording of numerous voiceovers for the Resort. In addition, she has arranged pieces and led the Shanghai Disneyland Band, worked with the classic yet cosmopolitan A Cappella Christmas Carolers, and other live performance ensembles.
Now back in her homeland in Malaysia, she first joined TikTok’s Music Business Development sector for Southeast Asia as Project Producer and Talent Manager. At present, she is with The Walt Disney Company as Assistant Manager of Disney Character Voices International where she oversees dubbing and localization work for Disney’s content, ensuring that voice talents used remain true to the characters and their characterization.
Her musical excellence is propelled by her earnest love for music, exceptional dexterity with musical instruments, and an unusual sensitivity to sounds around her―along with the minutiae she hears in a composition. This skill is anchored by her strong work ethics, attention to details, and a fierce dedication to her art.
Fern’s artistic works embody Malaysian warmth and hospitality, with her personality and distinctive Chinese-Malaysian flair and culture shining through her music. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, catching up with family and friends, and browsing through interior design content. With accompaniment playing softly in her head, of course.
*Name may also appear as Shao Fern Teo.
For Fern's CV, click here