KOE (Eva Ding, flute and Emma Kato, cello) was formed in 2018 during the ensemble's graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Originally a trio, when their pianist went on to pursue a different musical career path, they thought it would be the perfect opportunity to continue their chamber collaboration and explore and expand their journey as a duo. Subsequently, they went on to become grant recipients of Chamber Music America’s Ensemble Forward Grant generously supported by the New York Community Trust. KOE has performed at the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center, Riverside Church, and multiple times at Greenfield Hall.
As a duo they’re dedicated to bringing aspects of their non-musical passions to create interdisciplinary projects and performances. They’re also deeply connected to their respective heritages and cultures - Emma being a 2nd generation Japanese-American, and Eva being Chinese-born and New Zealand-raised - and make an effort to include pieces and composers that reflect that into their programming.
Individually, Emma Kato is a New York born and raised cellist teaching through Suzuki Methods, educating young artists about the power of music. She strongly believes that music is a universal language that anyone can speak and express themselves through, regardless of one’s background. For Eva Ding, her background in theater plays a big role in the development of her work. She has seen how spoken word, set design, and costumes, can elevate a performance experience and wants to bring that level of collaboration between the arts to classical music. They both hold Master of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music having studied under the tutelage of Julia Lichten and Robert Langevin respectively.
Together with their interest in and passion for community engagement, education, and interdisciplinary exploration they’re dedicated to illuminating classical music in a way that is exciting and interesting for a new audience – one that looks and feels more like them.
All flutist and multi-disciplinary artist Eva Ding ever wants to do is imbue in her audience the same sense of joy and richness the performing arts brings to her. Ever-changing and growing in her passions and craft, Eva most recently gave an online talk for Crushing The Myth – a TED-talk-styled Asian-American speaker series – and is currently working on creating interactive, interdisciplinary works that meld together her passions for music, theater, and film.
Eva made her concerto debut when she was 14 at the Meet in Beijing Festival. In 2017, she made her New York concerto debut with the Brooklyn Metro Chamber Orchestra and has given premiere performances of Tailleferre’s “Concertino”, an orchestral arrangement of Claude Bolling’s “Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio”, and Chen Yi's “The Golden Flute” Concerto. Her most interesting gig to date, however, has to have been when she was the opening musical number for pro-wrestler, Orange Cassidy, at Independent Wrestling TV’s “Family Reunion” match.
Shanghai-born, Auckland-raised, and New York-based, Eva received the Manhattan School of Music President’s Scholarship and completed a Master of Music there with Robert Langevin, Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic. Prior to that, she gained her Bachelor of Music with First Class Honors from the University of Auckland, under the tutelage of Professor Uwe Grodd.
Emma Kato is a cellist and music instructor, born and raised in New York City. She started playing the cello at the age of 6 at Third Street Music School, where she studied with Su Hang, Tova Rosenberg, Carolyn Jeselsohn, and Sibylle Johner. Later, she attended Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, where she continued her musical education.
Emma received her Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music in 2018, studying with renowned cellist Alan Harris, and completed her Master of Music in 2020 at the Manhattan School of Music with Julia Lichten.
Growing up, Emma won 1st prize in the Wagner College Young Musician Competition and the Associated Music Teachers League Scholarship Competition. More recently she won 2nd place in the Cello Concerto Competition at The Eastman School of Music.
Emma first started teaching in 2012 at various music camps, such as Third Street Music School, Chamber Music Center, and Kinhaven Music School. She currently works as a music instructor at Brooklyn Waldorf School in New York City and is pursuing the Suzuki Teacher Training Program at The School for String