Sophie Mok: Master of the Orchestra

At the age of 34, University of Miami’s Sophie Mok has already accumulated a long list of degrees and experience in the classical music realm. Originally from Hong Kong, Mok always gravitated towards instruments, starting with the piano and then the oboe. She pursued her passion and earned a bachelor’s degree in classical music from Hong Kong Baptist University. In 2020, she came to the United States to complete her master’s degree in oboe performance at the University of Colorado.

Mok then visited her homeland, where she pushed herself to attend workshops and master classes in conducting with the goal of turning it into a career. She completed her master’s in conducting at the University of Cincinnati but was hungry for more. She took on various gigs — such as conducting for the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Orquesta de Cámara del Municipal de Santiago, and the New Symphony Orchestra, to name a few — before landing at the University of Miami as one of four students in the year-long Artist Diploma in Instrumental Conducting at the Frost School of Music. Here, she has had extensive access to Maestro Gerard Schwarz’s knowledge and resources, gaining independence and confidence as the assistant conductor for the Frost Symphony Orchestra.

Latest Achievement

Mok was recently appointed as the assistant conductor for the Asian Youth Orchestra. Every year, the orchestra’s organizers audition tens of thousands of the finest pre-professional musicians from all over Asia and the selected 100-plus members go on a tour. This summer, Mok will be rehearsing and performing in Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan.

In her role, she will conduct sectional rehearsals and assist the principal conductor with sound balance and additional musician rehearsals. Mok says she’s extremely excited to work with highly skilled players and gain the same hands-on experience as a professional assistant conductor.

Sophie Mok: Master of the Orchestra

What She Says

“As a conductor, our instrument is the orchestra,” says Mok. “When I was an oboist, I remember multiple times just sitting thinking, ‘I don’t think the piece should go like this.’The urge was growing in me to do music the way I wanted to. [Conducting] is like having a conversation with the composer… I learn so much about [their] style, about the technique. When you merge that information and knowledge together, you can come up with your own understanding of the piece. To then be able to execute it with the orchestra – to connect with musicians and have some kind of spiritual connection — is very rewarding.”