Raphael Mak - minimalist composer in Stockholm, Sweden

Raphael Mak – composer in Stockholm, Sweden

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Raphael Mak was born in Hong Kong, moved to Sweden in 2017, and completed a master’s degree in music composition at the University of Gothenburg. His master thesis is on a composition method based on modules and a pattern language. He also has a master’s degree in urban planning.

Mak’s composition style has evolved from “New Age” to “pantonality” to “minimalism”. He is also an active player in orienteering and established the Metropolitan Orienteering Club in 2014, later founding Metrunner in 2019.


Check out Raphael’s music on:

Instrumental solo (without accompaniment)

  • Country Park Impression (Oct 2006) for piano
  • Speed (Mar 2009) for violin
  • By the Waters (Oct 2010) for piano
  • Two Piano Sonatas (Feb and Aug 2013)

Instrumental solo (with accompaniment)

  • Cello Sonata (July 2007)
  • Flute Sonata (Sep 2008)

Chamber ensembles (incl. chamber orchestra)

  • Idleness and Activity (Mar 2007) for chamber orchestra
  • Ambience (Sep 2008) for string nonet
  • Clarinet Duet (Nov 2008) for clarinet duet
  • Altius Volemus (Oct 2010) for percussion quartet
  • Windwaves (Sep 2011) for flute octet
  • Breaking the Mist (Apr 2013) for string quintet
  • Kowloon Rhapsody (Apr 2014) for percussion quartet
  • The Moon Hovering (July 2014) for flute, clarinet, sheng (笙), violin, cello
  • Mental Impromptu Fantasie (Sep 2014) for flute, clarinet, piano, viola, cello

Large ensembles (other than symphony orchestra)

  • Lament (Jan 2007) for string orchestra
  • The Dance (Oct 2007) for wind orchestra
  • The Tolo Fast Train (June 2012) for string orchestra
  • Suite for String Orchestra (Dec 2012)
  • Final scene of Trämålningen (play by Ingmar Bergman) (May 2018)

Symphony orchestra

  • Nocturne 1 (Dec 2006)
  • Storm (Jan 2007)
  • Nocturne 2 (Apr 2008)
  • Symphony No. 1 (Oct 2009)
  • Rhapsody on School Songs in Hong Kong (Dec 2012)
  • Orchestral Piece for a New Era (Dec 2014)

Concertante works

  • Violin Concerto “High Island” (Sep 2010)
  • Flute Concerto (Aug 2011)

Vocal works

  • “Ngokfu” (Yuefu, 樂府) songs (Sep 2012)


Raphael Mak (b. 1992)
Born in City of Victoria, Hong Kong (now based in Stockholm)

Bachelor of Arts in Music, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Master of Science in Urban Planning, The University of Hong Kong
Master of Fine Arts in Music with specialization in composition, University of Gothenburg


I was considered a talented kid and, by discretionary admission, entered the Pun U Association Wah Yan Primary School and thereafter Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. In both schools I maintained good grades. Like many kids in Hong Kong, I had to play the piano and learn multiple sports, including badminton, basketball, swimming, and a few more.

Wah Yan

Eventually, I chose the flute as my main musical instrument which gave me access to more musical activities, especially orchestra. 2007 was a significant year for me as I started serious training of running, and composed many of my earliest works. In the previous year I had my first orienteering experience.

In 2009, I did two crucial things to advance my standing in music: to head the Music Society at school, and to join the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. Meanwhile, being able to take part in the athletic drive out of Division 3 was something to be always proud of.

Originally a civil engineer wannabe, I shifted my career goal to architecture before settling on music. My HKCEE result in 2009 was one “A” short of what was needed for early entry into university, so I took the HKALE in 2011 with decent results, landing safely in CUHK Music.


The experience of being in two committees at once (孖莊), plus the strong commitment of the cross country team, was quite an overwhelming experience. While I had learned a lot in the process, I experienced some retreat from campus life. That was however also the same time I became an annual marathonist.

My music career developed slowly. However, I was drawn to high-performance orienteering at the same time and eventually got into the Hong Kong Team for a few years.

In 2015 I ventured into race organisation by establishing the Metropolitan Orienteering Club. I also started the Victoria City Music Workshop to manage my musical interests.


While my degree at HKU was for urban planning, I continued my orienteering activities while music was more of a side dish. I joined my second university cross country team.

No longer in any orchestra, I instead joined the choir which allowed me to diversify from orchestral music in my creative pursuit.


I moved to Sweden in 2017 after getting into the Masters programme in composition at the University of Gothenburg.