resonances Issue 34 I 2019
Foreword Welcome to the 2019 edition of Resonances - our annual publication where we take the opportunity to reflect on the key developments at YST over the past year, and to share them with our community. Last yearâ€™s Resonances reported on the first consequences as we began to reimagine our identity and philosophy. Over this past year, these changes have gained considerable momentum and borne extraordinary fruit, even as they continue to take and give new shape. This is particularly apparent in changes in our governance, our new academic programmes, our alumniâ€™s influence and contributions, and in the choices and achievements of our students, staff and faculty. It has been a truly transformative year, and we thank everyone in our community (within YST, across Singapore and around the world) for their support. As is evident throughout the publication that follows, our resonance grows everstronger as we listen in new light.
Enabling Resonance Learning in New Light A Year in Two Seasons Charting Pathways: Class of 2019 An Ever-Growing Community Our People About the Conservatory
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WeÂ reflect on the institutional directions we have charted, and recognise our surrounding network that offers us guidance and enables the musical and educational opportunities we create.
States of Change
In last yearâ€™s Resonances, we shared about how change is not only inevitable, but a key driving force for our institutional journey. The necessity of evolution is evident not only in our work as a conservatory, but also in transformations in NUS, Singapore, the region, and the global contemporary artistic scene. Being prepared to embrace change has also become the key tenet in the shared focus of our international partner network, ConNext. While classical music conservatories will certainly continue to embrace traditional concepts of excellence, we hold the belief of the ConNext movement that we have an obligation to also be nimble, so as to be relevant in our fast-changing world. Last August, we recognised the culmination of our formal relationship with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in a live-streamed gala concert Celebrating 15 Years. The timing aligned also with our 15th anniversary since the arrival of our first students in 2003, a point at which we see our alumni population reaching a critical mass in terms of number (over 500) and influence on the ecosystem. Our alumni demonstrated their presence and energy compellingly in the inaugural Voyage Festival that followed Celebrating 15 Years, a clear interplay of creative, collaborative and production values, and performance excellence. Across Singapore and the region, our alumni are increasingly leading transformational projects; in several cases, their return has also involved teaching and creating impact in the Conservatory itself, welcomed by our faculty.
A moment from Voyage with the alumni-formed quintet Lorong Boys.
Soon after in October, our Founding Chairman Mr Goh Yew Lin stepped down from his leadership role after 16 years leading the pioneering stage of our journey. Under Yew Lin’s guidance, YST has become much more integrated into the NUS and national landscape, and its programme offerings and international visibility have also evolved considerably. We will always be grateful for his wisdom and support – his connection continues as a lifelong ambassador of the Conservatory. Mr Goh’s family gift this year – establishing the Madeline Goh Professorship in Piano - was one of several key donations propelling our future directions. In the publication, we celebrate several supporters who help us reimagine orchestral training and drive Southeast Asian transformation through student development opportunities. These gifts in combination with government matched funding towards the Conservatory and University endowments enable us continually to create distinctive educational initiatives.
Building on plans shared in More Ways into Music from last year’s Resonances, 2018-19 saw the full introduction of new Majors in Music & Society and Music, Collaboration & Production, a Minor in Music & Society for NUS students, and Second Majors available to all Conservatory and NUS students. So far, 13 students have joined the new Majors, and over 600 NUS students have enrolled in Conservatory modules – with a number of students beginning to amalgamate modules towards the Minor and Second Major. I want to acknowledge here the faculty who have embraced and led these changes, introducing modules and welcoming a wider palette of students into YST.
These emerging programmes and approaches point towards a greater culture of experimentation and diverse practices, which the senior cohort reflected in the distinctiveness of their final recitals, ambitious programming and production of their graduation concert Springing, and in the professional pathways they have forged for their futures. It was heartening to hear students individually sharing, as part of an international review, how this increased diversity was inspiring them to be more questioning in their own practice.
A moment from Springing.
At the core of our programme â€“ and arguably of most music-making â€“ is the need for collaboration. Our chamber programmes and orchestral projects found fresh momentum with the introduction of new modular structures and partnership opportunities enabling greater student choice - including our newly established Orchestral Institute initiative which explores best practice for educating in contemporary large ensemble contexts. The Orchestral Institute brings together eight orchestrally-oriented faculty and staff who work closely with advanced students on large ensemble work, linking in to potential projects and internships with professional partners regionally and globally.
Following on from last year’s resonances, what do the coming twelve months hold? We will see fresh focus on clarifying and strengthening our research identity, and on developing our pre-Conservatory offerings (evolving from last year’s pilot Double Time initiative) and continuing professional education opportunities (connecting with Singapore’s SkillsFuture programme). In a very real sense, therefore, 2018-2019 has felt like the beginning a new chapter in our story as we move to the next stage in our evolution. As one visitor described it, it is an opportunity to move from ‘feeding’ to ‘leading’ as we come into our own as a centre for activity alongside Singapore’s ever-emerging visibility on the world stage, harnessing our context to contribute a distinct, powerful and contemporary voice.
MusiQuE Institutional Review
This past year, YST underwent an institutional review with MusiQuE, a European evaluation body which seeks to advance quality enhancement in higher music education institutions. Early in the year, the Conservatory undertook a selfreflective evaluation, culminating in a report that looked at its institutional activity across eight standards: Institutional mission, vision and context; Educational processes; Student profiles; Teaching staff; Facilities, resources and support; Communication, organisation and decision-making; Internal quality culture; Public interaction. From 11-13 March 2019, a five-member review panel representing higher music education leaders as well as students visited YST. They met with representatives from our student body, faculty and staff, alumni as well as the Singapore landscape, and observed classes and activities in the Conservatory. Feedback from MusiQuE has been extremely positive, recognising in particular YST's clear identity and vision, agility in adapting to change, close connection with the local and regional ecosystem, and strong international profile. The full feedback report from MusiQuE will be shared during the semester.
Celebrating Legacy and Future Directions
Mr Robert Tomlin, Vice Chairman of Lepercq de Neuflize Asia Pte Ltd, was appointed Chairman of the YST Governing Board from 1 November 2018. He succeeded Mr Goh Yew Lin, Managing Director of G.K. Goh Holdings Ltd, who served as YST’s founding Chairman since 2002. A keen supporter of education and the arts in Singapore, and of theatre and music in particular, Mr Tomlin is also Chairman of the Singapore Repertory Theatre and DesignSingapore Council, and a member of the Board of Directors at Lasalle College of the Arts. He has also held numerous directorships in the private sector. For his contributions, he was awarded the Public Service Medal (Friends in Singapore) in the 2015 National Day Awards. Having served on the YST Governing Board over the last 15 years, Mr Tomlin has been a familiar face in YST, and brings his rich global experience, commitment to the arts and strong belief in education as a leader. As Chairman of the Governing Board, Mr Goh’s vision and advocacy was crucial in establishing YST as an integral part of NUS and Singapore’s music ecosystem, and securing key funding support including gifts from the Yong Loo Lin Trust. Mr Goh currently serves as Chairman of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Deputy Chairman of the National Arts Council. He was a member of the NUS Board of Trustees. For his contributions to Singapore and the Conservatory, Mr Goh was awarded the Public Service Star in the 2013 National Day Awards, and the Outstanding Service Award in the 2012 NUS University Awards.
In Appreciation of Goh Yew Lin
On 2 May 2019, we were delighted to celebrate the legacy of founding Chairman Mr Goh Yew Lin; and the establishment of the Madeline Goh Professorship in Piano, an endowed gift made by Mr Goh Geok Khim and Mr Goh Yew Lin in support of piano education in YST. The evening brought together important contributors in the YST and NUS community, who have been crucial in enabling and driving the Conservatory’s growth over the past 15 years. This included YST’s benefactors and partners, members from NUS’s senior management and Board of Trustees, current and former YST Governing Board members, as well as YST faculty, staff and students.
The event saw lively speeches from Prof Chan Heng Chee, Chairman of the National Arts Council and member of the NUS Board of Trustees; Mr Robert Tomlin, current YST Governing Board Chairman; Prof Bernard Lanskey, Dean of the YST Conservatory, as well as Mr Goh Yew Lin himself.
YST students, faculty and alumni further augmented the evening with their talents, presenting solo and chamber performance that delighted the audience. In addition, the curation as well sonic and visual design for the evening was done by Mervin Wong (â€˜18, Viola).
During his speech, Mr Goh fondly recalled his music classes at University of Pennsylvania while studying at the Wharton School. As a surprise to the guests that evening, he performed Rochberg's Ricordanza: Soliloquy for cello and piano with Artist Faculty Ng Pei-Sian, principal cellist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as well as a movement from Mozart's Sonata for 2 pianos in D major with Prof Bernard Lanskey, Dean of the YST Conservatory to close.
Announcing the Madeline Goh Professorship in Piano
Mrs Madeline Goh studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music from 1952-1956, receiving a Graduate of the Royal Schools of Music (London) degree. She taught music and gave piano lessons in Singapore, before going to work with Mr Goh Geok Khim in the stockbroking industry in the late 1960s. Mr Goh Geok Khim (right) and Mrs Madeline Goh (centre) are the parents of Mr Goh Yew Lin (left), founding Chairman of the YST Conservatory. The inaugural Madeline Goh Professorship in Piano will be held by Prof Thomas Hecht, the Conservatory’s founding Head of Keyboard Studies, who has provided leadership and vision for the Piano area since 2003. Among Dr Hecht’s many initiatives are the establishment of the YST Electone Orchestra, which brings symphonic music to life under the hands of Piano majors, and his successful launching of the Conservatory’s first SMART teaching studio. Two of his Singaporean protégés have been named Young Steinway Artists. The Professorship will continue to support initiatives that enrich piano education for YST students as well as the community. Prof Hecht said, “The Madeline Goh Professorship will enable us to offer even richer opportunities and exposure for our piano students, both through our own events and platforms and in working with leading artists in the field.”
Teo Shaoming ('19, Flute) coaching students in Miri, Malaysia.
Chenter Foundation Gives Towards Community The Chenter Foundation Cathy and Tony Chen Community Outreach Fund, was announced in April 2019, supporting the YST Conservatory’s community outreach projects in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Based in the United States of America, the Chenter Foundation is a global charity foundation dedicated to improving children’s lives through advancing healthcare, expanding education opportunities, and nurturing empathy and compassion through music and the performing arts. The Fund complements YST’s focus on engaging the community and the region, bringing musical resonance to wider audiences. Our students initiate and undertake projects locally and in the region, as part of our curriculum as well as their personal passions. These activities are augmented by the Conservatory’s active engagement and leadership in international networks, which facilitate connection and exchange. As a start, the gift supported two YST students, Ilysia Tan Jiayng (Year 3, Composition) and Nigel Foo Shi Rong (Year 3, Harp) in attending the 2019 SEADOM Congress, which saw higher music education institutions in the region gather to discuss themes of quality assurance in music education and cross-arts integration in a Southeast Asian context.
Supporting Artistic Education
Thanks to the support of corporations and individuals such as Mr & Mrs Tan Kah Tee, YST Conservatory has been able to continue to bring life-affirming and global artists to work with students and present concerts to the community.Â Last year, through the generosity of Mr Tan, the comedian-musician duo, Aleksey Igudesman & Hyungki Joo, together with the YST Conservatory Orchestra, presented Upbeat. The duo's uproarious orchestrations, accompanied by singing, dancing, acting and storytelling by the student orchestra shared music in new light. A free open rehearsal was also presented to school children who not only enjoyed the performance but saw glimpses of the orchestral preparation process.
Watch the highlights from Igudesman & Joo's visit:
Named Scholarship Recipients
Luong Khanh Nhi ('19, Piano) and Mervyn Lee (Year 4, Piano) were awarded the 2018/19 Steven Baxter Memorial Scholarship, and Ding Jian Han ('19, Composition) was awarded the 2018/19 S R Nathan Music Scholarship. The Steven Baxter Memorial Scholarship, in honour of the YST Conservatory’s Founding Director, is awarded based on merit to BMus Year 3 and/or Year 4 students. Dr Baxter was known for his spirit of giving towards students as well as for his thoughtfulness, quiet humour, strong sense of collegiality and deep commitment. The Scholarship harmonises with his ambitions for YST students to achieve international excellence. The S R Nathan Music Scholarship, made possible through a gift from the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund, is awarded based on merit to Singaporean YST students from the wind, brass, percussion, composition or audio arts areas. The Fund was established by Mr S R Nathan, former President of Singapore. All YST Conservatory students are funded through the generosity of the Yong Loo Lin Trust. Read more about our scholarship recipients:
Chong Fahcheong Sculptures at YST
Located at the YST entrance are three teak sculptures, which now adorn our foyers. Titled Pa Kua, Made to Measure and Panem Nostrum Quotidianum, they are works by Singaporean sculptor and 2014 Cultural Medallion recipient Chong Fahcheong. He is widely known for public works such as First Generation, a bronze sculpture of five young boys at play jumping into the Singapore River. The sculptures are on generous loan by Mr Chong, and members of the public are welcome to view and interact with them.
Mr Chong Fahcheong (left) speaking at the launch of the sculptures at YST Conservatory in March 2019.
Learning in New Light
This year, we embarked on new journeys in collaborative music-making practices, outreach and pedagogy, regional engagement and student involvement.
Learning in New Light
As the 21st-century classical music industry continues to evolve, the question of what it means - and entails - to be an orchestral musician calls for new answers. This past year, we began paving the way for new orchestral practices at the Conservatory with the Orchestral Institute initiative, which is centred on: 1. Developing musicians in creative, collaborative large ensemble cultures; 2. Embracing new resonances with surrounding communities, such as through considering new spaces and roles for music-making in society; 3. Creating a laboratory for exploring and reflecting on evolving orchestra practice. Since 2017, we have held open rehearsals, welcoming community members to observe the creative process behind each concert. This year, we were delighted to feature conductors Bruno Weil, Jorma Panula, Artist Faculty Dr Lien Boon Hua, and Principal Conductor Jason Lai working with our Conservatory Orchestra. We also welcomed members of the Hangzhou Philharmonic (HZPO) at YST, making music together in our November 2018 end-of-semester orchestral concert. Three YST students were in turn at the HZPO, working on a Brahms programme. In April 2019, members of our Strings and Woodwind faculty also performed in the HZPOâ€™s chamber music concerts as part of its tenth concert season. In the same month, the Aurora Orchestra also conducted a side-by-side workshop led by Nicholas Collon on memorisation of the Jupiter Symphony. Deepening collaborations within the region, our students have also worked with the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) and attended the 2019 Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG).
Read about our students' experiences at SOA and YMCG, and our faculty's performance with the HZPO:
Following page, clockwise from top left: 1-4: Conservatory Orchestra open rehearsals with conductors Jorma Panula, Jason Lai, Dr Lien Boon Hua and Bruno Weil 5, 6: YST faculty with the HZPO, and HZPO musicians with our Conservatory Orchestra 7, 8: YST students at YMCG and SOA respectively
YST students and Double Time participants preparing to perform in the Conservatory's annual Children's Concert.
YST Double Time Programme
YST's Double Time programme was in full swing from January to April 2019, a focal point of the continuous evolution of our education programmes both for the community as well as our full-time students. As part of the Pedagogy for Orchestral Instruments module, our Year 3 students met weekly with 9-11 year old children learning a second instrument. Over a ninesession programme devised in partnership with the Aurora Orchestra (UK), they embarked on a creative musical journey with listening, singing, games, group instrument lessons, and creating of their own musical material. The programme was joined by the Aurora Education Group led by John Barber, and culminated in a performance at the Victoria Concert Hall Atrium with music jointly created by the group, inspired by the Aurora Orchestra’s concert programme that evening. John Barber shared, “Everyone is creating something new. That initial exciting, creative spark is not just about learning notes. It’s about making stuff up and seeing what happens.” We thank the Aurora Orchestra, Shaw Foundation, Victoria Concert Hall and SGUK Partnership for the Future for their commitment and support towards music education - and of course our participants and their families for their enthusiasm and trust that made this pilot project possible! Watch the highlights from Double Time:
A Keenly-Tuned Sound
In January 2019, four Audio Arts & Sciences (AAS) students – David Chew, Johann Tan Kay Ann, Teng Wye Shin (all Year 4), and Aw Wei Zheng ('19) attended a sixday course on Sound Systems Design and Optimisation, taught by Merlijn van Veen at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague. The opportunity was kindly offered by Paul Jeukendrup, Head of the Royal Conservatoire’s Art of Sound department, after he conducted a fruitful seminar on sound reinforcement in classical music during his visit to YST in November 2018. The course covered topics and tools such as acoustics, psychoacoustics, the dualchannel FFT analyser, acoustics, filters, speaker line arrays, and subwoofer configuration. The first four days focused on general concepts, while the last two days were spent on more advanced applied techniques such as how to choose loudspeakers and position them for a live event. Wye Shin commented, “This seminar was really helpful in strengthening my foundation in live sound, and the knowledge I gained will be very useful for my future work.” Zhou Xiaodong, Senior Lecturer (Audio Arts & Sciences), shared, “We are truly grateful for this partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, which has enabled opportunities like this course with the Art of Sound department, as well as wider platforms like our student exchange programme. We look forward to further collaboration and learning!” The students’ travel was made possible by the YST Student Development Fund.
Sparking Regional Synergies
From 11-16 March 2019, Ilysia Tan Jiayng (Year 3, Composition – front row, fifth from left) and Nigel Foo Shi Rong (Year 3, Harp – back row, sixth from left), took part in the 2019 Southeast Asian Directors of Music (SEADOM) Congress at the Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta. The students networked with other students, educators and music institution leaders from the region and beyond. They participated in a Gamelan Project alongside students from Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Outside of performances for the SEADOM Congress, they also engaged in presentations and discussions alongside educators and institutional leaders, where they shared and openly debated on topics in quality assurance and professional music training, as well as others such as leadership, communication and advocacy, quality in teaching and learning, and Southeast Asian music traditions. The YST Conservatory is grateful to the Chenter Foundation for its kind support of our students’ attendance at the 2019 SEADOM Congress, as part of a gift towards our community outreach projects in Singapore and Southeast Asia. At the 2019 SEADOM Congress General Assembly, Prof Bernard Lanskey (Dean) was re-elected as President of SEADOM for 2019-2021. Ms Jenny Ang (Deputy Director, Artistic Administration & Strategic Development) was elected to serve on the Executive Council.
Nigel in a group discussion session.
Moving the Needle in Miri
From 24-30 September 2018, eight YST students embarked on a project in Brunei and Miri, East Malaysia to engage students with professional music instruction, contribute to teaching practices in the community, and hone their pedagogical skills. The team was led by Lau Hui Ping (Year 4, Trumpet), and further comprised Alice Cahya Putri (Year 4, Voice), Chen I-Hsuan (Year 4, Horn), Chiang Yung-Yuan (Year 4, Clarinet), Hoong Miane Sng ('19, Tuba), Ilysia Tan Jiayng (Year 3, Composition), Natalie Koh (Year 4, Violin), and Teo Shao Ming ('19, Flute).
Miane Sng demonstrating breath technique.
Over the seven days, the team organised a suite of activities across both locations, from band engagement to masterclasses, coaching for local music teachers on their own skills and recitals. This was especially meaningful for Hui Ping, who is from Miri herself. She shared, “When I was learning the trumpet growing up, I often wished for greater opportunities to learn from more experienced musicians. Though arranging all the individual coachings was not easy, I wanted the students to experience how rich and enjoyable pursuing music can be.”
Regional collaboration formed another special aspect of the project. Through their supervisor Assoc Prof Ty Constante, they connected with Expression Music founder Ms Lily Chiam and expanded the project to Brunei. Natalie shared, “I initially envisioned my sole task to be teaching students, but the process of collaborating with overseas partners showed me all the behind-the-scenes planning required. The exposure I gained in planning and administration was beneficial and will certainly help me in future initiatives.”
Bali Excursion & Study Tour
From 11 to 26 May, YST held the 11th Bali Excursion & Study Tour, an intensive trip where students learned about and engaged in traditional Indonesian music and dance. This trip saw five YST students – Cindy Honanta (Year 3, Voice), Felita Eleonora (Year 2, Harp), Lee Chaeyeong (Year 3, Percussion), Muse Ye ('19, Piano) and Ng Siang Yee (Year 4, Music & Society) – taking part alongside two NUS students and four students from the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, Thailand. Accompanying and coordinating the trip were Professional Integration faculty Assoc Prof Ty Constante and Teaching Assistant Ms Miao Kaiwen. Over the two weeks, the students intensively studied traditional Balinese and Sudanese music and dance, presenting what they learned in a final performance at the Bunutan Village Festival in Ubud. Aside from the music-making, students were also immersed in local culture, visiting a temple to watch a performance, as well as Tunjuk village to learn about and watch wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre). Taking on a new musical culture was a meaningful challenge. Cindy shared, “As a Western classical musician, I was initially quite bewildered when we were not given any music scores to learn from.” Siang Yee added, “Music scores can sometimes create a barrier between musicians in a group; this trip made me more aware of ensemble collaboration. We learned to better listen to other musicians in the group, and forged new friendships with tripmates and local musicians, with music as the common language that we share.”
Evolving with Musical Traditions
YST Composition teaching assistant and alumnus Dr Chow Jun Yan was selected to take part in the ASEAN Youth Ensemble (AYE) Music of ASEAN – ASEAN Creation Project, organised by the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music (PGVIM, Thailand) in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Thailand. Held from 24 – 31 August 2018, the project aimed to create dialogues between ASEAN country traditions through music. Over the course of the project, performers and composers engaged in workshops and concerts, as part of the PGVIM International Symposium on Music and SocioCultural Development 2018, which explored metamorphoses in musical styles and meanings over time. Participants came from a wide range of countries, including Germany, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, each bringing experience and knowledge in traditional instruments from their culture. The project culminated in a finale with the ASEAN Creations Concert, where seven compositions with different combinations of traditional instruments were presented. Jun Yan presented his composition for erhu, flute and percussion, titled Nostalgic Portrait, at the concert.
Listen to Jun Yan's piece Nostalgic Portrait:
bit.ly/junyan-np Jun Yan performing at a workshop.
Held on 23 January, Students(‘) Present was a day-long mini-conference showcasing the diversity and creativity of student projects undertaken through courses offered at YST, in line with the upcoming Performers(‘) Present international artistic research symposium. During their studies, YST students, along with NUS students enrolled in music modules at YST, take on a wide range of unique and original research and performance-based projects. The number of courses open to NUS students has also greatly increased over the years, bringing in greater interactions and collaborations with disciplines outside of music which are in turn reflected in the projects. Presentations were drawn from modules ranging from Introduction to Classical Music Composition to General Education module: Social and Cultural Studies Through Music. The 18 presentations provided a snapshot of a typical term at YST and the ongoing creative work here, culminating in a final student-directed concert. The 2019 Performers(‘) Present International Artistic Research Symposium (October) explores the theme Telling Stories in relation to music today. Learn more:
Minor in Music & Society for NUS Students
From the 2018/19 academic year, NUS students from other faculties can obtain a Minor in Music & Society by completing 24 modular credits of YST modules as well as other Music & Society electives offered through Southeast Asian Studies and Communications & New Media. These studies extend one’s musical exposure, considering music in social, political, economic and aesthetic contexts. NUS students may also take individual modules in areas including compositional study, contextual engagement, General Education, as well as applied modules in voice ensemble performance, electronic music, keyboard studies, world music and jazz. Check out the modules offered to NUS students this coming semester:
International exposure adds immense value to an artist’s development, and at YST we support our students as they go places. In the 2018/2019 academic year, six students took part in semester-long exchange programme with our partner schools. In addition, 131 students benefitted from the Student Artistic Development Fund which enabled them to take part in festivals, competitions and projects overseas last year. YST Students on Exchange Programmes AY 2018/2019 Chang Mindy ('19, French Horn) – College of Music, Mahidol University Emilea Teo (Year 4, Recording Arts & Sciences) – Royal Conservatoire The Hague Goh Mok Cheong ('19, Bassoon) – Geneva University of Music Grace Tan See Von ('19, Oboe) – Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki Joey Tan (Year 4, Composition) – Royal Conservatoire The Hague Shubhangi Amitkumar Das (Year 4, Voice) – Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media Andrea Gabriel Gelcich (Viola) – Royal Conservatoire The Hague on exchange at YST "The best part about exchange is seeing why composers wrote what they wrote! Seeing Schumann’s inspirations for his Lieder on spring or Strauss’s inspirations for his waltzes for the Danube was eye-opening. I also learnt how to perform operatic roles with passion and ardour through coaching and acting classes at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. Gaining long-lasting friendships and a fresh perspective on life was the cherry on top!" - Shubhangi Amitkumar Das (Year 4, Voice)
The Year in Two Seasons
Each semester, we reflect on and respond to a central season theme, We look back on our past two seasons, Music & Motion and Evolutions & Revolutions, and the key events that unfolded.
Music & Motion
In the first semester, we explored the central theme Music & Motion, casting the focus on music with a dimension of dance (with works such as Ravel's La Valse and Beethoven's 7th Symphony), as well as the concept of being moved by music.
Aziel Verner ('19, Violin, on left)Â with theÂ Juilliard Quartet. As part of Juilliard Quartet's residency at YST, Aziel, Rodion Synchyshyn (Year 4, Violin), Ho Qian Hui ('19, Viola) and Jamshid Saydikarimov ('19, Cello) took turns to play in the renowned ensemble at a noon recital.
The Conservatory Orchestra performing Liszt with Prof Thomas Hecht (on left), and with multimedia visuals by Mervin Wong ('18, Viola, on right) linked to Ravel's La Valse.
Paul Lewis in recital. He has been performing a cycle of Li Ru-Wei (Year 4, Clarinet) playing alongside Dimitri four recitals at YST exploring the music of Haydn, Brahms Ashkenazy in a wind chamber ensemble. and Beethoven, and presents the concluding recital at the Conservatory in the upcoming season.
Voyage Marks 15 Years of Artistic Excellence
In August 2018, we celebrated our 15th anniversary and partnership with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University with a gala concert, which then kick-started Voyage, a week-long alumni-curated festival held at YST. The gala concert was graced by Guest of Honour Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, as well as Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung. Around 600 people attended the gala, which was also live-streamed on Facebook with over 9,000 views. Watch the gala livestream video:
bit.ly/yst-gala19 The Alumni Festival Orchestra, comprising current students and alumni, under the baton of Kahchun Wong ('11, Composition).
A quartet with Prof Qian Zhou (left) and (from right) Assoc Prof Tony Makarome, Du Rui ('08, Violin) and Gabriel Hoe ('19, Piano).
Early music ensemble Red Dot Baroque, which was founded by Alan Choo ('12, Violin) and includes members from YST faculty, alumni and students. A quintet with (from left) Keng-Yuen Tseng (Singapore Chair of Strings, Peabody), Zhang Yuchen (Year 4, Violin), and YST Strings faculty Guennadi Mouzyka, Assoc Prof Qin Li-Wei and Assoc Prof Zhang Manchin.
Prof Thomas Hecht and Dr Abigail Sin (BMus '10, GD '14) joining forces on Ravel's La Valse.
Gala emcees (from left) Mick Lim ('18, Composition) and Jade Tan Shi Yu ('17, Voice). Jade spearheaded the creation of the Voyage festival alongside co-director Mervin Wong ('18, Viola) and an organising team.
From 21-26 August, the Voyage Festival brought together more than 70 YST graduates, who curated and presented a series of seven concerts and two panel discussions. The concerts sought to redefine classical music conventions by incorporating multidisciplinary elements, transforming spaces with multimedia visuals, and creating delightful musical surprises - and each concert saw full attendance and a waitlist for entry. The panel discussions explored perspectives on Singapore's creative landscape and pathways forward.
Transforming the Conservatory Atrium (on left) and the Conservatory Orchestra Hall with light projections.
Panellists sharing insights on navigating Singapore's creative landscape.
Alumni Phang Kok Jun ('15, Composition, on erhu) and Daniel Wong ('17, Recording Arts & Sciences) playing jazz alongside Assoc Prof Tony Makarome.
Alumni-formed ensemble Lorong Boys raising the roof.
Syncretic music ensemble Open Score Project, which was co-founded by Syafiqah 'Adha Sallehin (BMus '13, MMus '16, Composition), in concert.
Singapore, Germany in Musical Harmony: Beethoven im Garten
In partnership with the German Embassy in Singapore and the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, we celebrated German-Singaporean friendship with a musical jamboree in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Our Conservatory Orchestra and Nuremberg Symphony musicians performed Beethoven's 7th Symphony, which was described by Wagner as the "apotheosis of the dance". The combined orchestra was led by Kahchun Wong ('11, Composition), the Nuremberg Symphony's first Singaporean and Asian Chief Conductor.
We were pleased to be joined by German Ambassador Dr Ulrich Sante; Prof Chan Heng Chee,Â Ambassador-at-Large and National Arts Council Chairman, and an audience of around 6000.
In addition to concert rehearsals, we were delighted to open up the music-making to children of Project Infinitude from community organisation Child at Street 11. The children got to sit within the orchestra and experience orchestral music-making up close.
Watch the highlights from Beethoven im Garten:
Evolutions & Revolutions
Our second semester explored the central theme Evolutions & Revolutions, celebrating transformations in artistic identity, history and culture, and time and space - as well as excellent, collaborative music-making.
Ensemble Dialoghi, one of Europe's leading exponents of historically-informed performance, presenting a light moment of musical theatre on stage.
Leading tuba player Ă˜ystein Baadsvik in concert with the YST Wind Consort, YST Big Brass and faculty.
Tianjin Juilliard School faculty members (from left) Gergeley IttzĂŠs, Zhang Daxun and Guillaume Sutre performed and gave masterclasses.
Our Strings students worked with (from left) Shlomo Mintz and Boris Kuschnir in violin masterclasses, while Voice students and the Conservatory Orchestra performed Bach cantatas under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki.
Haydn's Mass in Time of War
The Conservatory Orchestra, Voice area and Chamber Singers under the baton of Principal Conductor Jason Lai performed Haydn's Mass in Time of War. Written following the French Revolution, the Mass epitomises evolving artistic identity late in life in revolutionary ways. The concert also paid homage to Haydn's piano works and his legacy as "Father of the String Quartet".
Watch the concert livestream, featuring special backstage interviews and rehearsal footage:
Haydn Mass soloists (from left) Maggie Lu Pei-Yun ('19, soprano), Shubhangi Das (Year 4, soprano), Kester Tay (Year 3, bass) and Baek Jongwoo ('19, tenor).
Mervyn Lee ('19, Piano) playing on a Paul McNulty fortepiano gifted by Mr Goh Yew Lin.
The Cantato String Quartet, comprising Arisa Ikeda ('19, Violin), Pei Yi-Ting (Year 4, Violin), Ho Qian Hui ('19, Viola), and Wang Yuqi (Year 4, Cello).
Intersections Coming Full Circle
The Intersections tour brought to a full circle the partnership between YST and the Korea National University of Arts (KNUA), with our Conservatory Orchestra presenting a pre-tour concert in Singapore at the Esplanade Concert Hall, and performing in Seoul at the KNUA Hall. This follows the KNUA Symphony Orchestra's visit to YST in December 2018, where they were conducted by Principal Conductor Jason Lai with Ho Qian Hui ('19, Viola) as soloist.
Intersections recognised cultural connections, combining British dimensions and Singaporean resonances in its programme, in a nod to Singapore’s bicentennial commemoration and ties between the two countries. Opening and closing the concerts were Vaughan Williams’ homage to Thomas Tallis and Walton’s Violin Concerto with a dazzling violin solo by Prof Qian Zhou (below, left). The Conservatory Orchestra was led by Principal Conductor Jason Lai (below, right).
We also premiered a new triple concerto by Composition faculty member Asst Prof Chen Zhangyi, featuring Chinese instrumental soloists (from left below) Likie Low (Year 2, Composition) on erhu, Yuru Lee (Year 3, Percussion) and Sulwyn Lok ('19, Recording Arts & Sciences) on zhongruan. The work lent new resonances to the triple concerto form as well as the Chinese instruments, and showcased the vibrant musical identities of our students beyond their majors.
We were honoured to have then-British High Commissioner to Singapore HE Scott Wightman and Singapore Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Mr Yip Wei Kiat attend the Singapore and Seoul concerts respectively. It was also a pleasure welcoming higher music education colleagues and YST alumni based in Korea at the KNUA Hall!
Asst Prof Chen Zhangyi (left) taking a bow.
In numerous ways, the concerts represented a culmination of the ongoing evolutions taking place here – across our student body, programming approaches, and external partnerships.
This year, we asked our graduating cohort to curate and plan the annual concert at the Victoria Concert Hall, which was titled Springing. This was especially significant as the graduating students were the first to have gone through the new curriculum that was inspired by our guiding principle ‘Listen in New Light’, and focused on ever-emerging professional and artistic identities. In turn, the concert was itself inspired by concepts of evolution and a fitting anticipation of the artistic change they will go on to create.
Sounding Now Festival
Sounding Now is an annual festival of contemporary music led by Assoc Prof Peter Edwards that brings together divergent contemporary practices, connecting people across artistic communities to explore how their approaches and interests (such as concert music, installation, electronics and improvisation) intersect. This year, the festival welcomed Singapore-based ensembles OpusNovus, Wu Xian and Ding Yi Music Company; United States-based Passepartout Duo; ensemble-in-residence saxophone duo Landman/Stadler from Switzerland; as well as 15 student composers from nine institutions around the world, whose works were exhibited digitally in the Conservatory in “portrait concerts”. Alongside festival presentations and performances, the students participated in roundtable discussions where they exchanged musical ideas with one another.
Listen to the Portrait Concerts:
Charting Pathways: Class of 2019
This year, we recognise 58 BMus and MMus graduates, who embark on the exciting next stage of their personal and professional journeys. In celebration of the graduating class of 2019, we captured seven BMus students' stories about their musical journeys and aspirations. Across their stories, several themes ring clear: the importance of well-rounded capabilities across performance, composition, production and engagement; the rich value of collaborative music-making; and through it all, the centrality of artistic identity as a driver for excellence.
Creating Distinct Harmonies Mindy Chang (BMus '19, Horn)
“You need to be clear on your vision. Know what you need to do and what you want to achieve." Beginning her music journey in the Singapore National Youth Orchestra at the age of 16, Mindy studied events management, and subsequently horn performance at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts before coming to YST – a longer road than some of her peers, but ultimately one that gave her space to grow as a musician. Mindy shares that her mentors' trust in allowing her to set her own pace and path was most impactful for her. “During lessons with my major teacher Jamie Hersch, we worked on not only musical technique but also the mental and emotional aspects of being a horn player. He trusted me to take ownership of what I needed most; I would not be the same musician without him.”
From top: Mindy playing in Singalaywan, and with Thai ensemble Horn Pure and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Horns while in Thailand.
Chamber music was key in Mindy’s journey. While at YST, she formed a woodwind quintet Singalaywan with peers. In her final year, she went on exchange at the College of Music, Mahidol University. “Being in Singalaywan has helped me develop the nuances of my music, blend it with a group, discover new chapters of sound, and exercise leadership with empathy. I’m grateful for our teachers Assoc Prof Zhang Jin Min and Artist Faculty Ma Yue, who push us to live up to the standard we can be. And working with the musicians in Thailand really changed my perspective on music-making. I was struck by their passion, community spirit and willingness to learn from each other.”
Mindy will join the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA), where students learn from playing alongside professional orchestra musicians, in partnership with the New York Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Having attended a one-week residency there, Mindy said, “I chose the SOA for its modern, applied approach, international environment, diverse faculty and collaborations with leading orchestras. I believe it will be a challenging experience that will build my skills as an orchestral musician.”
A Grounded Tone
Jamshid Saydikarimov (BMus '19, Cello)
Originally from Uzbekistan, Cello graduate Jamshid will join the Singapore Symphony Orchestra alongside fellow Violin graduate Kong Xianlong – an exciting new step in his extensive musical journey from childhood. Growing up in musical family with his father a singer and his mother a cellist, Jamshid began his musical involvement from a young age, playing in international competitions, festivals and performances in Austria, France, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine. At YST, he continued this strong trajectory, working with artists such as Gábor TakácsNagy and Shlomo Mintz, as well as ensembles such as the Juilliard, London Haydn, Endellion and New Zealand String Quartets. Deepening his involvement in Singapore and Southeast Asia, he also played in the String Orchestra of Surabaya (Indonesia), the Sun Symphony Orchestra (Vietnam, as guest principal cellist), and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (on a freelance basis). He further received 2nd Prize in the 2018 YST Conservatory Concerto Competition, distinguishing himself among his peers.
From top: Jamshid with Assoc Prof Albert Tiu (at piano) in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2, and playing with the Juilliard Quartet.
On his YST experience, Jamshid shares, “Lessons with my major teacher Ng PeiSian were about not just playing the cello, but also life, art, and how these connect to music. These moments will always stay with me. We also get to use rare, top-quality instruments from the Rin Collection, which is truly incredible. It’s hard to find such opportunities and support elsewhere in the world.” Asked about his future outlook and what he would share with others, his response is a calm, grounded one. “Whatever the future holds, keep practicing – no one asks for your degree when you go for a competition or audition! Keep listening, exploring and refining – to build your own music and style.”
Composing with Courage Ding Jian Han (BMus '19, Composition)
“Composition goes beyond knowing its grammatical structures or having a wide vocabulary – you need to understand music as a language.” This statement speaks not only to Jian Han’s craft as a composer, but also his personal journey. A key learning experience was working with Visiting Artist Steven Schick in 2017, when he conducted a concert including one of Jian Han’s works. "At the time, I was struggling with my vision for the work and communicating effectively with the musicians. But Mr Schick was extremely patient in helping us bring the piece together. He even insisted on doing a good recording of the piece for me, which was such a kind gesture from him. This was truly a game-changer for me, that spurred me to grow even more as a musician.” Jian Han has brought his works to various stages, premiering Let me run ‘til I fade away. at the 2018 Concerto Competition Grand Finals and receiving 3rd Prize in the 2018 Asian Composers League Young Composers Competition for his Duet for Clarinet in Bb and Contrabass. He received the 2018/19 S R Nathan Music Scholarship and plans on further studies in Germany, having been on exchange at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. Reflecting on his path, he speaks with gratitude towards his mentors. “My Major teachers, Assoc Prof Peter Edwards and Mr Martin Jaggi, helped me develop a solid composition foundation and personal voice. Asst Prof Chen Zhangyi has also been an important mentor to me.” If composition involves expressing one’s voice, it also requires courage to stand by one's artistic choices. Jian Han says, “Over the past four years, I’ve learned to break through personal challenges, and discovered my own artistic voice. There will always be voices saying your music is too ‘conventional’ or ‘avant-garde’. It's not easy, but ultimately you need to remember who you are and be confident in your goals."
Jian Han taking a bow after premiering his work with the Conservatory Orchestra at the 2018 Concerto Competition Grand Finals.
Connecting Within and Across Teo Shao Ming (BMus '19, Flute)
Compared to his peers, Shao Ming charts a rather different career pathway - he will be the first from YST to work in the Singapore Armed Forces Band. Beginning music in his secondary school wind band, Shao Ming credits YST alumni Lim Yean Hwee ('07, Horn) and Kelly Loh ('12, Flute), and his first flute teacher Ms Wang Tong, as important early mentors. After completing a Diploma in Music at LASALLE College of the Arts, he signed on as an army regular in the SAF Band, where he received the Fellowship of the Trinity College London. On why he then chose to come to YST, Shao Ming says, “I didn’t actually think I would get in given the competition, but I wanted to pursue something further. While I did consider studying overseas, here we have masterclasses almost weekly, and valuable opportunities and networks. My classmates have travelled from abroad to be here. Why would I leave?” A particularly impactful experience was attending flutist Lee Soyoung's masterclass last year. “She truly connected the music to the composer’s life. In turn, I ask my own students to do research before beginning a new piece and tell me three facts about the composer.” Outside of music, Shao Ming strongly encourages connecting with the ecosystem. “Don’t just stay in the same context! Through interacting with people from other NUS faculties, I’ve learned about many things from time management and life planning.” In his senior year, he and a team of YST students provided professional music instruction to students and contributed to teaching practices in Brunei and Malaysia. One feels from him a strong, self-directed drive to maximise every opportunity. Where does it come from? Shao Ming shares, “At first, I struggled with self-doubt. But I gradually overcame it as I gained insights from YST
From top: Shao Ming playing at the Victoria Concert Hall, and coaching students in East Malaysia on flute technique.
alumni and other senior musicians, while also interacting with people earlier on in their musical journey and seeing ways that I could grow myself. For people considering music professionally, talk to people around you and get advice! There are lots of ways to be involved - find what you like, and once you do, go for it.”
Shining On- and Off-stage Maggie Lu Pei Yun (BMus '19, Voice)
For Taiwanese Voice graduate Maggie, her time at YST was a rich journey in more ways than one, that saw her take the spotlight and go beyond the stage. “Even as a performer, I have been interested in production. In junior high school, I did administrative work for the Taipei Wind Orchestra & Symphonic Band and Taiwan Youth Festival Choir.” Coming to YST, Maggie wasted no time getting involved in the Conservatory's vibrant production activities, working at front of house and taking on student assistantships. “My first major project was coordinating Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants’ visit. It was challenging managing all the details alongside regular school work, but the most fulfilling thing was connecting with the artists. I am grateful to the YST Programming & Productions team for their patience and support throughout the process!” Equally, Maggie’s performance experience was key in her growth. She shares, “It has been a privilege working with Maestro Masaaki Suzuki every year! His attention to nuances really left a strong impact on me, and helped me build my understanding of Baroque music.” Another highlight for Maggie was also working on art song with collaborative pianist Roger Vignoles.
From top: Maggie in performance with Masaaki Suzuki, and volunteering with inclusive arts movement Superhero Me.
Navigating a young musician's path overseas is not easy, and Maggie thanks Head of Voice Prof Alan Bennett for his guidance. “Rather than pushing us towards a certain route, he listens to us and then shares his insights. He teaches us to focus on our vocal health, so as to achieve our long-term performance aspirations. And
YST students really take care of each other; it helped me feel at home!” It comes as no surprise that Maggie will continue to pursue diverse activities after graduation. She will sing the role of Mercedes in the Singapore Lyric Opera’s 2019 production of Carmen, and do further work in production alongside performing. Asked what she would share with others, she says, “Go beyond the performing stage, and understand the different parts that make a production. Whatever role you take, whether onstage or offstage, be 100% in that role!”
A Musician in Context Lin Xiangning (BMus '19, Piano)
One could say that Xiangning will have a longer YST journey than others. While studying at the School of the Arts Singapore, she was also in our Young Artist Programme. Having completed a BMus, she will be continuing on to do a MMus here. She shares, “There’s always so much going on at YST, from the many international and local visiting artists, to the academic rigour and depth that stimulated and challenged me every week.” Highlights for her have included hearing András Schiff in the Conservatory, watching the Boston Brass bring the house down, and going on exchange at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “Here, the only limit is your appetite for learning, to keep up with it all!” She credits her Major teachers, whose guidance has been central in her decision to continue at YST. “My teachers, Head of Keyboard Studies Prof Thomas Hecht and Assoc Prof Albert Tiu, have given me different perspectives that I needed at each stage of learning. Mr Tiu built my intuition and sensitivity towards the details that distinguish a refined and mediocre performance. Studying with Prof Hecht now, we focus on conceptual understanding and truly translating it into playing. There is still so much more to learn!” Another notable experience was curating Springing, the senior class concert held in the Victoria Concert Hall. “This was my first time working in production, from curation and programming to marketing and coordination. I saw how as a performer, my performance is really part of a larger context with many other elements going into each concert.”
From top: Playing in open studio class; a moment from Springing
While she will continue focusing on performance in the immediate next stage, it is not the only path she has set her eyes on. “Performing will always be a part of me; at the same time, I would also like to go into research. I am interested in systemic musicology – looking at music in a wider contemporary context and exploring interdisciplinary possibilities in areas such as cognitive science. Through these, I seek to continually (re)contextualise my experience and understanding of music.”
Creating Ever-New Synergies Sulwyn Lok (BMus '19, Recording Arts & Sciences)
Graduation marks the completion of one’s undergraduate journey. For Sulwyn, it’s a milestone to celebrate, but no cause to slow down his lively pace as a composer, producer, conductor and educator. In May, the film ADAM, for which he composed music, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. This year, he premieres a work commissioned by Sichuan Symphony-affilliated Tianzi Chinese Ensemble, and has arrangements performed by the Purple Symphony and Singapore Chinese Orchestra. He was Festival Artist in the Music Society of Myanmar’s 2019 Festival. As part of audio-video company Poco Productions which he co-founded, he recorded for prominent local ensembles. The day after Commencement, he conducted the Victoria Chinese Orchestra in concert. To top it all, he graduates as class valedictorian. One is struck by his incredibly multi-faceted musical identity. He began as a Chinese instrumentalist, playing the zhongruan. During National Service he began composing for Chinese Orchestra and doing percussion arrangements for the Rainbow Centre and Pathlight School. He shares, "Production has expanded my sonic palette, and helped me listen to sound critically - extremely important for a composer. The digital music techniques I learned help me create distinctive sonic identities in the
Behind the scenes of a concert. Photo by Zhou Xiaodong
films I compose for.” Composition also informs his audio production. “More than a technical exercise, it’s evoking emotion with technique and artistry.” Having started out self-taught, Sulwyn is glad for his holistic BMus education. “It sharpened my technical skills, expanded my thinking and honed my leadership.” At the same time, he notes that being self-taught makes him more adventurous in creating musical fusions across cultures. “With YST's support, I have been able to explore musical connections in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.” With these diverse musical influences, Sulwyn hopes to eventually further his studies in film composition. “I want to be a bridge between films and audiences – to draw on the richness of cultures and create new art for the world.” We look forward to what he will create!
Accompanying silent films with live music at Alliance Française's International Music Day. Photo by Arron Teo Art/Photography
AnÂ Ever-GrowingÂ Community
We seek to give music greater resonance in the wider landscape, and engage diverse audiences through our craft.
Connecting With Community Joining Hands To Enhance Community Wellness Through Music: MOU with Sengkang General Hospital
On 7 September 2018, the YST Conservatory and the Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, welcoming further collaboration to enrich and enhance the well-being of the community through music as part of the Arts in Healing Programme.
Since 2015, YST students have been involved in initiatives to bring the arts to staff and patients at SKH at their temporary site in Alexandra Hospital. These included monthly lunchtime concerts, fundraising performances, interactive concerts as well as in-ward performances. A jointly created CD of healing music titled Friends in Harmony was launched in 2016, given to hospital patients and played in waiting areas as well as during MRI scans, to enhance patient and staff well-being.
"This partnership truly gives an extra edge to standard healing through means such as medication. Our patients appreciate the work done by YST students and have been moved.”
YST was also honoured to join in SKH’s milestone celebration of the opening of their new facilities in Sengkang on 23 March 2019, officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. For the event, YST students performed United as One Team written by SKH staff psychologist Ms Audrey Bay, which was arranged for strings, harp and clarinet by YST composition student Yang Ting-Ting. A student brass quintet also performed at the opening festival. Speaking at the memorandum signing, Prof Christopher Cheng, CEO of Sengkang Health shared, “This partnership truly gives an extra edge to standard healing through means such as medication. Our patients appreciate the work done by YST students and have been moved.”
A Celebration of Choral Singing
YST Conservatory and the NUS Mind Science Centre collaborated to host A Celebration of Choral Singing on 2 February 2019 - a musical evening in more ways than one.
The evening opened with a reception marking milestones and welcoming further funding support for the Choral Singing for the Prevention of Dementia Study, led by Asst Prof Feng Lei of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Prof Bernard Lanskey, Dean of the YST Conservatory gave an insightful welcome to guests, donors, and fellow music aficionados to start off the happenings. Adding to the event, Maestro Masaaki Suzuki, Ong Teng Cheong Visiting Professor in Music at YST, shared his personal experiences on the power of music, ahead of the night’s concert where he would conduct YST’s Conservatory Orchestra and singers alongside international soloists in Bach’s cantatas. The highlight of the reception was the senior citizens’ choir, who performed a series of songs with much vigour and enthusiasm. Since 2015, the senior citizens have been engaged in weekly choir rehearsals held at YST as part of the study. The senior citizens’ choir has since performed at occasions such as the Enabling Festival, and shown encouraging results. Guests further got to hear more about the study from Dr Feng Lei and mingle, before proceeding to the Bach Cantata Series concert.
Waves of Inclusivity
On 24 March 2019, a team of eight first and second year students presented The Deep Blue Sea, a multi-sensory musical experience for children with sensory difficulties, as well as their family and caretakers. A total of about 100 participants attended the performance, across two shows. Created over the course of three months as part of YST’s Career Development Group Project module, the concert aimed to provide an inclusive, safe and fun environment for participants to enjoy classical music and explore musical instruments. From scripting, arranging, making props and graphic design, to consulting educators and arts practitioners on creating for people with special needs, the team comprised Elicia Neo (Music, Collaboration & Production), Felita Eleonora (Harp), Lee Yu Ru (Percussion), Wong Yong En (Music, Collaboration & Production, photo right), Shi Jia Ao (Bassoon, photo left), Tay Shu Wen (Piano), Viktoriya Klyukina (Flute) as well as Charmaine Tay (NUS Architecture) (Yu Ru in Year 3, all others Year 2) Elicia shared, “Often, children with special needs and their families are not able to attend typical classical concerts together. Traditional concert lighting and repertoire are not always comfortable for the children, and the formal etiquette can often make families afraid of causing a disturbance during the concert.” Mei Lan from the group Friends of ASD Families added, “Deep Blue Sea provided children with exposure to classical music in a way which was engaging, accessible and imaginative. For families in our community, a trip to catch a performance can be a challenge – but this was a relaxed performance where even the children who needed more time to settle in were not left behind and could enjoy the show. The music truly worked its wonders, and our gratitude goes to the team for creating such a soothing, enchanting space for us all!”
Ecosystem in Bloom
In addition to YST’s in house events, our students, staff and faculty have been busy all year in a suite of activities in partnership with a host of arts organisations. From acting as venue supporter to leading programmes and festivals both in YST and beyond, YST Conservatory continues to contribute to the music ecosystem of Singapore and the region! Some of the examples this year include: Singapore Band Clinic (September 2018) YST Double Reed Day (September 2018) Singapore International String Conference (December 2018) NUS Symphony Orchestra: Miniatures (January 2019) YST Piano Academy (March 2019) Young Composers Academy (March 2019) Voice Pedagogy Conference (March 2019) Choral Directors’ Association of Singapore (May 2019) Singapore Violin Festival (June 2019) Singapore International Piano Festival (June 2019) Organ Academy Singapore (June 2019) Flute Festival Singapore (July 2019) SkillsFuture Festival at NUS (July 2019) Singapore International Low Brass Academy (July 2019) NUS Mind Science Centre Re:Sound Collective Red Dot Baroque Other performing arts festivals
Out and About
Beyond our concert hall, YST students also performed in a variety of spaces in Singapore throughout the semester. Thank you to our hosts for providing these platforms! Â Asian Civilisations Museum Changi Airport Singapore University of Technology and Design Victoria Concert Hall Tanglin Trust School NUSS Suntec City Guild House Sengkang Health National University Hospital Singapore Botanic Gardens Esplanade
We celebrate the achievements of our students, faculty and alumni, as they forge pathways and connections within and beyond the Conservatory.
Student Achievements Adriana Chiew (Year 4, Piano) and Gabriel Hoe (‘19, Piano) won 3rd prize in 2018 North West International Piano Ensemble Competition (Canada) as part of their piano duo duodentity. Aziel Verner (‘19, violin) won 3rd place and the Holdsworth Family Bach Prize (for the best performance of a work by J.S. Bach) at the 2018 Gisborne International Music Competition (New Zealand). The Brassissimo Brass Quintet was awarded the American Brass Quintet Fellowship to attend the 2019 Aspen Music Festival & School. The quintet consists of Phan Thanh Binh (Year 3, Trumpet), Jid-Anan Netthai (Year 3, Trumpet), Yang Katherine (Year 3, Horn), Pawin Pungbua (Year 4, Trombone) and Danilo Ignacio Contreras Osorio (Year 3, Trombone). Chien Chin (Year 1, Violin) received 1st Prize in the 2019 Ilona Fehér International Violin Competition, Senior Category. Edmund Song (Year 4, Double Bass) won 1st place at the 2019 Singapore International Double Bass Music Festival. He Shucong (Graduate Diploma, Violin) won 3rd place at the First International Viktor Tretyakov Violin Competition (Russia). Jamshid Saydikarimov (‘19, Cello) and Kong Xianlong (‘19, Violin) will join the Singapore Symphony Orchestra strings full-time. Jirajet Thawornsiri (‘19, Trombone) was the winner of the 2019 Larry Wiehe Tenor Trombone Competition. Joelle Hsu (Year 1, Viola) received the 2019 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award.
Kenny Ooi (Year 4, Trumpet) was the Founder and Director of the inaugural Penang International Brass Festival.
Lee Jiayi (‘19, Composition) was commissioned by the Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) to compose the work ‘Bloom’, which was performed by the SNYO in Singapore and also on tour to Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Jia Yi was a former trumpet player in the SNYO.
Priscilla Fong (Year 3, Voice) and Sulwyn Lok (‘19, Recording Arts & Sciences), together with alumnus Neil Chan (‘15, Recording Arts & Sciences) and faculty members Leslie Tan and Bethany Nette collaborated with the Singapore International Foundation and Bandung Philharmonic Orchestra to engage refugees from Afghanistan in Indonesia through music workshops. Joined by Ilysia Tan Jiayng (Year 3, Composition), Wong Yong En (Year 2, MCP) and Noah Diggs (‘19, Composition), the group also facilitated a five-part workshop series with Singapore Special Voices, co-creating an original composition about inclusion that was performed at the SG Enable 5th Enabling Employers Awards. Tseng Chieh-An (Year 3, Violin) received 4th prize at the 2018 Sylvia Shu-Te Lee Violin Competition. Svlvia Shu-Te Lee is an eminent violin teacher of many of the world’s successful Taiwanese violinists. The competition drew 130 competitors of Taiwanese origin from all over the world.
Yang Ting Ting (Year 4, Composition) won the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative at East Carolina University Orchestra Composition Competition (USA). Her work ‘Portal’ was subsequently performed by the East Carolina University Symphony and she was also invited to speak at a composition colloquium about her music. ‘Portal’ will also be performed at the upcoming YST Concerto Competition Grand Finals on 30 August 2019.
Faculty Highlights Vice Dean (Professional Integration) Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law was one of three Singaporean individuals who received the 2018 Composers & Authors Society of Singapore Artistic Excellence Award.
Prof Qian Zhou served on the jury of the Long Thibaud Crespin International Violin Competition (France) in October 2018, as well as continuing to lead as Artistic Director of the Singapore Violin Festival and the Singapore International Violin Competition.
Assoc Prof Albert Tiu's Grand Russian CD was lauded in the American Record Guide and named one of Straits Time’s Best Classical Albums 2018, amongst other international accolades. His CD The Classical Elements was also rated 5/5 by International Piano. Both CDs were released on the Centaur label, recorded at YST and produced by Dean, Prof Bernard Lanskey. These achievements were also recognised in the NUS Staff Awards. Assoc Prof Qin Li-Wei served as the Artistic Director of the 2019 Qingdao International Cello Competition.
Assoc Prof Ty Constant and Ms Bethany Nette contributed to the creation of the New Audiences and Innovative Practice (NAIP) Bank of Resources, which provides materials on topics such as cross-arts collaboration, online learning, and mentoring. The project is coordinated by the Iceland University of the Arts, supported by the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme, and involves numerous other music colleges in Europe and the UK in driving curricular innovation and interdisciplinary dialogue in higher education. Asst Prof Chen Zhangyi’s composition Vanda was performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at the National Day Concert in 2018. He further premiered his set of Singapore Trilogy chamber operas (October 2018) and Concerto For Erhu, Zhongruan, Percussion and Ensemble in the Conservatory Orchestra tour to Seoul (April 2019).
Dr Kat Agres was one of four scientific organisers of the Lorentz Centre Workshop on Music, Computing and Health in Leiden, Netherlands in March 2019. The event focused on the ideation and future creation of music technologies for healthcare and well-being, drawing from music cognition, computing, music information retrieval (MIR), music therapy, and medical technology.
Alumni Updates Diana Soh (‘07, Composition), Phang Kok Jun (‘15, Composition) and Lee Jinjun (’16, Trumpet) were commissioned by the Ministry of Education to write the 2019 Singapore Youth Festival set pieces for the Choir, Chinese Orchestra, and Concert Band Arts Presentations respectively. Hou Chuan-An (‘11, Trumpet) was a semi-finalist in the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition (Brass Instruments). Lee Jinjun’s (‘16, Trumpet) composition The Red Longkang was premiered by the Orchestra of the Music Makers, with whom he also made his conducting debut. Li Churen (‘15, Piano) won 1st place in the 2019 Cambridge University Musical Society Concerto Competition. May Loh ('18, Viola) and Tan Shi Yu ('18, Voice) received the Li Siong Tay Postgraduate Scholarship for their Master's studies in Viola and Operatic Studies respectively, under the Tan Kah Kee Foundation. Steven Tanus (‘18, Piano) received the Bronze prize in the 2018 Unheard Notes International Paralympic Piano Competition (USA), and Gold Prize in the visual impairment category. Syafiqah 'Adha Sallehin (BMus ‘13, MMus ‘16, Composition) received the Berita Harian Singapura’s Young Inspiring Achiever Award. Presented by Malay daily Berita Harian, the award is given to recipients aged 30 and below in recognition of their inspiring stories that have touched the hearts of Berita Harian's readers, by attaining success in their respective fields against all odds. Tan Yuting (‘16, Composition) received First Prize in the Macht Orchestral Composition Competition for her work In Fields of Wilted Flowers for orchestra, and in the Virginia Carty DeLillo Composition Competition for her work Play for String Quartet and Harp - the first time someone has won both competitions at the Peabody Institute in the same year. Hsu Tzu Chin (‘17, Composition) received Second Prize in the latter competition for Seascapes, her concerto for violin and orchestra.
Having just celebrated our 15th anniversary last year, we see our alumni creating impact across the wider musical ecosystem - and returning to connect with YST as well. In particular, we are delighted to welcome alumni who have joined us over the years as faculty members, shaping the Conservatory even as they continue to hone their distinctive professional identities and endeavours. These alumni stand alongside numerous others, who continue to be engaged with us through events, projects, and our community at large. Dr Chen Zhangyi
AssistantÂ Professor, Analysis & Composition
Dr Abigail Sin Dr Khoo Hui Ling
Instructors, Contextual Studies
Yap Zi Qi
Senior Manager, Orchestra & Ensembles
Senior Executive, Programming & Productions
Dr Cheryl Lim
Artist Faculty, Flute
Dr Lien Boon Hua
Artist Faculty, Contemporary Music Conductor, OpusNovus
Lau Wen Rong
Artist Faculty, Trumpet
Joachim Theodore Lim
Artist Faculty, Percussion
Cao Can Oleksandr Korniev Gu Bing Jie Wu Dai Dai
Teaching Assistant, Violin Teaching Assistant, Violin Teaching Assistant, Viola Teaching Assistant, Cello
Dr Chow Jun Yan
Teaching Assistant, Analysis & Composition
Bethany May Nette Miao Kaiwen
Teaching Assistants, Professional Integration
Adrian Chiang Chong Wailun Christopher Clarke Gabriel Lee Keane Ong Loh Jun Hong Michael Tan
Beatrice Lin Clarence Lee Ge Xiaozhe Matthew Mak
YST Conservatory is grateful to the following organisations and individuals for their generous support:
Ministry of Education For their support in the establishment of a conservatory of music in Singapore Yong Loo Lin Trust Yong Siew Toh Endowment and Scholarship Fund The late Mr Rin Kei Mei and Mrs Rin Rin Collection String Instruments Shaw Foundation The Ones to Watch Concert Series Singapore Totalisator Board Lee Foundation Ong Teng Cheong Professor of Music Friends, faculty, students, alumni of YST Conservatory Steven Baxter Memorial Scholarship Fund The Community Foundation of Singapore SR Nathan Music Scholarship Endowment Fund Prof Kwa Chong Guan & Ms Kwa Kim Hwa Mabel and Soon Siew Kwa Scholarship Mr Goh Geok Khim and Mr Goh Yew Lin Madeline Goh Professorship in Piano Chenter Foundation Chenter Foundation Cathy and Tony Chen Community Outreach Fund Other donors and supporters for their generous contribution towards scholarships and artistic development.
Dean's Circle Lifetime Ambassadors
Prof Alan Bennett Allianz SE, Singapore Branch Ascendas-Singbridge Pte Ltd BMW Asia Pte Ltd Bowen Enterprises Pte Ltd Brotzeit Pte Ltd Prof Bernard Lanskey Assoc Prof Brett Stemple Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law Assoc Prof Craig de Wilde Dr Dang Vu and Ms Oanh Nguyen Deutsche Bank Mrs Doris Sohmen-Pao DZ Bank AG Singapore Branch Evonik (SEA) Pte Ltd Feinmetall Singapore Pte Ltd German European School Singapore German Federal Foreign Office Dr Guy Hentsch Herrenknecht Asia Headquarters Pte Ltd Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Mr J. Heinrich Jessen Dr James C M Khoo Assoc Prof Jason Lai Ms Jenny Ang Kärcher Singapore Private Limited Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg Singapore Branch Prof Lee Eng Hin Lufthansa German Airlines Luther LLP Ms Pang Siu Yuin Dr Paolo Adragna Pepperl+Fuchs Asia Pte Ltd Prof Qian Zhou Ms Rachel Tang Dr Robert Teoh Schaeffler (Singapore) Pte Ltd Mr Tan Wei Boon Prof Thomas Hecht Ms Vivien Goh Assoc Prof Zhang Jin Min Anonymous donors
Ms Gao Jun Mr Goh Geok Khim Mr Goh Yew Lin Mr Hamish McMillan Dyer Mr & Mrs Rin Kei Mei* Mr Tan Kah Tee Mr & Mrs Willy Tan Kian Ping Mr Whang Tar Liang Mr & Mrs Yong Pung How BinjaiTree CapitaLand Chenter Foundation The Community Foundation of Singapore Far East Organisation* Hong Leong Foundation* Keppel Corporation Limited Lee Foundation* National Arts Council Shaw Foundation Singapore Airlines Ltd Singapore Pools Singapore Technologies Electronics Ltd Singapore Technologies Engineering Singapore Technologies Pte Ltd Singapore Technologies Telemedia Singapore Telecommunications Ltd Singapore Totalisator Board Yong Loo Lin Holdings Anonymous donor *Founding Partners of the Singapore International Violin Competition
Mr Goh Yew Lin Paul McNulty Fortepiano Mr Tan Kah Tee Bösendorfer Imperial Model 290 Bösendorfer Johann Strauss
Family of the late Mr Leong Yoon Pin Leong Yoon Pin Manuscripts
Other supporters for their generous contribution towards scholarships and artistic development.
The late Mr SR Nathan Digital music resources from the Madras Music Academy
Governing Board, Senior Management & AdministrationÂ Governing Board
Mr Robert Tomlin
Prof Bernard Lanskey
Secretary (Dean's Office)
Vice Dean Academic Studies & Research
Mr Harris Ang (Interim)
Ms Vivien Goh Ms Pang Siu Yuin Mrs Doris Sohmen-Pao Mrs Valarie Wilson Dr June Goh Ms Kathy Lai
Prof Ho Teck Hua Prof Bernard Lanskey
Board Secretary Ms Rachel Tang
Assoc Prof Craig De Wilde
Vice Dean Professional Integration
Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law
Assistant Dean Performance & Artistic Research
Assoc Prof Brett Stemple
Associate Dean Administration
Ms Rachel Tang
Deputy Director Artistic Administration & Strategic Development
Ms Jenny Ang
Deputy Director Student Life
Mr Tan Wei Boon
Mrs Wendy Lee
Ms Jenny Lee
Admissions & Student Support Ms Chiam Hui Li
Alumni Engagement Mr Harris Ang
Programming & Productions
Ms Tang I Shyan Ms Poo Lai Fong Mr Howard Ng Mr Mike Tan Mr Wah Peng
Orchestra & Ensembles Ms Yap Zi Qi
Communications & Engagement Ms Ong Shu Chen
Finance & Resources Mr Adrian Toh Mr Eddie Low Mr Li Zhi Xian Ms Lim Pei Min Ms Michelle Leong
Academic Faculty (Adjunct)
Brass & Percussion (Adjunct)
Dr Katherine Agres Mr Adrian Chiang Mr Chong Wai Lun Mr Frank Demeglio Dr Sara Florian Mr Daniel Fong Ms Khoo Sim Lyn Mr Gabriel Lee Mr Loh Jun Hong Mr Bani Haykal Mohamed Mr Keane Ong Mr V. Raghuraman Dr Ruth Rodrigues Ms Julie Tan Mr Michael Tan Mr Christopher Clarke Dr Wong Su Sun Ms Chua Jon Lin
Mr Han Chang Chou Mr Jamie Hersch Mr Jon Dante Mr Lau Wen Rong Mr Allen Meek Mr Sam Armstrong Mr Marques Young Mr Jonathan Fox Mr Zhu Zheng Yi Mr Joachim Theodore Lim
Assoc Prof Peter Edwards* Assoc Prof Ho Chee Kong Asst Prof Chen Zhangyi Ms Adeline Wong Mr Martin Jaggi Dr Chow Jun Yan**
Ms Rachel Chen Mr Ge Xiaozhe Ms Evelyn Handrisanto Dr Cherie Khor Mr Clarence Lee Ms Beatrice Lin Mr Nicholas Loh Mr Matthew Mak Ms Teo Li Chin Mr Kerim Vergazov
Audio Arts & Sciences Mr Zhou Xiaodong*
Audio Arts & Sciences (Adjunct)
Mr Sonny Lim Cheng Yin Mr Gao Yang Mr Shah Tahir
Brass & Percussion
Assoc Prof Brett Stemple*
Chamber Music / Collaborative Piano
Mr Lim Yan Dr Choi Hye-Seon Prof Bernard Lanskey Ms Liu Jia
Assoc Prof Jason Lai Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law
Contemporary Music (Adjunct) Dr Lien Boon Hua Mr Martin Jaggi Mr Max Riefer Mr Christoph Wichert Ms Yoon Jung-A
Assoc Prof Craig De Wilde* Assoc Prof Greg Petersen Dr Koo Siaw Sing Dr Marc Rochester Dr Khoo Hui Ling Dr Abigail Sin
Prof Thomas Hecht* Assoc Prof Albert Tiu
Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law* Assoc Prof Shane Taylor Constant Assoc Prof Tony Makarome Yue Ms Bethany May Nette** Ms Miao Kaiwen**
Quartet-In-Residence Tâ€™ang Quartet
Strings & Harp
Prof Qian Zhou* Assoc Prof Zuo Jun Assoc Prof Zhang Manchin Assoc Prof Qin Li-Wei Mr Oleksandr Korniev**
Strings & Harp (Adjunct) Mr Ang Chek Meng Mr Ng Yu-Ying Mr Lionel Tan Mr Ng Pei-Sian Mr Leslie Tan Mr Guennadi Mouzyka Ms Gulnara Mashurova Ms Cao Can** Ms Gu Bingjie** Ms Wu Daidai**
Prof Alan Bennett*
Assoc Prof Zhang Jin Min*
Mr Evgueni Brokmiller Dr Cheryl Lim Ms Rachel Walker Ms Carolyn Hollier Mr Ma Yue
* Area Heads ** Teaching Assistants
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music National University of Singapore 3 Conservatory Drive Singapore 117376 www.ystmusic.nus.edu.sg @YSTConservatory
We look back on highlights, key initiatives and important directions from the 2018/19 academic year at the Conservatory.
Published on Aug 23, 2019
We look back on highlights, key initiatives and important directions from the 2018/19 academic year at the Conservatory.