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resonances Issue 33 I  2018

Foreword The 2017/18 academic year at YST Conservatory has been particularly diverse and fulfilling. This newsletter explores some of the most memorable dimensions of the year just passed, with a special focus on our Class of 2018 graduates. We are also excited to share news of emerging changes in our practice and philosophy, helping position the Conservatory appropriately for the years ahead. We are now 15 years old, and this is our 33rd newsletter. For those who have followed our journey perhaps even from its beginnings, you will notice that this publication has quite a different feel from before. For a start, where previous publications had each covered shorter time periods, this one offers something akin to an informal annual report, documenting highlights from the year. With changes in communication systems, the former newsletter function is now covered much more spontaneously and efficiently through our website, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube - indeed, you may have already seen online some of the happenings shared in here. The close of an academic year does however offer space for reflection, appraisal and anticipation - it is in that spirit that we share this encapsulation of the year. It is heartening to recognise that with every year, more people are connecting with YST and with the music we make. Just as last year offered a whole new range of opportunities for interacting as a community of listeners, we anticipate the coming year - beginning with our 15th anniversary celebrations and with this newsletter - to be a time rich in possibility for listening in new light.

Content Page

Enabling Distinctive Resonance Charting Pathways: Class of 2018 More Ways To Music Collaborative Music-Making The Year In Two Seasons An Ever-Growing Community Resonating Internationally Our Alumni Our People

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Enabling Distinctive Resonance The evolution in our institutional culture over the past 12 months has been significant.

Our Dean, Professor Bernard Lanskey, shares some of the thinking behind these changes and highlights key areas of transformation. 

Enabling Distinctive Resonance

Listening In New Light

While it has now been a few years since the introduction of our guiding statement, ‘Listen in New Light’ - in 2016 during the Performers(‘) Present Festival - this has been the year when it first fully showed the extent of its impact. Many students and faculty have embraced the ‘In New Light’ concept, finding ever-new ways to programme and present themselves, their craft and their music. In this newsletter - particularly in the Charting Pathways section, but also in some exciting new faculty-led initiatives - you will find ample evidence of outstanding projects and approaches. This cultural transformation is not so much new as it is constantly emergent. Following a substantial curriculum review in 2015, our focus has homed in on helping each student develop their distinct individual identity that is contextualised within their surrounding musical environment. Aligned with this change, we have witnessed a substantial increase in our Singaporean student population with a resulting transformation in our student demographic. As students from the renewed academic programme reach their senior undergraduate years, we have begun to hear distinctive artistry emerging, and are seeing how they might illuminate new possibilities in Singapore’s - and Asia’s - musical future. ‘Listen in New Light’ was conceived originally as an encouragement to the community to listen anew in its engagement with YST. But real listening is dialogic: it is just as much about the Conservatory listening - to our students, our staff and faculty, the university, and to the ever-changing local and global society around us. The essence of a good listener’s response is adapting and changing in the context of what is heard. We hope that as our students and faculty have done, the Conservatory is being seen to respond and evolve.

Embracing Change

It is increasingly clear, even in the classical music world, that change is a given which we need to embrace. Where one was once expected to build capacities of excellence to reach the pinnacle of a seemingly static profession, issues of emergent identity have become essential to energising artistic futures and achievements. These are exciting times! Interestingly, this concept of constant transformation is not only for the students building their careers - it is just as relevant for alumni, faculty and for the institution as a whole. It has therefore been heartening to see that our institutional changes are propelled by students, faculty and staff alike; and that the call for artistic leadership is also being taken up by alumni who are spearheading the Voyage Festival that opens our new academic year. 


Of course, embracing change takes courage and the capacity to work with likeminded others. It also requires creativity to value and integrate the virtues of tradition as we discover future possibilities that resonate with the present. Perhaps above all in staying true to the traditions of excellence, what we do particularly when it is new - needs to be convincing! These guiding principles - to engage collaboratively, creatively, courageously and convincingly - have emerged this year as central in articulating our evolving practice.

Transforming Traditions

As part of this process, it has been illuminating to give some thought to tradition itself. The Latin derivation of the word serves as a useful start and a neat image: trans = across; dare = to give (from the past into the future?). At a performance studies symposium in the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, our partner school in the ConNext Network and the International Benchmarking Exercise, I came across an intriguing way of seeing tradition. In Norwegian, there is a verb which would effectively translate as ‘traditioning’. For us, we seek to embrace innovation as part of a continuity, drawing from the strengths of the classic and making it relevant to our contemporary context. Most of the greatest musical works held within them a sense of timeliness - our ambition is to make that essence timeless, and translate its resonance to the here and now.

Resonances: Valuing And Transcending Borders

At our Faculty Away Day in March, we focused on some of these ideas and their implications for our curriculum and teaching and learning culture. An obvious risk in seeking to be more adventurous and relevant in our music-making is that we might be perceived as losing focus on deeper traditions of excellence. We recognise the need for continuity and seek to create a student and community experience where more traditional dimensions of Conservatory identity (e.g. engagement with canonic repertoire, deeply valued performance traditions) and more transformative approaches (e.g. multimedia, contemporary genres, digital platforms, incorporation of technology, improvisational dimensions, community music-making) can share a common space.

"Most of the greatest musical works held within them a sense of timeliness - our ambition is to make that essence timeless, and translate its resonance to the here and now."


Our most exciting projects this year - particularly those connected to our two concert seasons, Nature’s Ways and Dreams and Apparitions - offer rich evidence of valuing the strengths of conventions while also transcending them. To represent this concept of continuity in mapping our evolving focus, we thus chose the word resonance - the capacity to stimulate synchronous vibration in response – as an apt, sonically-derived metaphor. Another change in awareness has been that our students grow not only through a singular focus on one area - performance, composition, production or engagement. Rather, they benefit (individually and collectively) from embracing aspects across all four areas as part of their emerging artistic identity. While they might specialise in one field (e.g. audio arts), there will be times in their careers where they may value being able to compose, to play, to sing, to educate, or to produce. To achieve such versatility, they need to develop an awareness and even some capacity in all fields. Further dimensions where traditional borders have been valued and transcended include the increasingly interesting interplay between programmes and academic assessment (as seen in the Collaborative Music-Making article); between Conservatory activity and University General Education requirements (see the Shaping Tomorrow’s Musician article); between real and virtual performance platforms; and even in individuals changing between the roles of studentship, internship and leadership. Faculty are also becoming more freshformed in the process, integrating fluency with technology in their practice, for example, adopting new teaching approaches and performance formulae or acting in student advisory roles across the Conservatory.

Engaging Collaboratively

This year, we have more consciously placed collaborative music-making at the centre of the learning experience as well as our programming. The Collaborative Music-Making section explores this important dimension in more detail; here I simply want to register the vastness of the range of collaborative interaction possible in all that we do.  

Our Ecosystem

For many years now, YST has positioned itself as Asia’s international conservatory. Increasingly, our local and regional context gives us an exciting platform to make meaningful connections and position ourselves even more distinctively. As we reach out internationally, we bear in mind that our identity becomes even stronger when we seize opportunities to connect with our roots in the University, in Singapore, in Southeast Asia and in Asia. Such conscious engagement with our ecosystem has come to the fore, and offers a most immediate opportunity for evolving our identity into the future.  


Bringing These Concepts Together Through Music-Making

Many of the above concepts are quite complex and multi-layered, involving constant questioning of permeable and malleable boundaries. To borrow from a metaphor first shared by Goethe (“Music is liquid architecture”), music is indeed incredibly liquid in its essence. To represent this constant movement, we begin our new year with a series of images, including the key words shared above assembled in crossword form.

Just as our logo is in a constant state of flux, this crossword image too offers opportunity for constant transformation - apt for the past year of change in university leadership and the Singapore educational landscape, and a new academic year that again exemplifies the flowing nature of our art and our times. With these ideas in mind, our theme for the upcoming concert season – Music & Motion – speaks to the virtue of questioning the moment and embracing change as potential for future evolution.


Charting Pathways: Class of 2018 This year, we welcome 54 BMus graduates (including 2 on the Joint Degree Programme

with Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University) and 4 MMus graduates who were conferred their degrees in July. In celebration of the graduating class of 2018, we captured nine students' stories about the rich journeys they embarked on at YST. And we are proud to note student endeavours that help move the needle for the arts in YST and in the Singapore community.

ATeerapol Resounding Fanfare Kiatthaveephong (Kong), BMus '18, Trumpet

Class of 2018 Trumpet graduate Teerapol Kiatthaveephong (Kong) is on track to becoming a professional orchestral trumpet player. Over the past few years, he has played in top concert venues with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), the YST Conservatory Orchestra, as well as his prize-winning brass quintet, Brass Lightyear.

While studying at YST, Kong was under the tutelage of Mr Jon Dante, YST Artist Faculty and Principal Trumpet of SSO. Sharing about lessons with Mr Dante, Kong says, “He says the truth and keeps it real. It can sometimes be hard to hear - but that’s the way we improve.” Kong also appreciates that he was encouraged to be a holistic musician - outside of the classroom, he has nurtured a keen interest in photography. Sharing a memorable piece of advice from his time at YST, he says, "Head of Brass & Percussion, Assoc Prof Brett Stemple would always tell me: Don't be exactly like other musicians - be like Kong!" On his life at YST and after graduation, Kong says, “My life at YST has been spectacular! Although I am a bit sad to be leaving the YST family for now, with my orchestra experience, the wide variety of repertoire I have learned, the inspiring faculty and supportive administration, and the great venues I have been able to perform in, I feel well-prepared for my future performance career and am confident for what lies ahead.”


Finding Creative Voice Through Music Rachel Lim, BMus '18, Voice (Soprano)

“Every person has a creative voice, which can be used for self-expression and connection with others.” This is a key belief that Rachel Lim brings in her work approach, which she has developed during her time at YST and applied in her community engagement endeavours. Notably, she served as a project assistant for Project Infinitude in early 2017, a ten-week music program for 20 children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with disabilities. The experience set her thinking about her broader role as a musician and, in her own words, “how much music could make a difference to the wider community”. In addition, she facilitated Transitions, a series of monthly workshops at the Children’s Cancer Foundation Learning Centre, which sought to build the confidence of children recovering from cancer through music creation and story-making. Rachel was also co-director for The Enchanted Garden, an original multi-disciplinary show created for children who are vulnerable or have sensory processing difficulties, which was presented at numerous special needs schools in Singapore. This project was started as part of the Career Development Group Project, a YST module. Rachel was awarded the Tan Kah Kee Foundation Li Siong Tay Scholarship and the National Arts Council Arts Scholarship (Postgraduate) to pursue a Master in Music focusing on Vocal Pedagogy at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She aims to contribute to the development of vocal arts practices and create a more inclusive arts environment in Singapore.


Adventuring Across Boundaries

Mick Lim, BMus '18, Composition; double major in European Studies; Joint Degree programme with Peabody Institute During my Joint Degree Programme stint at the Peabody Institute, I formed meaningful relationships with those around me as I adapted to American college culture. One such person was my music history professor, Dr Andrew Talle. He had lived in Germany as a graduate student and could understand my experience as a foreign student, while I had lived in Berlin for some time myself, and we were thus able to quickly establish a good rapport. He later offered to supervise my capstone project in musicology, and with financial support from YST, I travelled to Frankfurt am Main for my research. I have since presented my findings at the 2017 Bach Colloquium and Frankfurter Telemann Symposium; they are scheduled to be published in journals in the coming year. As a composer, I never want to write the same piece twice. Each semester, I have composed two works, and at least one is a venture into the unknown - my recent work Pieces, a site-specific collaboration featuring Chinese ink painting, belongs in that category. Although I’d never written a work of that length (157 minutes to be exact), I could count on the guidance of my mentor, Assoc Prof Peter Edwards. Providing us the space to experiment is a statement of YST's trust in its students, which has emboldened us to take risks in our learning process.


Creating Musical Connections And Community Charmaine Teo, BMus '18, Harp

In my third year, I remember attending a masterclass with Australian clarinetist Paul Dean. His first question took all of us by surprise, for he asked something that we were not expecting in a clarinet masterclass: "Who are some well-known opera singers that you know of?". This seemingly-unrelated question pushed me to be more aware of the connections between different musical roles in the act of music-making. It also showed me the importance of driving my own learning, looking beyond silos, and connecting with the wider music community around me. I would like to thank my harp teacher, Gulnara Mashurova, for nurturing and guiding me over these years. She gave me freedom to direct my own learning, and always encouraged me to watch masterclasses and concerts to gain inspiration. I have had the opportunity to play alongside her in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the biggest takeaway for me was seeing how she dealt with people, and with the stage at large. She has truly exemplified the fact that music is a lifelong learning journey, which will guide me as I work towards being the kind of musician I want to be. As a student, I have been able to collaborate with a network of respected colleagues and mentors, performing for audiences ranging from my own YST schoolmates, to overseas guest artists. During my final year, I had the opportunity to organise a chamber music concert titled Memories of Distant Shores with two of my classmates, Kyuri Kim (BMus '18, Violin) and Andrew Ng (BMus '18, Violin). We explored whether creating a different concert atmosphere would attract audiences with a new experience. With this in mind, we turned the orchestra hall into a cosy and homely setting with lamps, coffee tables and armchairs, and added an electronic display onstage to show programme information to the audience.

Charmaine (on right) with Kyuri and Andrew


On A Striking Note Muhammdayor Tulaganov (Dior), BMus '18, Viola

Studying at YST has been crucial in bringing me to where I am as a violist. One piece of advice that my major study teacher, Assoc Prof Zhang Manchin would always give me is that "three things should always be solid in your playing rhythm, intonation, and sound". These words constantly remind me of the beauty of the viola's sound that first called out to me. They have also shaped the way I play and opened up many opportunities. I have since had the privilege of playing for the best violists in the industry such as Lars Anders Tomter, Richard O'Neill, Donald McInnes, and Karen Dreyfus. In addition, I have attended multiple music festivals including the Music Academy of the West Summer Festival (USA), Kammermusik Campus Festival (Germany), and the Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival (Norway). While awards are not the be-all and endall of music training, taking part in competitions has also allowed me to applied what I have learned - these include the 2017 Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition in USA (in which I received the 2nd prize) and the National Classical Music Competition in Uzbekistan (for which I have been the four-time winner). Throughout my studies, I have also been blessed with the opportunity to use Rin Collection instruments which have furthered my learning. Looking ahead, I am delighted to be joining the Sun Symphony Orchestra (Vietnam) as guest principal violist.


A Bolder, Brighter Artistic Identity Mervin Wong, BMus '18, Viola

The turning point that sparked my quest for artistic identity occurred in 2015, when I was faced with illness that took me out from daily life for a good 12 weeks. It was during this time that I started to think more about my craft – the kind of artist or musician I would hope to be one day. I started to think beyond being purely a viola major, and to consider the broader questions of why I felt the need to express myself, and how best I could do this. While I was perhaps most familiar with the viola, there were other tools with which I could paint the story I was trying to tell. To that end, I began to explore using movement, electronic and visual media to create more holistic performances. Encouraged by my peers and mentors alike, I came to see my role as an artist in a new light. I am more a story-teller and guide rather than a musician; I perform with not just the viola, but with electronic instruments and sounds, visuals, lighting, and set designs; my work encompasses a whole experience for the listener and audience. I also began to collaborate across genres, cultures, and disciplines with like-minded artists, which has been crucial in bringing me to where I am today. Since then, I have launched my solo project Theemptybluesky, and am currently a sonic alchemist, composing and sculpting music and sound, and collaborating with artists in film, media, and the performing arts to engage audiences.


The Voice Within Us, Between Us Jingyun Ng, BMus '18, Voice (Soprano) My days as a voice major at YST opened up many doors for me to explore facets of the human voice, and the connections that spring forth from it. I experienced the challenge of reinterpreting medieval, classical and contemporary works. I grew to enjoy the anxiety as well as joy in co-producing, coaching and performing in a fully student-initiated musical. I love realising new experimental multidisciplinary works. And beyond these, my heart has always belonged to mentorship. Through the coaching I received at YST, I have learned how to be a better vocalist, so that I can effectively mentor others to love their bodies and voices, for art and for life. So, what’s next? My voice professor, Prof Alan Bennett, has always reminded me: “Take your time and reset your breath.� I think this is immensely useful to remember not only in singing, but in approaching life. Graduation is not the end - instead, it is a moment of pause to recalibrate and then continue on to the next phase with renewed vigour. Up ahead, a gap year awaits me with opportunities in teaching, performing, voiceover work, as well as new collaborations and discoveries. I am also carefully plunging into film and event management, beginning with producing a music video. After this year, I look forward to continuing my studies in vocal performance and pedagogy, with a specialisation in Alexander technique. I hope to hone my personal voice, so as to guide others to discover our voice that connects with the outer world.


Inspiring The Next Generation Rachel Ho, BMus '18, Flute

In 2016, I attended the New Audiences and Innovative Practice (NAIP) Introductory Course in Vienna. During this course, I was challenged to go out of my comfort zone and engage different audiences including the elderly at a seniors' residence, children at a holiday daycare, and refugees in Reichenau. After this trip, I was determined to continue my journey with the Singaporean community. I facilitated creative music workshops with Kids' Phiharmonic @ SG, which constantly challenged me to make music-making more enjoyable and beneficial for children as they begin their musical journey. I also performed at the wards of Alexandra Hospital with fellow YST alumnus Gabriel Lee, to share music with the elderly patients. We performed songs from their generation, and taught them simple rhythms that they could tap out to be more involved in the music-making. Their joy was clear from their smiles. Educating the next generation of musicians is something that I feel very strongly about. In 2017 and 2018, I taught students in the Philharmonic Society of Myanmar, and continued to offer online lessons under a YST academic module, Online Music Teaching. Working together with people from all walks of life has truly honed my leadership, facilitative, and interpersonal skills. I will be pursuing a Master in Music Education at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, and most likely a Master in Performance a year later. After graduating, I plan to come back to Singapore to teach and perform actively, as well as to share my love for music with a wider audience.


A Calm, Confident Stride Of His Own Steven Tanus, BMus '18, Piano

"I don’t want to be known as just a ‘good blind pianist’; I want to be known as a good pianist who happens to be blind." For Steven Tanus, YST's first visually-impaired student, starting his formal piano studies relatively later at the age of 16 and facing steeper challenges in learning music have not dampened his ambitions of becoming a world-class pianist. Sharing about his studies at YST, Steven says, “I used to think of music only in terms of stage performance. But my teachers showed me the relevance of theory and history studies to performance, and develop a deeper musical perspective.” Putting his learning into practice, he attended the 2015 Asia and Pan-Pacific International Piano Festival by people with disabilities in Tokyo, winning a silver medal in the Course B section. He shares, “This festival allowed me to hear other musicians with disabilities. It was an inspiration to know how they overcome particular difficulties”. At a daily level, Steven expressed gratitude for the Conservatory community's support. For example, he took his exams through dictation, with teachers taking time to read the exam questions out for him to answer verbally. In addition, the building facilities were made accessible, with Braille on room doors to help Steven find his way. And his peers were happy to help read scores and point out performance markings to help in his musical interpretation. Steven intends to audition for music schools in Europe and the US to study piano performance. He also has a keen interest in musicology - particularly early music, mid-18th century music, and theological influences on Western music.


Fix(,) The YST Student Musical

artYST, a group of BMus students from the YST Conservatory, presented their first self-directed, produced and written musical in February 2018 as part of the NUS Centre for the Arts ExxonMobil Campus Concerts.

Staged in a theatre-in-the-round setting at University Town, with songs from familiar musicals set in strange and unfamiliar contexts, the work took audiences into the deep and dark recesses of the human soul. Script: Cui Yihao (Year 2, Trumpet). Music arrangements: Muse Ye (Year 3, Piano), Adriana Chiew (Year 2, Piano), Pualina Lim (Year 1, Piano). Sound design: Sulwyn Lok (Year 3, RAS). Cast: Alice Putri (Year 2, Voice), Eugene Koo (Year 3, RAS), Lim Jingjie (Year 3, Voice), Muse Ye, Ng Jingyun (Year 4, Voice), Noah Diggs (Year 3, Composition) , Shubhangi Das (Year 2, Voice), Tan Tzu Kuang (Year 3, Piano), Shermaine Ang (Guest) and Samuel Ng (Guest)

On The Record With Poco Productions Lo Sheng Hong (NUS ‘18, YST Second Major in RAS), Aw Wei Zheng, Leon Teo, Sulwyn Lok, Daniel Tan, Eugene Koo (all now BMus Year 4, RAS) and Emilea Teo (BMus Year 3, RAS) have set up their own audio company, Poco Productions.

Seeing a need for quality classical concert recordings in the market, and also responding to demand from local ensembles as well as school performing groups, the students decide to create their own professional offering. The students noted the importance of good recordings that capture the exciting evolutions ongoing in the Singapore arts scene, and hope to provide a range of services that help musicians reflect their endeavours in the best light. Beyond recordings and audio expertise, the students’ diverse passions also shine through as they shared on their future ambitions to benefit the music scene in other ways, such as by making sheet music for ethnic ensembles and new compositions readily available. For the present, we look forward to the steady developments that they will continue to show - especially in the upcoming alumni festival Voyage (21-26 August)!


Student Achievements

Arisa Ikeda (BMus Year 4, Violin) won the 4th Prize and Special Prize in the 17th International Competition for Violin, Kloster Schöntal. Chiang Yung Yuan (BMus Year 3, Clarinet) received 3rd Prize in the ICMAShanghai Youth Clarinet Competition and is a selected candidate for the 2018 Geneva Clarinet Competition. Jirajet Thawornsiri (BMus Year 4, Trombone) won 1st Place in the 2017 Ipoh Music Festival, Solo (Open) Category. Joey Lau (BMus Year 3, Violin) received the 2017 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award, and 3rd Prize (Violin Senior, no 1st Prize) in the 2017 National Piano & Violin Competition. Kim Minseo (BMus Year 4, Flute) received the 4th Prize in the 2017 Sendai Flute Competition, Japan. Maggie Lu (BMus Year 4, Voice) was awarded one of three Outstanding Young Artist prizes in the 2017 Mondial Chinese Vocalist Concours. Muse Ye (BMus Year 4, Piano) received 3rd Prize in the 2017-18 Music Canterbury National Concerto Competition. Pawin Pungbua (BMus Year 3, Trombone) received 1st Prize in the 2018 American Trombone Workshop National Solo Competition (Division 2). Priscilla Fong (BMus Year 2, Voice) received the National Youth Achievement Award (Gold) for raising $20,000 to benefit people with disabilities. Serene Koh (BMus ’17, Piano), Jeong Han Sol (BMus '18, Piano) and Shayna Yap (BMus Year 3, Piano) received 2nd Prize (Piano Artist, no 1st prize), 3rd Prize (Piano Artist), and 3rd Prize (Piano Senior, no 1st prize) respectively in the 2017 National Piano & Violin Competition.


More Ways To Music The 2017/18 academic year saw the final realisation of a range of plans linked to the

Conservatory’s 2015/16 Curriculum Reform, all directed at opening up a broader range of opportunities. From offering more to NUS students to re-appraising current programmes and introducing new ones, changes have been significant and substantial.

NUS-Conservatory Engagement

A key pillar in the Institutional Review of 2015 was the desire to open up many more opportunities for NUS students to engage with the Conservatory - not only as audiences but also through curriculum choices. With recent Conservatory developments, as many as 20 YST modules will be open to NUS students, ranging from music studies to cultural studies, performance ensembles and contemporary music-making. Already last year, over 500 NUS students took advantage of these emerging opportunities, and it is anticipated that the demand will grow further in the coming year. Further, NUS students with a particularly intense passion for music can curate a set of six music modules according to their interests to fulfil a Minor in Music & Society as a component of their NUS education. To help further build such links with the University, we are pleased to announce that Dr Katherine Agres (A*Star - YST joint appointment), alumni Abigail Sin (BMus ‘10, Piano; Graduate Diploma ‘14, Piano) and Dr Khoo Huiling (BMus ‘07, Piano) join as faculty from July 2018. Dr Marc Rochester will join as full-time academic faculty.

Shaping Tomorrow’s Musicians

Over the past few generations, the conservatory model internationally has built an intense professional orientation, stemming from the concept that specialised instrumental training leads fairly inevitably to particular types of future employment (e.g. oboists play in orchestras etc). Increasingly across the past decade, however, there has been a movement in all performing and visual arts towards more broad-based artistic engagement, embracing everything from community activity to specialist curation of performance projects or spaces. As one student put it: “Traditionally, conservatories choose students because they can do something. But students come to conservatories to become someone.”


Since the establishment of the School of the Arts Singapore (which just celebrated its 10th anniversary), there is evidence of a growing number of passionate musicians in Singapore with a wider base of musical interest than can be assigned to just one instrument, specialisation or existing role. In response to this trend, our two new Majors, Music & Society (MS) and Music, Collaboration & Production (MCP) - are designed to enable aspiring artists to realise their leadership potential in a range of different emerging contexts. In addition to their specialisation in an instrument, voice, composition, or audio arts and sciences, students gain broader exposure with a balance of academic, practical and industry experience. These could include studying music within particular social, political, economic and aesthetic contexts and/or exploring practical applications such as alternative ensemble contexts, production approaches and presentation platforms.

Re(Mapping) the YST Curriculum

Both new programmes give students great agency in shaping the later years of their study to reflect their musical identities in their capstone projects and transcripts. In time, such students will no doubt also influence the projects and attitudes undertaken by the Conservatory itself; in the process also encouraging collaborative experimentation within the student body. Our first cohort of students embark on the two new programmes this academic year - and we look forward to witnessing what will emerge.


To enable a more diverse career potential, we have also revamped the Recording Arts & Science major, now renamed Audio Arts & Sciences (AAS). Building on the successes of recent graduates as well as the recognition that audio production training offers tremendous professional opportunities beyond the recording studio, the new programme embraces audio dimensions of multimedia platforms, as well as architectural acoustics and sound reinforcement. The AAS major has served as an ideal precedent for our two new Majors in encouraging broad-based, collaboratively-oriented artistry. It has indeed been exciting to see the transformative influence of the AAS major since its establishment in 2009. More generally, beyond MS, MCP and AAS, recent curriculum changes enable greater opportunities for students to tailor their four years of study specifically towards their strengths and passions. Whereas the traditional curriculum centres on largely-prescribed pathways as the primary focus of study, our new curriculum proposes each student’s Elective choices as the space to shape distinctive artistic identities. This flexibility may enable students to hone in further on their Major through independent projects and collaborative musicmaking (e.g. chamber music), or to broaden their experience by linking their musical specialisation to an adjacent musical field or external discipline in NUS. This Elective Space can expand to accommodate a Second Major or, for some students, be kept to a minimum so as to offer space for extracurricular musical engagement.


At the core of this remapping is the recognition that students need to be proactive in taking responsibility for their developing artistic identity, while faculty take on much more of an advisory or mentoring role. As the Charting Pathways section of this newsletter demonstrates, we are already seeing students making bold and exciting choices individually and collectively - an optimistic sign, we think, for the model going forward.

A Curriculum For The Portfolio Musician: The ‘Second Major’

The term ‘portfolio musician’ has been gaining trajectory over the past decade, particularly in reference to professional musicians who are involved in a wider range of diverse activities, or for whom professional musical activity may even be just one component of an even broader portfolio of enterprises. This can enable different outcomes - augmenting income, pursuing other passions (our own alumni offer examples from restaurant management to multimedia, to real estate), or even building a greater connection with music through becoming involved in areas such as teaching and festival or event management. Following approval by NUS and the Ministry of Education, our Second Major pathway should enable people of such a profile to achieve formal qualification. Whether for a violinist who is also interested in audio arts, a political scientist who also wants to engage with Music & Society, or a composer who is also pursuing an NUS Business major, the multiple pathways now available through the Conservatory and NUS are quite astonishing. We look forward to seeing how students across the campus define themselves in light of these emerging educational opportunities.

Engaging with music can also be at a more informal level, for example through discussion at our A Tempo cafe.


Collaborative Music-Making One of the most significant transformations in YST over the past 12 months has been in

relation to self-directed collaborative musical activity. Here we look at some of the recent personnel, programming and curriculum developments.

Given that the Conservatory culture has very much been built around the collective entity of the orchestra, one would assume that collaboration has long been at the centre of our educational model. Yet while the orchestra has a significant hold on our traditional programming, the overall positioning of collaborative practice in curriculum and assessment has often been more marginal. This stems in part from assessment systems - assessing an individual’s contribution in a group context is not always easy - while other complications include the challenge of giving equal opportunity to all students, of timetabling teaching support, and of finding appropriate rehearsal spaces and performance opportunities. These challenges have particular impact in smaller (and often self-directed) group activity, which is universally acknowledged as being good, but still has relatively little pedagogic guidance or shared practice across the sector. With recent tertiary education trends towards peer-to-peer learning and with the educational focus increasingly being drawn towards self-discovery and selfreflection, the time is ripe to consider the value of collaboration and of selfdirected group learning in developing musicians.


Recent Appointments in Collaborative Domains

12 months ago, we identified 2017/18 as a year to address this specific dimension of YST’s educational programme, leading to three new full-time faculty appointments: Assoc Prof Brett Stemple, Head of Brass; Assoc Prof Zhang Jinmin, Head of Woodwinds; and Mr Lim Yan, Senior Lecturer, Collaborative Piano. All three faculty members had previously held part-time positions at the Conservatory and became full-time from July 2017. Beyond these new appointments, there have also been significant changes in adjacent fields. These include developments in YST’s contemporary music offerings, led by Assistant Dean of Composition & Contemporary Music, Peter Edwards who has assembled a small team of specialists to coordinate and lead collaborative practice in that area. We have also seen collaborative transformation in our community programmes, taken forward most effectively by our Professional Integration Coordinator, Bethany Nette. Now that it has been at least a year into their new roles, it is clear that these appointments have influenced the quality of collaborative music-making across the Conservatory, evidenced not only by the rich range of performances but also evolving changes in modular organisation, assessment processes and the degree of student engagement. Brett shares, "Much of our work is necessarily coordinative; we have worked closely with faculty and staff to enable a more coherent and integrated approach."


Aligning Best Practices Across Majors

Over the course of last year, significant progress was made in codifying assessment expectations, coordinating performance opportunities and streamlining systems. Part of the transformation has been to begin to connect and coordinate all the different dimensions of collaborative practice - not an easy feat, particularly when the ambition is for significant activity to transcend tradition genres, and for group and repertoire establishment to grow from student choices rather than faculty assignation.

One area which saw immediate progress was the introduction of a more comprehensive assessment process for self-directed groups that can be adopted ultimately by all instrumental fields. This was largely facilitated through the proactive leadership of Lim Yan and with the help of Ensemble Manager Yap Zi Qi as well as all involved faculty. Under the scheme, students are assessed not only through end-of-semester performances but also through online reflection activity linked to their e-portfolios. The best of these online representations have even involved collaborative submissions demonstrating ongoing dialogue within the group in not only music-making but also the reflective process.


Some Collaborative Highlights

With this increased focus on collaborative dimensions, there have been bountiful interactions between composition students and performers, creations across cultural practices, performances incorporating improvisatory and multimedia elements, and events engaging community participants, as well as collaborations with global artists and international partner schools. Some firsts included an online performance of baroque repertoire with YST students in partnership with students at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague; a multidisciplinary collaboration for children with sensory difficulties, involving a YST composition student as ballerina; digitally-inspired collaborative installations; and even a student-generated musical and an electone orchestra performing symphonies by Mozart and Schumann! What has become clear is that the breadth of possibility is enormous, particularly when small groups take the lead with players investing passion and commitment. After such an exciting year, who dares predict what might come next!


The Year In Two Seasons Each semester, the Conservatory explores a theme to reflect and respond.

We look back on the two themes which shaped our key events of 2017/2018. For the first time also, we endeavoured to capture the spontaneity of our major events through live-streaming on our social media platforms; you can relive the moments on our YouTube channel.

Dreams And Apparitions 

Our 2017/18 Semester 2 concert season was centred on the theme “Dreams and Apparitions”, drawn from a quote by Claude Debussy written in a note to his publisher in July 1910: “After all, an artist is by definition a man accustomed to dreams and living among apparitions”. In celebrating the centenary of the composer’s death, we took this quote as inspiration not only in relation to Debussy’s own music and life, but also as a perspective for some of our larger programming for the season.

Claude Debussy: Musicien Français

Held in collaboration with fellows from the Suntory Hall Chamber Music Academy (CMA), Claude Debussy: Musicien Français on 24 March 2018 - paid special tribute to Debussy’s life (on the 100th anniversary of his death) and oeuvre through selections of music, framed with readings from his almost equally evocative letters. The concert ended with a work by Stravinsky, as the Russian composer offered his Symphonies of Winds as his contribution to a special Tombeau edition for La Revue Musicale. Special thanks to our venue sponsor the Victoria Concert Hall, and the Shaw Foundation for bringing in the CMA as Ones To Watch artists. 


Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun, Strauss' Don Juan And Albert's Tchaikovsky

Debussy was also the focal point of our Esplanade Concert on 10 April 2018, where the revolution in sonority represented by his transformative orchestral work, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894), was juxtaposed with two iconic works preceding it: Richard Strauss’ Don Juan (1888) and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (1880). YST Piano faculty Assoc Prof Albert Tiu performed as soloist in the latter work, while final-year viola student Mervin Wong created a rich sensory experience with the multimedia visuals that he designed to accompany the Prélude. Tributes to Debussy were also heard in programmes curated by Prof Thomas Hecht, Head of Keyboard Studies (17 April) where the YST piano students performed orchestral works including the Prélude on Yamaha Electones and Roger Vignoles, Ong Teng Cheong Professor of Music (11 April) who coached and performed an evening of French songs with YST voice students.


Masaaki Suzuki Conducts Pulcinella Masaaki Suzuki Conducts Pulcinella

In addition to Debussy, another composer featured in the Dreams and Apparitions season was Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky was much inspired by Debussy; not only through the older composer’s music but also through his direct mentorship around the time when he was composing the Rite of Spring. Maestro Masaaki Suzuki, Ong Teng Cheong Visiting Professor, returned to conduct a performance of Stravinsky’s ballet Pulcinella. The first half of the concert featured Baroque works by Corelli, Pergolesi and Monza, which Stravinsky drew upon for his Pulcinella, and were performed on period instruments.


Nature's Ways

The 150th anniversary of Strauss' most famous waltz, the Blue Danube, offered us an opportunity to present works written along what is perhaps one of the most musically important of Europe's waterways. The first semester theme explored the political ramifications of the river, which has both linked and divided communities, as well as the subsequent historical transformations in economies and politics through time. We further extended our exploration to the theme of nature, which spurred creativity not only for Strauss but also many others across the ages. In a celebration of the timeless artistic inspiration that nature has given, our programme for the season spanned 400 years, drawing upon the imagery of meadows, birds, seasons, atmospheres and waterways.

On The Beautiful Danube

Conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy (whose childhood home was near the banks of the Danube), a special concert saw the international commemoration of music written since the Blue Danube Waltz, along the eponymous river and its tributaries. YST students performed alongside musicians from major music schools from Austria (the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz), Germany (Hanover University of Music Drama and Media), Hungary (Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music) and Romania (National University of Music Bucharest). The concert, originally inspired by an idea from the Austrian Ambassador to Singapore, saw the Conservatory working in partnership not only with these schools but also with the Austrian, German, Hungarian and Romanian embassies, at a time when the river was seen as one of Europe’s most telling symbols of unity.


An Operatic Debut

The Conservatory made its first foray into the operatic scene with its staging of Handel’s pastoral opera Acis & Galatea, performed by a cast and orchestra consisting almost entirely of YST Conservatory students, on 6 and 7 October 2017. While this performance was smaller in scale than most of Handel’s other operas, the production still presented an intriguing challenge, such as sourcing for accompaniment performers who were familiar with music and performance practice from the historical period, as well as for props, shared YST Dean Professor Bernard Lanskey. Commenting on the production approach, Head of Voice Prof Alan Bennett shared, “The lighting resources were creatively handled by our stage technician, while Associate Professor, conductor Jason Lai, employed a historically informed approach using modern instruments.” The team was joined by guest artistes Mr. Nicholas Scott, playing Acis, and Ms. Sophie Daneman, stage director and stylistic coach. Speaking of the educational value of the opera, Prof Bennett noted, “The best realisation for the students was to explore how a visual dramatic component can inform how they interpret and present the music.”


Prof Lanskey shared that the Conservatory constantly seeks to chart new territories and engage in fresh endeavours. “One of the most interesting dimensions of this project was pushing the boundaries of what we can do in our Concert Hall and in our building.� Close to a thousand people attended the two performances at the Conservatory Concert Hall, which was also streamed live online.


Gift Of Wings

For as long as humans have yearned to fly, birds have served as great inspirations for artists. In the journey of parenting, birds also offer a wonderful example for us as they prepare their offspring together to take wing. The Gift of Wings Charity Concert featured music inspired not only by real birds, both flighted and flightless, but also mythical birds capable of powers even beyond flight. At the centre of this richly-varied programme, which drew from across the entire Conservatory for performers, YST’s quartet-in-residence, the T’ang Quartet, led a performance of Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending, with soloist Korniev Oleksandr (BMus '17) transporting us to a new realm with his soaring and virtuosic violin part. As well, YST piano students presented a suite of bird-associated solo works, and the Conservatory Orchestra closed with Stravinsky’s Firebird. The concert raised $165,000 in support of the Centre for Fathering’s various programmes, including expanding father groups in schools, supporting marginalised families, and creating strategic partnerships to drive active fathering campaigns nationwide. 


An Ever-Growing Community We seek to give music greater resonance in the wider landscape, and engage diverse audiences through our craft. 

A Collaboration In Laos

A group of YST students, led by Ho Qian Hui (BMus Year 3, Viola), participated in a collaborative project with the National Lao Music and Dance School (NLMDS). This collaboration, which was the brainchild of Qian Hui (winner of the 2018 Conservatory Concerto Competition), saw our students joining hands with students from Mahidol College of Music to engage Lao students. The daily program was varied and intensive. “In the mornings, we conducted workshops aspects such as rhythm and strings technique, where I taught about the basic bow hold and vibrato,” Qian Hui says. Sulwyn Lok (BMus Year 4, Audio Arts & Sciences) shared on the experience, “I enjoyed the challenging conducting experience. We only had three sessions of two-hour rehearsals to prepare all the pieces for the concert, and many in the orchestra could not really understand English. The language barrier certainly gave me an intensive practical experience in communicating as a conductor with few words.” In addition, our students enjoyed the opportunity to play Laotian instruments, such as the khene and the lanad. The other YST students who participated in the project were Lee Jia Yi (BMus Year 4, Composition), Jirajet Thawornsiri (BMus Year 4, Trombone), Noah Diggs (BMus Year 4, Composition) and Chaiyaphat Prempree (BMus Year 4, Percussion). The collaboration was part of the inaugural Southeast Asian Group Project module, paving the way for other students who want to create their own projects in Southeast Asia.


Instilling An Early Love For Music

On 25 March, we welcomed over 300 parents and children (some of whom were visiting YST and hearing classical music for the first time) to the annual YST Children’s Concert. Now in its fourth year, the concert continues to be an entirely student-led event welcoming young families to the world of classical music. The main event of the day was a performance in the Concert Hall presented by Masters in Conducting students Luo Wei ('18) and Saw James Sar Doe Soe ('18). Over 70 musicians from the Conservatory Orchestra (CO), chamber ensembles and voice department engaged the audience in an interactive singalong. Children also tried playing wind, brass and percussion instruments, generously provided by Band World and Music Essentials. Parents got to speak with faculty and CO section leaders about when and how to start their child’s musical journey. This year's programme expanded to include a variety of community engagement projects, such as an immersive creative showcase in the Conservatory Foyer by student leaders and the Kids’ Philharmonic @ SG. It also included The Enchanted Garden, a student-led interactive music performance for children from community welfare organisation Rainbow Centre. Community partners for this project included Very Special Arts Singapore, Eden School, Rainbow Centre and Children’s Cancer Foundation. “We hope that the experience inspired children and parents to become more engaged with music through listening, playing and creating. Not every child will become the next Mozart, but positive and engaging exposure to music early on can help enrich their lives with a lifelong appreciation for the arts.” said Ms Bethany Nette, Coordinator (Professional Integration and Community Engagement) at YST. Watch highlights from the day at


YST Students Lead And Guide Through Music As part of the Leading and Guiding through Music module led by Assoc Prof Ty Constante, 19 YST Conservatory students facilitated a series of six music engagement sessions at Yuhua Secondary School (YHSS). 36 YHSS students in the Secondary 2 Enhanced Music Programme benefited from the series.

The six sessions were held at YHSS from 22 March to 25 April. Each session was led by a team of three to four YST students, and the whole series culminated in an original co-created composition which the YHSS students planned to perform for their school. Ahead of each session, YST student leaders used class time at the Conservatory to plan and develop music activities and assign facilitation roles. Through the programme, the YHSS students experienced a collaborative musicmaking process that aimed to develop their creative thinking, teamwork and basic musicality. Looking ahead, YHSS plans to share the work done in these sessions with a wider audience, such as through assembly programmes or at community venues. The programme was a truly meaningful learning experience for all involved, whether for YHSS students seeking to learn more about music, or our aspiring music educators seeking to make a difference!


YST Young Composers Academy: Inspiring A New Generation Of Composers

The YST Young Composers Academy (YCA) takes place each year from January through March, and aims to inspire a new generation of composers in Singapore by supporting talented young musicians at the secondary and junior college levels with university-level mentoring. Up to ten young composers aged 15 to 21 were selected. The YCA provides an introduction on contemporary compositional approaches and modern instrumental techniques, as well as mentoring sessions on students’ compositional works in progress - all culminating in a final concert featuring participants’ works. Instructors were from YST, and this year’s Academy featured performances by YST’s contemporary music ensemble OpusNovus as well as Singapore-based new music ensemble Wu Xian. This year’s Academy saw eight participants from seven different schools. They were Adele Teng (Tanjong Katong Girls' School), Erika Poh (Raffles Institution), Ho Yong Jin (Catholic High School), Joan Tan (Eunoia Junior College), Marcus Ong (Temasek Junior College), Rachel Leia Devadason (School of the Arts Singapore), Shivanuja Ramkumar (School of the Arts Singapore), and Toh Yan Ee (Anglo Chinese Junior College).


YST Piano Academy Draws Budding Pianists

The 2018 YST Piano Academy invited 12 outstanding young piano talents to the Conservatory for a three-day workshop held in March, focused on the preparation of conservatory-level piano auditions. The intensive training course was open to prospective students ages 16 to 18 of all nationalities and saw participants from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Over the course of the three days, participants played in public masterclasses, a final gala concert, as well as in daily lessons with YST's Piano faculty Prof Thomas Hecht and Assoc Prof Albert Tiu. This year’s Piano Academy participants included Anne Yap (Malaysia), Clarissa Amanda (Indonesia), Gregorius Tamadji (Indonesia), Jet Stephen Co Chong (Philippines), Karyn Wibowo (Indonesia), Kezia Wibowo (Indonesia), Khanonvej Chakrit (Thailand), Monacella Gracia (Indonesia), Pun Punyasavatsut (Thailand) and Vivien Chong (Singapore).


Supporting Festivals

The YST Conservatory was host to a growing number of local and international festivals and events in 2018. These included the following: Leeds Piano Competition First Round (April) International Festival Chorus (May) Singapore Violin Festival (June) 7th Singapore Performers Festival & Chamber Music Competition (June) Singapore International Choral Festival (July) Singapore International Band Festival (July) 9th Flute Festival Singapore (August)


Resonating Internationally Through participation in a breadth of international programmes or as host of major events, YST resonates.

Singapore International Violin Competition

The Singapore International Violin Competition (SIVC) was launched in 2015 as a landmark cultural initiative for Singapore and Southeast Asia, and serves as a showcase for aspiring professional violinists from around the world. The SIVC is hosted by YST and supported by the Far East Organisation, Hong Leong Foundation, Lee Foundation, the late Mr Rin Kei Mei and Mrs Rin, and the National Arts Council of Singapore.  Led by Artistic Director and Chair of the Jury, Head of Strings Prof Qian Zhou, the competition involved two weeks of live rounds and deliberations across the YST Conservatory and Victoria Concert Halls, with 29 final candidates from 11 countries, 9 international jury, and artist-in-residence Shlomo Mintz who conducted the Conservatory Orchestra to perform Mozart in the final round and gave a solo violin recital at YST. This year, the SIVC came to an exciting finale on 8 February at a spectacular Grand Final concert in the Esplanade Concert Hall, where finalists played a concerto with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Joshua Tan. 


Sergei Dogadin from Russia and Austria was awarded the stunning Tiffany & Co winner’s trophy and took home the US$50,000 first prize as well as a three-year loan of a fine violin from the Rin Collection - alongside greater international recognition and performance opportunities.

Musical Chairs - YST Students In Canadian Chamber Music Festival

Four YST students participated in the Musical Chairs Chamber Music Festival, held at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Bringing together musicians from seven institutions across four continents, the festival included workshops, concerts and masterclasses featuring top students from ConNext Network schools. Lim Yan, Senior Lecturer in Collaborative Piano, who was one of the Festival’s faculty coaches, commented, “The level of playing and performance was consistently high at the Festival. Particularly impressive was the Saturday concert which featured our four YST students in four different chamber groups. Each group consisted of members who were meeting for the first time, and who had just four days to prepare movements from major chamber repertoire for public performance. The excitement and chemistry between the players was palpable, as they drew inspiration from each other and put on an outstanding concert together.”


Sounding Now: A Festival Of Contemporary Musical Practices

Sounding Now brings together divergent practices – composition, electronic music, installation, and improvisation – with the goal of connecting listeners and practitioners of different artistic communities to explore the ways in which  their shared interests intersect. Held in April 2018, the Sounding Now Festival featured Amnon Wolman, Professor of Composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, as composer-in-residence. hand werk from Germany served as resident ensemble. The festival featured performances by Singapore-based contemporary music ensembles SETTS, Wu Xian, and OpusNovus, as well as YSS, an experimental improvisation trio from Kuala Lumpur. Young composers from YST’s partner schools attended events and roundtable discussions at the festival and exchanged musical ideas; their work was showcased on the festival blog in the form of a ‘portrait concert’. The Sounding Now blog aims to highlight musical activities throughout Singapore to a wider audience, with a focus on contemporary classical music, electronic music, experimental music, and freely-improvised music, with interviews of featured composers and artists as well as introductions to contemporary works. Visit the blog at


Discovering The New In Seoul

Joey Tan (BMus Year 2, Composition) and Ding Jian Han (BMus Year 3, Composition) attended the Seoul National University International New Music Conference & Workshop in February 2018. During their visit, they attended various presentations and workshops, including multimedia and live electronic techniques. In addition to having their compositions performed at the Festival, they presented an improvised piece with piano, violin, electric guitar, and Korean haegeum, which also incorporated live visuals, triggered samples and live electronics. They enjoyed collaborating with SNU students as well as meeting fellow musicians from Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Belgium.

Cross-Art Collaboration And Innovation In Iceland

Stasha Wong (BMus Year 4, Audio Arts & Sciences) and Noah Diggs (BMus Year 3, Composition) participated in the 2017 New Audiences and Innovative Practice (NAIP) Introductory Program, hosted by Iceland Academy of the Arts in August 2017. The NAIP Introductory Program is a collaboration of institutions taking part in the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership that seeks to train artists without borders. This year’s course focused on cross-art collaboration, with participants incorporating influences from the surrounding community and landscape to create stories, concepts, dialogue, film and performances which were presented at various locations in the town of Hafnarfjörður.


Connecting Across Borders

24 students from 11 countries participated in this year’s Southeast Asian Directors’ of Music (SEADOM) Congress held in Bangkok, Thailand from 15 to 17 March, creating performances through sound painting. The creative process brought together musicians from different backgrounds and nationalities to work together, and they forged new friendships along the journey as well. Darren Tan from LASALLE in Singapore commented on the bonding experience, “We’re not so different after all.” Lim Wen Liang (BMus Year 1, Composition) said, “Over the course of the project, we learned how to balance and rehearse as an ensemble. We also learned how to listen out for one another, as well as to be ready to improvise on the spot. Through the sound painting project, we created a common language that we could all speak equally fluently across our different cultural and musical backgrounds, and truly achieved our main goal as well as the theme of this year's SEADOM Congress, Connecting Across Borders.” SEADOM is a Southeast Asia cultural and educational network, which was established in 2008. It represents the interests of institutions that are concerned with training for the music profession. Today, SEADOM includes 70 member institutions in 10 Southeast Asian countries and is led by Prof Bernard Lanskey, Dean of YST Conservatory, as its current President.  


Semester Exchange Programmes

Last year, 9 students took part in semester long exchange programmes with our partner schools. In addition, 110 students have benefited from the Student Artistic Development Fund to take part in festivals, competitions and projects overseas. Lin Xiangning (BMus Year 4, Piano) attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), where she worked with RCS faculty including Petras Geniusas, Prof Aaron Shorr (Head of Keyboard and Collaborative Piano), Assoc Prof Fali Pavri, and Jonathan Plowright. Loh Wei Ken (BMus Year 4, Violin) also attended the semester-long exchange programme at RCS. Commenting on the insights she gained from the trip, Xiangning shared, “There was a period of time when I felt stuck and disheartened being in an unfamiliar environment. But I realised that the inspiration that I need has been present in my craft and process all along, and that it is only through continual contact and effort that I will make progress. As the coming academic year begins, I will bring with me the spirit of doing more, and of faithful and unwavering engagement with my art.� Through the trip experience, Xiangning came to better appreciate the importance of community. She notes, "It is a blessing to be in a music-making community. Always lift your heads from practice to admire the talent of peers beside you, because there is so much to learn and be inspired by!"


YST Students On Student Exchange Programmes

Christine Natalie Tandinata (Composition) – Peabody Institute Lee Jia Yi (Composition) – Peabody Institute Natalie Koh (Violin) – Peabody Institute Wan Chao-Chiu (Cello) – Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki Loh Wei Ken (Violin) – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Lin Xiangning (Piano) – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Xavier Tan Wen Cong (French Horn) – Royal Conservatory of The Hague Ding Jian Han (Composition) – Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media Ho Qian Hui (Viola) – Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media

International Networking

YST continues to be part of a rich global network of like-minded institutions, including the ConNext Network, the Pacific Alliance of Music Schools (PAMS), the Southeast Asian Directors of Music Association (SEADOM), and the International Benchmarking Exercise (IBE) group. Beyond higher music education, we are partners with the World Federation of International Music Competitions, and with regional institutions including the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra and Suntory Hall for internship and festival opportunities. Our faculty and students not only perform across the globe in major festivals, but are active contributors within the regional ecosystem.


Our Alumni For YST students, making music in new light goes beyond their years of study at the

Conservatory. Our alumni have gone on to shine on diverse stages - in the concert hall and out in the community, within Singapore and abroad.

Taking Centre Stage

A student of Prof Qian Zhou, Monique Lapins (second from left) graduated from YST in 2014 before winning a position in the Hyogo Performing Arts Centre Orchestra in Japan. She is now back Down Under (albeit not in her home country) working professionally as the second violinist of the New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ). We were proud to welcome back Monique with the NZSQ, performing at the Conservatory Concert Hall in November 2017.

Engaging Pakistani Communities With  Music And Hope  In October 2017, alumnus Lee Wai Teng (BMus '16, Clarinet) embarked on a series of community projects engaging impoverished Pakistani children, working in collaboration with Starfish Pakistan, a nonprofit supporting over 7000 children to date, that partners with Pakistani nationals who feel driven to help poor and marginalised children receive education. She conducted music workshops for the students, as well as workshops for teachers on how to incorporate music into their academic syllabus. On returning to Singapore, she focused on launching an online music course for the teachers she had met so that they could continue their learning. 


Alumni Highlights Pianist Azariah Tan ('11) was a finalist in the 2017 Singapore Youth Awards - the nation's highest accolade for exceptional youth. He was also conferred the NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award. His CD album, A State of Wonder, consisting works by Chopin, was also released this year. 

Kahchun Wong ('11) is a recipient of the National Arts Council 2017 Young Artist Award, and a finalist in the 2017 Singapore Youth Awards, the nation's highest accolade for exceptional youth. He is chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony - the first Singaporean and Asian conductor to lead the orchestra.

Pianist Li Churen ('15) was featured on the Singapore Tatler’s 2018 Generation T List, which celebrates 50 of the brightest connectors, creative visionaries, influential innovators and disruptive talents in Singapore.

Lien Boon Hua ('11) was a finalist in the 10th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Conducting Competition. He is currently in his second season as Assistant Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice.

Oleksandr Korniev ('17) received 3rd Prize in the 2018 Singapore International Violin Competition. In the same competition, Shi Xiaoxuan ('16) received 6th Prize.


Vadim Shvedchikov ('15) was appointed Principal Horn of the Shanghai Opera House. Previously, he was in the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra, where he received the Best Musician of the Year award.

Bagaskoro Byar Sumirat (’17, left) and Dior Tulaganov ('18, right) have been appointed Principal Oboe and Guest Principal Violist in the Sun Symphony Orchestra (Vietnam).

Xie Tian ('14), Simon Lee ('17), and Kim Dani ('17) join the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra as Principal Cello, Principal Oboe and Co-Principal Flute respectively.

Violinist Gabriel Lee ('15) is founder of the Philharmonic Society of Myanmar, which held its second Festival and Competition in June 2018.


Our Benefactors 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 Other donors and supporters for their generous contribution towards scholarships and artistic development.


Dean's Circle Lifetime Ambassadors

Annual Members

Ms Gao Jun 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 CapitaLand 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

Prof Alan Bennett Allianz SE, Singapore Audi Singapore Pte Ltd Baven Enterprises Pte Ltd Prof Bernard Lanskey Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law Assoc Prof Craig de Wilde German European School Singapore Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Dr James C M Khoo Assoc Prof Jason Lai Kärcher Singapore Private Limited Prof Lee Eng Hin Lufthansa German Airlines Luther LLP Ms Pang Siu Yuin Ms Rachel Tang Dr Robert Teoh Schaeffler (Singapore) Pte Ltd Synwin Music Pte Ltd Prof Tan Eng Chye Mr Tan Wei Boon Prof Thomas Hecht Ms Vivien Goh Anonymous donor

* Founding Partners of the Singapore International Violin Competition

Instrument Donors

Music Collections

Mr Tan Kah Tee Bösendorfer Imperial Model 290 Bösendorfer Johann Strauss

The late Mr SR Nathan Digital music resources from the Madras Music Academy

Mr Goh Yew Lin Paul McNulty Fortepiano

Family of the late Mr Leong Yoon Pin Leong Yoon Pin Manuscripts


Faculty Strings

Brass & Percussion

Prof Qian Zhou* Assoc Prof Zuo Jun Assoc Prof Zhang Manchin Assoc Prof Qin Li-Wei Mr Oleksandr Korniev**

Assoc Prof Brett Stemple*

Brass & Percussion (Adjunct) Mr Han Chang Chou Mr Jamie Hersch Mr Jon Dante Mr Lau Wen Rong Mr Allen Meek Mr Jonathan Fox Mr Sam Armstrong Mr Marques Young

Strings (Adjunct)

Mr Ang Chek Meng Mr Ng Yu-Ying Mr Alexander Souptel 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*


Prof Thomas Hecht* Assoc Prof Albert Tiu


Chamber Music / Collaborative Piano

T’ang Quartet

Mr Lim Yan Dr Choi Hye-Seon Prof Bernard Lanskey Ms Liu Jia


Assoc Prof Zhang Jin Min*

Woodwinds (Adjunct)

Accompanists (Adjunct)

Mr Evgueni Brokmiller Dr Cheryl Lim Ms Rachel Walker Ms Carolyn Hollier Mr Ma Yue

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 Ms Kseniia Vokhmianina


Audio Arts & Science

Professional Integration

Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law* Assoc Prof Shane Taylor Constant Assoc Prof Tony Makarome Yue Ms Bethany May Nette**

Mr Zhou Xiaodong*

Audio Arts & Science (Adjunct) Mr Sonny Lim Cheng Yin Mr Gao Yang Mr Shah Tahir

Adjunct Academic Faculty

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 Zhu Zhengyi

Analysis & Composition

Assoc Prof Peter Edwards* Assoc Prof Ho Chee Kong Dr Chen Zhangyi Dr Nick Omiccioli Ms Adeline Wong Dr Chow Jun Yan**

Contemporary Music (Adjunct) Mr Martin Jaggi Mr Max Riefer Mr Christoph Wichert Ms Yoon Jung-A


Assoc Prof Jason Lai Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law

Contextual Studies

Assoc Prof Craig De Wilde* Assoc Prof Greg Petersen Dr Koo Siaw Sing Dr Marc Rochester Dr Khoo Hui Ling Dr Abigail Sin

* Area Heads ** Teaching Assistants


Governing Board Senior Management & Administration Governing Board

Senior Management




Secretary (Dean's Office)

Vice Chairman

Vice Dean Academic Studies & Research

Academic Affairs

Mr Goh Yew Lin

Mr Robert Tomlin


Dr Fred Bronstein Mr Chan Yoong Han Ms Vivien Goh Mr Kenneth Kwok Ms Pang Siu Yuin Mrs Doris Sohmen-Pao Mrs Valarie Wilson Dr June Goh Ms Kathy Lai


Prof Ho Teck Hua Prof Bernard Lanskey

Prof Bernard Lanskey

Assoc Prof Craig De Wilde

Vice Dean Professional Integration

Assoc Prof Chan Tze Law

Assistant Dean Composition & Contemporary Music

Assoc Prof Peter Edwards

Associate Dean Administration

Ms Rachel Tang

Senior Associate Director Artistic Administration & Strategic Development Ms Jenny Ang

Senior Associate Director Student Life Mr Tan Wei Boon

Mrs Wendy Lee

Ms Joanne Soh

Professional Integration

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


Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music National University of Singapore 3 Conservatory Drive Singapore 117376 @YSTConservatory

Resonances - 2018 | YST Conservatory  

The 2017/18 academic year at YST Conservatory has been particularly diverse and fulfilling. This newsletter explores some of the most memora...

Resonances - 2018 | YST Conservatory  

The 2017/18 academic year at YST Conservatory has been particularly diverse and fulfilling. This newsletter explores some of the most memora...