Singaporean musician Kahchun Wong is adept at both conducting and composing. But it is when he is on the rostrum that he expresses himself best. The First Prize winner of the 4th International Conducting Competition Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest as well as the orchestral prize of the George Enescu Philharmonic in 2013.
Kahchun is easily the most accomplished classical musician of his generation. He was also awarded the 2nd prize at the 5th International Lovro von Matacic Competition for Young Conductors in 2011.
A protege of Kurt Masur, Kahchun has shared the podium with the German maestro in concerts – and has participated in five of his master classes from 2012 to 2014 – with the Leipziger Sinfonieorchester; the Baltic Youth Philharmonic; the Usedomer Musik Festival; the Manhattan School of Music; and the Senzoku Gakuen in Tokyo. This mentorship culminated to an invitation to be his assistant at the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester in September 2013.
In 2013, he was invited to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, where he led a composition premiere in a special performance of young emerging composers. In 2014, he was also invited to perform at the Berlin Maerzmusik Festival of New Music, and he has been selected to participate at the Lucerne Festival this summer for a conducting masterclass with Heinz Holliger.
His upcoming 2014/2015 debuts include the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; the Berliner Konzerthausorchester; the Brasov Philharmonic Orchestra; Camerata Regala Bucharest; the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra; the Oltenia State Philharmonic Orchestra; the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra; the Sibiu State Philharmonic Orchestra; the Singapore Symphony Orchestra;and the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra.
Kahchun is a recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship. He has also attended masterclasses with Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Easter Festival (2012/2014), with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jorma Panula and Yuri Simonov with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.
He studied conducting with Christian Ehwald and Hans-Dieter Baum at the Hanns-Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin as a Lee Kuan Yew Scholar, as well as with Robert Spano at the Aspen Music Festival, where he was invited for two consecutive summers ( 2011/2012) as a conducting fellow. He completed his undergraduate studies in composition with Chee-Kong Ho at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore.
As a champion of new music, Kahchun has conducted the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, and will embark on a world tour with rising superstar Ryu Goto, brother of the renowned violinist Midori, with a specially commissioned set of works at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Thailand International Composition Festival and the Vietnam-European Contemporary Music Festival in 2014.
Ryu Goto has established himself as a significant voice in classical music, with a large and growing public in Asia, North America and Europe. Ryu’s career began at age seven when he made his debut at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, playing Paganini’s Violin Concerto No.1. Since then, Ryu has appeared as a soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles including National Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Sydney Symphony, Hamburger Symphoniker, European Union Youth Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He has worked with conductors including Lorin Maazel, Tan Dun, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fabio Luisi, Myung-Whun Chung and Jonathan Nott. Ryu has already performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Tokyo Suntory Hall, Sydney Opera House, Shanghai Grand Theater, Taipei National Concert Hall, Vienna Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal and the Philharmonic Hall Gasteig.
In 2014, Ryu will make his debuts with the Montreal Symphony with Kent Nagano, as well as the Orchestre National de Lyon with Leonard Slatkin, followed by tours with each orchestra. In addition, he has reengagements throughout Japan, China, and North America. Following the success of his 2011 sold-out recital in Carnegie’s Zankel, Ryu returns for another recital featuring the music of Beethoven, Takemitsu, Franck and Wieniawski. Ryu records for Deutsche Grammophon in collaboration with Universal Classics Japan. In May 2011 he graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Physics and is currently studying with Prof. Ana Chumachenco. He performs on the Stradivarius 1722 violin “Jupiter” on loan to him from Nippon Music Foundation.
Singaporean pianist Abigail Sin has appeared in concert halls across the globe, including Wigmore Hall, Salle Cortot and various venues in the USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, Hong Kong and South-East Asia. She has performed with many orchestras such as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra, Armenian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Dnepropetrovsk Phiharmonic Orchestra, Kaunas Symphony Orchestra and the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra. Abigail’s performances have been broadcast over national television and radio stations in Romania, Hong Kong, USA and Singapore. In 2009, Steinway and Sons selected Abigail to become South-East Asia’s first Young Steinway Artist.
Abigail has won a significant number of top prizes at international piano competitions. In 2011, Abigail won the 3rd Prize, the Audience Prize and the Students’ Prize at the Lagny-sur-Marne International Piano Competition in France. Other recent accolades include the Guildhall School’s Romantic Piano Prize and The McCallum Prize for a pianist of promise at the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition. Abigail also won top prizes at the Viardo (USA), Krainev (Ukraine), Schimmel (USA), Virginia Waring USA), Ibiza (Spain), Individualis (Ukraine) and ASEAN Chopin competitions. Earlier in her studies, Abigail was awarded the HSBC Youth Excellence Award for Musical Excellence.
In 2007 and again in 2010, Abigail was one of eight pianists selected to participate in the Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland. She has also attended masterclasses at l’Academie Musicale de Villecroze, the Banff Centre, l'Académie Maurice Ravel, the Oxford Philomusica International Piano Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival and the International Festival of Young Musicians in Lithuania, where she was awarded the prize for “Most Outstanding Performer”. Abigail has performed in the master classes of eminent musicians such as Leon Fleisher, Menahem Pressler and Dmitri Bashkirov.
Abigail is also a keen chamber musician and was awarded the Guildhall School’s Ivan Sutton Chamber Music Award in 2012. Notable performances include the Walton piano quartet for the City of London Festival and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. In 2013, Abigail, together with violinist Loh Jun Hong, founded a chamber music concert series called More Than Music, which is quickly gaining recognition and critical acclaim for its candid, interactive presentation of classical music.
Born in 1992, Abigail graduated from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore in 2010, winning the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal as the top student of the cohort. In 2012, she was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Abigail recently obtained a Graduate Diploma from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music as a student of Prof Thomas Hecht. During her studies, she worked as a music history and humanities teaching assistant at the National University of Singapore.
Abigail is a recipient of the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship. She will commence doctoral studies at the Royal Academy of Music in September 2014.
Govin Tan, 20, started musical lesson from his dad at a very young age. At 12, he studied the tabla with Chandra Sekaran (Singapore). He also had lessons with Ustad Jagjit Singh (India, Punjab). With the and guidance of world-renowned artistes from India such as Pandit Birju Maharaj and Ustad Zakir Hussain, he has been trained in advanced accompaniment and solo technique in tabla playing.
Govin also had intensive tabla training with Sarodist Pandit Mukesh Sharma in his ashram. In 2006, when he was 14, Govin was awarded the First Prize in the Intermediate category of the Singapore National Indian Music Competition organised by the National Arts Council. Two years later, he came in the Open category of the competition, the first non-indian to do so.
This achievement prompted the Grammy Award winning Hindustani classical instrumnebtalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan to comment, “This young local Chinese boy, Govin Tan is incredible. It’s unbelievable and a pleasure to watch him execute complicated and advanced rhythmic bols (syllabus) on the tabla with such ease and joy.”
Govin has performed as a soloist with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, (SCO), Zen Ensemble, and Hong Kong Baptist University Orchestra. He performances have seen him taking Singapore’s culture and music to the United States (Philadelphia), South Korea (Busan and Seoul), Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, the United Kingdom (Llangollen), India, China (Quan Zhou, Bei Jing, Xia Men) and Australia (Melbourne).
In 2009, Govin performed with Singapore folk-rock band Veda9 in Busan, South Korea, for the World Music Choir Competition. In 2011, he worked with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) at The Exuberance of Youth” concert. Conductor Tsung Yeh said, “Without a doubt, he is certainly the best young Tabla player that I have ever encountered this far.”
In the same year, Maestro Tsung Yeh invited Govin to perform with the SCO again at Singapore Arts Festival featuring the Elegance of Nanyin by Law Wai Lun from Beijing Central Conservatory at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Later that year, Govin was invited by the National Arts Council to represent Singapore at the ASEAN Korea Traditional Orchestra (AKTO) in Seoul, South Korea.
In 2012, Govin was invited to perform at the premiere of the commissioned work Dadra, written by Hong Kong composer Joyce Wai-Chung Tang and conducted by Professor Johnny M Poon at the HKCC Theatre in Hong Kong. As member of the Siong Leng Musical Association, Govin participated in Lost Treasures of Ancient Nan Yin Arts & Cultures with his dong xiao (bamboo flute), crossing musical boundaries with his experimentation on his tabla with Nan Yin, while encouraging Singaporeans to recognise their roots.
With Rhythm Aesthetics Society, the ethnically-Chinese Singaporean Govin has bridged racial and cultural differences with traditional Indian musical ragas and taals.
For Govin, rhythm is his thing, and his abilities are not confined to traditional Asian instruments. He is proficient with the western drum-kit, too, and performs regularly with the band, The Amb Way Project.
Govin, with his elder brother, Krsna Tan (Sitar) and cousin, Dexter Tan (Violin), are part of the group Flame of the Forest.
Their brand of music has seen them performing at the Mosaic Festival, the F1 Singapore Grand Prix and the Singapore Arts Festival, along with charity shows for Metta, the President’s Star Charity, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda). Flame of the Forest also recorded the soundtrack for Eric Khoo’s movie, My Magic.
Khoo said, “I heard their stuff at the President Cultural Medallion Awards and thought it was genius, when My Magic started to form, I tracked these kids down and got them to play the soundtrack”.
Govin was a student at Republic Polytechnic where he graduated with a Diploma in Sonic Arts. When not performing, he teaches in My Drum School.
Joyce has performed in Beijing with Nanyang Ensemble at The Forbidden City Concert Hall in 2012; Rennes-France with Orchestre Symphonique De Bretagne at the Rennes Opera House in 2013; Taiwan with the Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra (SYCO) at the Tainan ChiShi Arts Festival in 2006 and Hsinchu Chinese Music Festival at Hsinchu Performing Arts Centre in 2013; and Jakarta with ICO ensemble at Aula Simfonia Concert Hall in 2009.
She started learning the dizi in Secondary One when she joined Serangoon Secondary School’s Chinese Orchestra and subsequently became the sectional principal of the dizi section. She obtained her Dizi Diploma Performance with Distinction by NUS, Centre for the Arts in 2007 and Distinction in Dizi Grade 9 Performance by NAFA in collaboration with the Central Conservatory of Music in 2005.
In 2008, Joyce was awarded the certificate of distinction at the National Chinese Music Competition (NCMC) after coming in first for the Dizi Open Category. Having been a member and as Dizi Section principal (2012-2013) of the SYCO for the 11th consecutive year in 2014, Joyce has been invited to perform solo concertos twice with the SYCO in 2010 and 2013 and twice in Taiwan.
Joyce was also invited to perform a solo concerto, Joy, with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) in 2012 for the SCO Marathon Finale Concert and also as a guest dizi player with the SCO. Joyce has been teaching the dizi in Primary and Secondary school Chinese orchestras since 2007. The schools include East Spring Primary; Jurong Primary; Xing Hua Primary; and Nanyang Polytechnic. She is currently coaching Dizi/woodwind section in East View Secondary, Anglican High, Sembawang Primary, Balestier Hill Secondary, Maha Bodhi School and Kong Hwa School.
Syafiqah 'Adha Sallehin obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music (with Honours) from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) and at the National University of Singapore in 2013.
She was the first and by far the only Malay-Muslim Singaporean student to have studied at this prestigious conservatory, and is now a returning postgraduate student pursuing her Master’s degree in Music.
In September 2010, Syafiqah was awarded the Goh Chok Tong Promise Youth Award by MENDAKI in recognition of her talents and her potential to excel in the discipline of music.
As a composer, she has had experiences in directing and composing live music for staged events and dance-drama productions, such as Perkumpulan Seni's Gejolak II in 2010 and Malam Jaluran Seni in 2011.
In 2013, her composition Dance of the Merlions won her the second prize in the Young Composers' Competition at the 31st Asian Composers' League Festival held in Singapore.
Syafiqah has also worked with the highly acclaimed T'ang Quartet for events such as Singapore Arts Fest and their UPsized Christmas concert both in 2012, having arranged and written works such as Medley of Malay Songs from 40s-70s and Nutty but Nice, respectively.
Having a strong sense of rootedness to her culture, Syafiqah has a deep passion for traditional Malay music. She picked up the accordion at age 16, playing in its stylistic genre and is also able to play the rebana, a traditional Malay drum.
Syafiqah is the music director of a traditional contemporary Malay music ensemble Gendang Akustika formed since 2009. She has directed the music for its various productions and staged events such as Pesta Raya 2011 at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.