About the Artists

Alan Choo

Virtuoso violinist Alan Choo performs as a solo and collaborative artist in his native Singapore and across the globe. His playing has been described by The Straits Times as ban intoxicating brew of poetry and dare-devilry,b and he infuses those charismatic qualities into every performance.

His repertoire encompasses celebrated masterworks for the violin as well as Baroque and contemporary compositions. He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras such as the St. Petersburg Symphony in Russia, the Singapore Festival and Chinese Orchestras, and the Baltimore Baroque Band. He has been honored with the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award in 2014 and was the winner in 2011 of Singaporebs National Piano and Violin Competition. His professional debut recital organized by the Kris Foundation in Singapore was praised in The Straits Times as bthe debut recital of the year.b

Alan was admitted to the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory at the National University of Singapore at the age of 15, where he completed his undergraduate studies with Alexander Souptel. During that time, he also performed as Associate Concertmaster of the World Youth Orchestra of the Singapore Games.

He subsequently earned two Master of Music degrees at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland b one in in Violin Performance and another in Early Music.

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Soh Ser Yee

Described as a pianist with a bmost distinctive and personal musicality in the playing of every noteb, Ser Yee has made her appearance as a musician in numerous occasions such as the Presidentbs Challenge Concert, ministerial functions in Istana (Ministerial Innovation Seminar 2001 as well as functions hosted by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Manpower), Child Prodigies Concert graced by former President Nathan, as well as around the world in the United Kingdom and the United States.

She began learning the art of piano-playing at the age of 4 and has since won numerous awards, the most notable being the 1st prize at the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition 2010. With that, she was invited to perform in the Winnersb Recital at the Carnegie Hall, New York, as a soloist on a National Arts Council partial sponsorship. In 2005, she represented Singapore at the 27th European Conference in Manchester, UK, and made another trip to the UK in 2007 for a concert tour in London, where she performed at the Royal College of Music, the Purcell School as well as the Wells Cathedral School.

At the tender age of 12, Ser Yee obtained her Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Diploma in Piano Performance. She then moved on to complete her Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music at the age of 14. That year, Ser Yee was awarded the 2nd Prize at the National Piano and Violin Competition 2007 (Intermediate Category) as well as the 1st runners-up in the Yamaha Piano Competition (Open Category). She was a student of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts School of Young Talents and was under the tutelage of principal Mdm Fang Yuan.

She is currently a violist with the National University Singapore Symphony Orchestra and was formerly a member of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra. Having attained a Distinction in the Grade 8 ABRSM examinations in 2010, she has gone on to make music with friends in medical school, the most recent of which was her performance as a musician in the musical production Operation Theatre 5.

Ser Yee hopes for an opportunity to combine her love for community service and the arts in the near future and is extremely thrilled to be playing with the NUSSO as a soloist this concert.

Lim Chun

Lim Chun is an extremely gifted violist. He plays with spirit, ease, seems fearless and is communicative... a rare talent that will make wonderful contribution to music and society" Yo Yo Ma.

Lim Chun, who was principal violist for both the Singapore Youth Orchestra and the Asian Youth Orchestra before he began his studies at the Peabody Institute of Music at the age of 17, where on a full-scholarship, he received his bachelor and master degrees. His teacher there was Joseph de Pasquale, and he had also participated in the masterclasses of Emanuel Vardi, Roberto Diaz and Heidi Castleman. During his second year at Peabody, he was given an award for his outstanding achievements as a violist. That same year, he began to freelance in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, playing under the batons of David Zinman, James Depriest, and Yuri Temirkanov.

Chun had performed chamber music at the United Nations and the White House, toured China and Korea as soloist in Richard Strauss' Don Quixote with Yo Yo Ma under the direction of Sergiu Comissiona, and had played Walton's Viola Concerto with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra under Lim Yau, all to critical acclaim.

After his national service, Chun went to Yale University on a full-scholarship to study with Jesse Levine. A few months into his studies at Yale, he auditioned for Lorin Maazel and became a founding member of his Orquesta de la Comunitat Valenciana, the resident orchestra of the new opera theater, the Palau de les Arts, in Valencia, Spain. There he had worked with Zubin Mehta (director of the theater's summer festival), Placido Domingo, Valery Gergiev, and Georges Pretre. In addition to being a member of the viola section, he had also had chances to serve as principal or assistant principal on a few occasions, including performances of Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri, in which he led the violas for the noted Rossini specialist, Alberto Zedda. "Very accomplished, very musical" wrote Zubin Mehta of him.

He was the viola principal of the Asian Youth Alumni Orchestra for the Asian Youth Orchestra's 20th anniversary celebration in Hong Kong, 2010.

Lim Chun has relocated back to Singapore in the summer of 2014.

Chen Zhang Yi

The music of Chen Zhangyi has been described by The Straits Times (Singapore) as ba breath of fresh air on our musical landscape.b He has collaborated with ensembles internationally such as London Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Singapore Lyric Opera, National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, Orchestre de Bretagne, Alter Ego (Rome), and Imani Winds (USA). Zhangyi read music at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of the National University of Singapore (NUS). His principal mentors include Michael Hersch, Peter Edwards, Thomas Benjamin, and Kevin Puts.

At Abbey Road Studios, Eric Whitacre led the London Symphony and Eric Whitacre Singers, recording Zhangyibs award-winning Ariadnebs Love. Broadcasted on BBC Radio 3, it was dubbed bmusic from a choral voice of the future.b At the Cabrillo Festival 2012 in Santa Cruz, California, Zhangyibs coast-inspired orchestral work Sand Sketches was premiered thrice back to back, by three young conductors at the Conductorbs Guildbs composer & conductor workshop, under the guidance of Gustav Meier and Marin Alsop. At master classes and summer workshops, he worked with composers Peter EC6tvC6s, Christopher Theofanidis, Ana SokoloviD, Jean Lesage, Huang Ruo, Eric Ewazen, and Christopher Rouse.

Zhangyi also performs as a violinist and conductor. On the baroque violin, he performs early music with the Charm City Baroque. On the modern violin, Zhangyi often performs his own solo violin works, and he was commissioned by the National Arts Council to write the violin set piece, open category, of the 2013 National Violin and Piano Competition. In 2011, the Japan premiere of Rain Tree marked his conducting debut with the Tokyo Philharmonic. Zhangyi conducted the premiere of the Double Concerto for Electric Violin and Electric Bass (2012), commissioned by the Singapore-based string orchestra re: mix, and its director/solo violinist Foo Say Ming. He also served as music director of the two-week premiere run of his musical/opera Pursuant, commissioned and produced by the Singapore Lyric Opera in 2013.

The Singapore-born composer reveals his passion for his unique native culture through works such as Laksa Cantata (a Bach-inspired work based on the spicy Singaporean delicacy); Window Shopping commissioned by Chamberb"Sounds; as well as orchestral works based on Singaporean poems - Rain Tree, and A Carp Emerges. Zhangyi received the 2014 Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence awarded by his alma mater NUS, which led to the commission of a viola concerto for the NUS symphony featuring Singaporean violist Lim Chun. Future projects include collaborations with violinist Siow Lee Chin, Tang Quartet, MediaCorp, and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

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Lim Soon Lee
Music Director & Resident Conductor of NUS Symphony Orchestra

Lim Soon Lee was appointed the Music Director/Resident Conductor of the National University of Singapore Concert Orchestra in April 1994. Since then, he has managed the Orchestra of approximately 100 members, comprising undergraduates, alumni, staff and friends. Under his leadership and drive, the Orchestra was inaugurated as the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra in September 1995.

The Orchestra's overall performance level and its successful concerts can be attributed to Soon Lee's labour and love for music. His association with NUS Centre for the Arts dates back to 1980 when he assisted the violin section of the then Concert Orchestra. As a violin tutor from 1980 to 1983 and again from 1987 to 1990, he helped lay the foundation of the Orchestra in its early formative years.

In 1983, under the Public Service Commission/Singapore Symphony Orchestra Scholarship, Soon Lee graduated from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, New York, with a Bachelor of Music (Distinction). He studied the viola under the world-renowned violists, Atar Arad and Francis Tursi, and completed a two-year conducting course with Professor David Effron and Professor Donald Hunsberger. In the summers of 1984 and 1986, he served as Principal Violist at Germany's Heidelberg Music Festival and was awarded a scholarship to study the viola under Kim Kashkashian at the Lausanne Academy of Music in Switzerland for his summer programme in 1986.

Soon Lee was with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) from 1987 to 1997, during which he served as the Sub-Principal Violist from 1989 to 1997. He was Singapore's only representative member of the 1988 World Philharmonic Orchestra in Montreal, Canada. He was the Assistant Conductor of the Singapore Youth Orchestra (SYO) from 1990 to June 1997 and was also responsible for the SYO Training Ensemble.

In 1983, he conducted the SSO at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 17th SEA Games at the Singapore National Stadium as well as at the SSO's Family Concert and open-air concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. In 1996, he conducted the SSO at the World Trade Organisation First Ministerial Conference's Farewell Concert for 4000 delegates at the Sentosa Musical Fountain. He conducted the Asian Youth Orchestra during the National Day Parade at the National Stadium in August 1997.

In 1995, Soon Lee was awarded the Jean Frederic Perrenoud Prize with Certificate of Distinction in Orchestral Conducting at the 4th Vienna International Music Competition. He was also the finalist for the Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award conferred by the Orchid Jayceettes of Singapore in recognition of his contribution to the social development of Singapore.

Soon Lee was invited to conduct the New World Symphony Orchestra at Miami in April 2000. He also conducted the Mozart's Requiem at the Dennis Keene Choral Festival, 27 July to 7 August 2000, with the Keat Singers in Kent, Connecticut.

In October 2001, Soon Lee was selected to conduct the Plyzen Radio Symphony Orchestra (of the Czech Republic), to perform works by Jean Sibelius at the RSO Concert Hall during the International Sibelius Symposium Masterclass with Finland's renowned conductor Jorma Panula.

In 2005, Soon Lee was appointed conductor of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.

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