Thursday, 24 March 2011


NUS CFA Speakers Series
Tuesday (22 March 2011)
NUS Museum

So its finally over! My little contribution to the National University of Singapore Centre for the Arts ongoing Speakers Series took place on Tuesday afternoon, attended by an audience of almost a hundred people, family and friends included. It was hosted by Professor Wang Ya-Hui (below), who quizzed me on a number of subjects, including the catchy title of the talk, and how an absolute rank musical amateur like myself entered into the world of classical music. Its quite simple actually - I was a failed pianist! And failed musicians take the easier option and become doctors!
The audience was a warm and receptive one, even if one errant handphone went off (it had to be that Nokia ringtone!). How did I fill up those 90 minutes? By having an acute attack of verbal diarrhea (a speciality of mine) certainly helped, besides being obliged to play some music on CFA's quite lovely Ibach grand piano.

What did I play? I began with the Intermezzo in A major (Op.118 No.2) by Brahms after a long preamble, and to while the time away before the Q & A session, the final movement from Schumann's Fantasy in C major (Op.17). As with other public performances, I must admit to have played much better when no one's listening. And to suffer the ignominy of having the piano lid fall on my fingers while clumsily trying to turn a page! It was thus a relief for both performer and audience when the ordeal came to a close.

The short encore was Marc-André Hamelin's Ringtone Waltz, previously known as Valse Irritation d'apres Nokia! By the way, the handphone that went off (and I have Mrs Tan Suan Imm to thank!) was completely unscripted. How's that for "Bluffing Your Way Through Classical Music"?
My thanks go to Prof Wang Ya-Hui, Christine Khor, Lai Zhenhua and the technical crew of CFA for their hard work, forebearance and patience.

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