Monday, 25 June 2012


The 4th Singapore Performers' Festival 2012 reached a satisfying conclusion last Sunday evening at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory. This biennial event, organised by the Singapore Music Teachers Association (SMTA), brought together 370 young musicians from 16 different nations to perform classical music in an environment that is friendly and non-competitive in nature. The format is simple: prepare a free choice of repertoire (even a short piece of music will do) and perform it in front of a camera, recording crew and equipment, and a panel of international professional musicians. At the end of the exercise, you get a professionally produced DVD of your performance, a critique from the judges, and the adulation of your family and loved ones. The ones judged to be several cuts better get Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum awards, and some scholarship money to boot. An additional element to this year's festival is the opportunity to rehearse a full-length concerto with the Orchestra of Music Makers.

Sunday evening's event kicked off with performances by finalists for the PF-OMM Concerto Rehearsal Experience Prize, followed by a piano recital and an almost interminable round of prize-giving. Pianomania is proud to be the sponsor of two Pianomania Scholarships which went to pianists who gave the best performances of most interesting and varied repertoire.

The youngest performers of the evening was 8-year-old Pung Rae Yue, who played Haydn's Sonata No.1 in C major  with great confidence and aplomb, followed by a fleet-fingered MalagueƱa by Albeniz.

The winner of the OMM Concerto Rehearsal Experience Prize was violinist Lieu Kah Yen who offered the first movement of Lalo's Symphonie Espgnole. Now he will get to play the whole concerto under Maestro Chan Tze Law's baton (left).

Other contenders for the concerto experience prize was violinist Nur Shaheen Zainudin (Sarasate Zigeunerweisen) and Mervin Wong (Bowen Phantasie). The former had a outward brilliance, flair and attitude which did not look out of place in Bond, while the latter gave the most mature conception of a string work. Both string players and cellist Yun Xi Lau won a customised hand-crafted bow (worth USD 9000) by Singapore's very own archetier Paul S.J.Goh.

With the competitive element over, these piano duos took the stage looking rather  sheepish and lacklustre, however it all changed when they performed Poulenc's Sonata for 4 Hands (Letizia Tjiupek and Adriana Salim) and movements from Norton's Microjazz (Lim Yu Juan and Tan Sok Ming) with much verve.

Two young Indonesians claim the stage. Sally Yapto was an animated and colourful exponent of Debussy's La Serenade Interrompue while Joshua Kurniadi gave the smoothest possible account of Billy Mayerl's Railroad Rhythm. 

All the winners (there were many, many of them) line up for a group photo.

The first winner of the Pianomania Scholarship was See Ning Hui, who incidentally won the Singapore Steinway Youth Piano Competition the evening before. She will go on and study in London's Royal College of Music later this year. 

The other winner of the Pianomania Scholarship was Gavin Jared Bala, another of the Steinway Competition finalists.

The "Batik Brigade" from Indonesia. Every Performers' Festival brings an important and lively  participation from young talents of our neighbour Indonesia. Being the 4th most populous nation in the world, could Indonesia be a new force for classical music-making?   

More winners with their teachers Angelyn Aw and Winnie Tay.

No comments: