After a hiatus of some 15 years, the Piano Marathon returned to public consciousness on Saturday 16 December 2017 (incidentally Beethoven's birthday) at the 1st floor plaza of ION Orchard. Organised by Steinway Gallery Singapore and The Rice Pte Ltd, the voluntary public piano-playing event attracted over 120 participants who performed continuously for 13 hours to raise funds for charity. The beneficiary of Piano Marathon 2017 was the Business Times Budding Artist Fund.
Just a bit of background history, the first ever Piano Marathon was held in 1998 at Raffles City Atrium. That and the three subsequent marathons (Music Marathon 1999, Children's Music Marathon 2000 and Music Marathon 2002) were organised by the Singapore Symphonia Co. Ltd. in aid of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
The masterminds of the endeavour were Phan Ming Yen, former SSO General Manager Tisa Ho and yours truly. The first marathon saw 122 pianists perform from 10 am to 11 am, and was opened by the late then-Chairman of SSO and former Attorney General Mr Tan Boon Teik who played Chopin's L'Adieu Waltz. At 70, he was the Marathon's oldest performer, a record I believe still stands. Late in the evening, Ming Yen and myself closed with a 4-hand version of Rossini's William Tell Overture.
The second marathon in 1999 involved other instruments and voice in addition to the piano, and took place over two days (24 hours in total) at SUNTEC City, involving over 200 performers. In those days, the Singapore Book of Records did not exist and the "records" set then had not been documented. This year's statistics were however captured by the Singapore Book of Records, and hopefully preserved for posterity.
|This year's Piano Marathon was opened by|
14-year-old Pung Rae Yue who performed a
recital with music by Chopin & Debussy.
|Kion Chew exhibited remarkable maturity|
by performing 15 of J.S. Bach's Sinfonias.
|A very dapper Ryan Phuan mastered|
a selection of Tchaikovsky's Seasons.
|Kion and Ryan in a very interesting|
medley of tunes from Mozart's Magic Flute.
|Some of the youngest performers with their|
teacher Christine Gan and Celine Goh
from Steinway Gallery Singapore.
|The youngest performer at the Piano Marathon|
was only 4 years old.
|More youngsters and budding pianists.|
|There were older performers too, like this duo of young adults|
who played William Bolcom's Serpent's Kiss.
|Celebrity performer time: |
Former Nominated Member of Parliament
Eunice Olsen tickles the ivories in a Christmas medley.
|This teenager sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.|
|All dressed up to perform!|
|Piano teacher Corinna Chang with one of her students.|
|Less cute and less cuddly, then came my turn to sub|
for any pianist who failed to turn up,
playing Bach-Siloti Air in D major.
Photograph by: Emily Gouw
|Now a larger crowd had gathered in the early evening|
to witness Lucas Ong playing Grieg's March of the
Internet Trolls and Fazil Say's Paganini Jazz.
After hanging around for close to eight hours, it was time to take my leave. Needless to say Piano Marathon 2017 proved to be a big hit, and it is hoped that this event continues to engage the public as it did 19 years ago.