ARTS AWARDS 2023
The Arts House
Tuesday (5 December 2023)
The Arts Awards, Singapore annual celebration of artistic achievement, has come and gone. It usually takes place in October, but this year's marquee event was delayed until December. And it was a most pleasant surprise to be invited to attend, and the invitation came from someone I had not written a recommendation for but nonetheless a wholly deserving recipient. Sadly, all three persons whom I had recommended - incidentally all violinists - did not make the cut. Perhaps the next time.
|The Arts House was jam-packed with people,
mostly unmasked. Someone's going to catch Covid!
The actual ceremony took place at the Istana with the President in attendance, but the post-ceremony party, attended by all and sundry of the arts fraternity took place at The Arts House. It was a rather informal and unstuffy affair, the dress code being casual and there were no security checks to be had. The food was excellent and the company close to perfect.
|Minister Edwin Tong
delivers his address
For the record, three Cultural Medallions were awarded (to two writers and one dance practitioner), while five Young Artist Awards were handed out (of whom two were composers). The composer who so kindly extended me the invitation was 35-year-old Wang Chenwei, who is presently the Composer-in-Residence of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the youngest person to ever hold that position.
He is also likely to be the most performed of all local composers, with works written for Western and Chinese orchestras, school ensembles, and even competition pieces for the National Piano & Violin Competition. His ability to convincingly blend Asian and Western musical idioms makes him the archetypal composer of Nanyang music. The sheer accessibility of his works makes them popular among performers and listeners alike. Works like The Sisters' Islands (composed at the age of 16) and Confluence have become very popular in their versions for Chinese and Western instruments. Well-deserved congatulations are due for this remarkable achievement and accolade.
|The Cultural Medallion recipients seated.
Here are some photographs from the Arts Award dinner party, a happy meeting of the Who's Who of Singapore culture today.
|Writer Meira Chand
|Footballer turned dancer
Osman Abdul Hamid.
|Writer Suchen Christine Lim
|Can you spot past Cultural Medallion recipients here?
There's Rahimah Rahim, Lynnette Seah, Ivan Heng...
Sunny Wong, Nellie Seng, Lena Ching,
Jessica Chen and Zechariah Goh
|Former SSO CEO Chng Hak-Peng
& NAC staffer and soprano Rebecca Li
|Chorus Masters unite!
Eudenice Palaruan & Toh Ban Sheng
|Bansuri (Indian flute) meisters:
Niranjan Pandian & Ghanavenothan Retnam
|Wang Chenwei with his
first composition teacher Tan Chan Boon,
from whom he had lessons since 11 years of age.
|Tan Chan Boon is Paris-bound
to write his seventh symphony.