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Concert review: From raw talent to mature virtuoso

Published on Mar 20, 2014 3:59 PM
Singapore violinist Tang Tee Khoon shows her skill in handling the instrument in her latest concert, one centred on Russian music. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Some items of historical significance may be classified as national treasures. One such treasure is a 1750 J.B. Guadagnini violin, purchased by an institutional benefactor and donated to the National Arts Council in 2000. The instrument has since been lent to Singaporean violinists making their mark in the global scene. It now rests in the deserving hands of 30-year-old Tang Tee Khoon.

Having won the grand prize for all-round best musician at the 1993 National Music Competition at age nine, Tang has gone on to become a chamber musician of the highest order. Her latest concert, one centred on Russian music, also showed she has matured beyond raw prodigious talent to something truly transcendent.

Despite her petite built, she exuded a big and brawny tone on the violin, one capable of cutting through plangent piano textures and capaciously filling the hall. In Prokofiev's Second Violin Sonata, she alternated between its bittersweet reminiscences and mercurial dervishes so expertly and confidently without as much as breaking into a sweat.

She brought out the requisite shades and nuances of Tchaikovsky's Souvenir D'un Lieu Cher (Memory Of A Beloved Place), three pieces which progress from serious melancholy to salon lightness. Through these, an unfailingly singing tone happily co-existed with an iron-clad technique and razor-keen responses.

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