Bookends

Music composer and arranger Terrence Wong will co-conduct the New Year's Eve Countdown Concert 2016 by The Philharmonic Orchestra.
Music composer and arranger Terrence Wong will co-conduct the New Year's Eve Countdown Concert 2016 by The Philharmonic Orchestra.PHOTO: DAVID PANG

Who: Terrence Wong, 26, music composer and arranger

This up-and-coming musician, who is composer-in-residence for the Singapore Wind Symphony, was one of the young talents named in Life's "30 under 30" feature this year.

Despite his youth, he has received several high-profile commissions for various events and institutions.

These include the National Piano and Violin Competition 2013 and a 20-minute concerto titled Empire for renowned American trombonist Joseph Alessi, 56, last year.

Wong started his musical journey at the age of three, playing the electric organ at Yamaha music school. When he was 14, he joined his school band at Catholic High School, playing the trombone.

He went on to study at the Nanyang Academy Of Fine Arts, receiving a bachelor of music in a joint programme with London's Royal College of Music.

He is now assistant band instructor at Catholic High and CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh).

On New Year's Eve, Wong will co-conduct the New Year's Eve Countdown Concert 2016 by The Philharmonic Orchestra.

Held at the School of the Arts Concert Hall, the performance will feature songs such as the waltz from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Suite and Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.

Tickets are available at Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555).

What are you reading right now?

I've just finished What To Listen For In Music by the late American composer Aaron Copland, which breaks music down into its basic elements. A layman with no knowledge of music theory can read the book and gain a better understanding of how music works.

I began reading this as I had to give a presentation to a group of wind band students on the topic of music appreciation, but had no idea how to help them do so. The book was enlightening.

I've also just begun reading Starting Point, 1979-1996 by acclaimed Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki, in which he describes his reflections and thoughts on his long and amazing journey as one of the world's most famous film-makers.

What books would you save from a burning house?

I would not save any music- related books, but a few that have helped shaped me into the person I am today. One of these is Foundation by Issac Asimov, a fictional work which describes how one man's vision in the distant future aims to help reduce a period of galactic strife from 30,000 years to just 1,000.

He uses his understanding of how human beings behave en masse and thus influences them without their direct knowledge.

This book has helped me understand that human beings are only human and that our actions are predictable to a great extent. Accepting this fact helps us to work better with the people around us, especially if we, as artists, wish to make huge strides forward in the near future.

•What To Listen For In Music by Aaron Copland (2011, Signet, $11.24), Starting Point, 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki (2014,VIZ Media LLC, $21.30) and Foundation by Issac Asimov (1991, Bantam Spectra Books, $7.18) are available at amazon.com.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe