Local pianist gets scholarship for doctorate

Singapore piano prodigy Abigail Sin is on her way to pursuing a doctorate, with help from a prestigious scholarship.-- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Singapore piano prodigy Abigail Sin is on her way to pursuing a doctorate, with help from a prestigious scholarship.-- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Singapore piano prodigy Abigail Sin is on her way to pursuing a doctorate, with help from a prestigious scholarship.

The 22-year-old award-winning pianist is one of four recipients of this year's Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship, which is given to outstanding Singaporeans to help them pursue postgraduate studies.

Set up in 1991 by the Tanjong Pagar Citizens' Consultative Committee, the scholarship is now awarded by the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship Fund, a registered charity.

In September, Ms Sin will head to London's Royal Academy of Music to begin a four-year PhD programme in performance practice.

"My curriculum vitae is quite different from most other people who are serving in the public service, so I wasn't sure if I would get the scholarship," said the only daughter of a legal counsel and housewife, both 54.

"But it's very helpful in terms of funding my studies and is a whole load off my shoulders. I'm honoured that the Government has invested in my education and the arts scene here."

She is no typical teenager. In 2006, she started her music degree at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the age of 14, and went on to graduate with a master's degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London in 2012.

She has won numerous accolades at international piano competitions across Europe, Asia and the United States.

She will return to perform concerts here, including the charity concert, ChildAid at Marina Bay Sands' Sands Theatre on Dec 5 and 6 this year.

Ms Sin, who has performed at three previous editions of this concert in the past, will be one of the star performers at its 10th edition, which is being organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times.

Funds raised will go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund - which gives a monthly stipend to students from low-income homes to help them with school-related expenses - and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which seeks to help underprivileged children develop their talents in music, dance, theatre and the visual arts.

The four recipients were given the bond-free Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship at a ceremony at InterContinental Hotel yesterday.

They will each get a one-off award of $10,000 and an annual allowance while they are pursuing their studies - $50,000 for those from the private sector or $10,000 for those from the public sector.

The other recipients are Mr Kwa Chin Soon, 29, senior engineer at the Building and Construction Authority, Ms Charlene Chang, 37, director of the Community Relations and Engagement Division at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Colonel Goh Si Hou, 36, a senior project officer supporting the Committee to Strengthen National Service at the Ministry of Defence.