Stars back on ChildAid stage

ChildAid alumni, piano prodigy Abigail Sin and soprano Janani Sridhar, will perform at the charity concert's 10 anniversary

Abigail Sin at age 10 was cited in Time magazine as a "bona fide prodigy" for her piano- playing skills, while Janani Sridhar won a prestigious singing award at age 14.

Their talent earned them invitations to perform at the first ChildAid in 2005. Both did so again in 2006 and Sin, once more in 2009.

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This year, Sin, 22, and Sridhar, 24, are among the star acts at the 10th anniversary edition of the annual charity concert next month. Sin is now pursuing her PhD in performance practice in Britain, while soprano Sridhar is a professional singer who is based in the United States.

Other well-known ChildAid alumni taking the stage again include classical guitarist Kevin Loh, violinist Gabriel Ng, YouTube singer Clarence Liew and singer Farisha Ishak, who is also the winner of The Final 1 singing competition.

Singer-actor Nathan Hartono, who was originally part of the line-up, is not performing due to a scheduling conflict.

In separate e-mail interviews, Sin and Sridhar tell Life! about their performance in this year's All-Stars Edition of ChildAid and how they are flying the Singapore flag high.

What are you currently busy with?

Sin: I am a doctoral student at the Royal Academy of Music in London. It's exciting to explore how my experiences as a performer shape my approach to research and analysis and vice versa.

I am also the co-founder of the More Than Music concert series with ChildAid alumnus Loh Jun Hong. This concert series aims to present world-class classical music performances in a fresh and candid manner.

We are having our next concert, Shall We Dance, on Dec 13. Fellow ChildAid performer Kevin Loh will be joining the More Than Music team for this concert.

Sridhar: I am gearing up for a busy season ahead. Concert-wise, I will be singing in Mozart's Requiem and the world premiere of A Child's Requiem.

Opera-wise, I will be singing Adina in Donizetti's The Elixir Of Love, Rosina in Rossini's Barber Of Seville, Mrs Sem in Britten's Noye's Fludde, La Bergere/La Chouette/La Chatte in Ravel's L'enfant et les Sortileges, Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme, and Clara in the world premiere of the opera Clara.

What do you consider to be your greatest career highlights?

Sin: Playing at London's Wigmore Hall in 2011 and being part of the Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland in 2007 and 2010. Those were some of the most exciting experiences of my musical journey.Sridhar: I consider every concert and opera I sing in to be a career highlight because being able to share the gift of music and do what I love is so immensely satisfying.

Any memorable moments or who are the fellow performers that you remember from the first ChildAid in 2005?Sin: I'm still friends with quite a few of those performers from the first ChildAid. Jun Hong and I first got to know each other through that concert and we've gone on to do more work together since then.

Sridhar: Abigail, Jun Hong and I shared quite a few laughs backstage and those memories have a very special place in my heart. It is really wonderful that we are all pursuing our dreams of making music.

This year's theme is the All-Stars Edition. Which person, living or dead, would you consider to be a star and why?

Sin: Argentine pianist Martha Argerich. Listening to her CDs was one of the things that made me love the piano and watching her live in concert was absolutely thrilling.

Sridhar: I would say that American opera singer Joyce DiDonato is definitely a star in every sense of the word. She is one of my favourite singers, and she is such an activist in the world of opera and classical music. She is also extremely dedicated to her craft and her fans, and is very hardworking. She is, in my eyes, a true star.

What can you tell us about your performance in this year's concert?

Sin: I'm playing the Tristan & Isolde Fantasia for violin, piano and orchestra by Franz Waxman, who was famous for his film scores. It's not a well known piece but it's very lush and luxuriously orchestrated. I'm excited to be performing with violinist Ng again, who joined me and Jun Hong for More Than Music's last concert, Play!, in September.

Sridhar: I will be singing an aria that was requested by ChildAid. Come and see, hear what it is. I promise that you will recognise it.

This year being the 10th anniversary of ChildAid, how would you describe ChildAid in exactly 10 words?

Sin: The heart of ChildAid has always been about changing lives.

Sridhar: Important, collaborative, celebratory, musical, passionate, hopeful, dazzling, special, dynamic, starry.

ayiying@sph.com.sg