Many pathways for musicians to excel

We thank Ms Tan Yulin for her letter and for the opportunity to share how the National Arts Council (NAC) has helped to build the foundation for our musicians, including those in Western classical music, to excel (Do more to support local Western classical musicians; Oct 15).

For classical music, apart from talent-building platforms like the National Piano and Violin Competition and the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, there are also grants and scholarships for our top musicians to pursue international success and develop a distinctive voice in their creations.

Some of the young classical musicians who have made an impact at home and internationally include Chloe Chua, Loh Jun Hong, Jessie Meng, Abigail Sin, Diana Soh and Kahchun Wong, to name a few.

Our home-grown Singapore Symphony Orchestra performed to critical acclaim at the BBC Proms in 2014 and completed a successful multi-city tour in Germany and the Czech Republic in 2016. At home, their musicians have good careers, with many of them taking on teaching or mentorship roles.

Since 1979, more than 30 musicians have been awarded the Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award, Singapore's highest accolades for the arts, to recognise their contribution towards the development of classical music.

A number of other Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award recipients who were trained in classical music have also gone on to push boundaries in other musical forms, such as jazz and Chinese orchestral music in the international arena.

These are just some examples of our musicians who have done well, and whose example we hope will be an encouragement to Ms Tan.

We also should add that the music profession has evolved over the years and NAC's support, while not the only factor for any artist's success, has played a part to enable musicians to develop multi-faceted and resilient portfolio careers.

In today's economy, it is indeed common for an artist to take on different roles, from creator and performer to educator, consultant and community practitioner.

It can be tough at times, but there are different paths possible for artists, all potentially fulfilling if one is disciplined and well-prepared.

Elaine Ng (Ms)

Senior Director of Sector Development (Performing Arts)

National Arts Council