Pianist Ryan Chow is staging a solo show next year.
Pianist Ryan Chow is staging a solo show next year.PHOTO: JOSHUA WONG

Who: Ryan Chow, 27, pianist

After spending two years in national service and four years studying at the Singapore Management University, Ryan Chow decided to pursue his love for music.

Chow, who started learning to play the piano at age six, is now a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland and holds a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music where he was a scholarship student.

He has won prizes in the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York, the Chopin Piano Competition in Asia in Tokyo, and the Individualis International Music Competition in Ukraine.

On Jan 2 next year, he will stage a solo show at the Esplanade Recital Studio titled In Retrospect: The Road To Neoclassicism.

Tickets are available at Sistic (go to or call 6348-5555).

What are you reading now?

I am reading The Danger Of Music And Other Anti-Utopian Essays by Richard Taruskin who is at the forefront of musicological research today. The book is a collection of short essays that he has written over the past 20 years.

I think it summarises a lot of his key "anti-utopian" ideas as he calls them.

His essays are lucid, realistic and full of dry wit, which make them a delight to read.

He is not afraid of criticising schools of thought in performance and composition, which I think are relevant not just to the trained classical musician, but also to anyone who appreciates music and the performing arts.

He has been a performer as well and he has written on performance practice issues, Russian music - his forte - as well as neoclassicism.

What books would you save from a burning house?

Firstly, I'd save Joseph W. Polisi's The Artist As Citizen because it describes how the 21st-century musician needs to connect with the society at large.

Some of the issues he raises include an increased importance in the liberal arts curriculum, cultural awareness and enhanced outreach activities which are relevant in the performing arts of today.

Another book that explores the entrepreneurial possibilities of musicians is Angela Myles Beeching's Beyond Talent: Creating A Successful Career In Music.

I had the great fortune of working with Angela and she is one of the most insightful individuals I have met.

•The Danger Of Music And Other Anti-Utopian Essays by Richard Taruskin (2010, University Of California Press, $40.31),The Artist As Citizen by Joseph W. Polisi (2004, Amadeus Press, $28.58) and Beyond Talent: Creating A Successful Career In Music by Angela Myles Beeching (2010, Oxford University Press , $28.25) are available at

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 13, 2015, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe