Cultural Medallion goes to jazz stalwart, dance choreographer

Cultural Medallion recipients Louis Soliano, a jazz musician, and Low Mei Yoke, a dance choreographer, with President Halimah Yacob at the Istana yesterday. The Young Artist Award was also given out at yesterday's ceremony.
Cultural Medallion recipients Louis Soliano, a jazz musician, and Low Mei Yoke, a dance choreographer, with President Halimah Yacob at the Istana yesterday. The Young Artist Award was also given out at yesterday's ceremony.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Jazz musician Louis Soliano and dance choreographer Low Mei Yoke have been awarded the Cultural Medallion, Singapore's highest honour in the arts.

The two veteran artists received their awards from President Halimah Yacob at the Istana yesterday evening.

Soliano, 76, started moonlighting when he was a student and has since played with everyone from jazz legend Louis Armstrong to singer Shirley Bassey.

The jazz stalwart, who still does regular gigs, is only the second jazz musician to have received the award. The first was pianist Jeremy Monteiro in 2002.

Pioneering choreographer Low, 63, was once told that at 1.52m, she was too short for ballet.

But she did not give up on her passion for dance, and eventually started contemporary dance company Frontier Danceland with her husband in 1991. She is the ensemble's artistic director.

At the ceremony yesterday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu gave out the Young Artist Award.

 
 

This year's recipients are playwright Faith Ng, visual artist Hilmi Johandi, sound designer Lim Ting Li, dancer and choreographer Mohamad Sufri Juwahir, and music director and composer Zulkifli Mohamed Amin.

The Cultural Medallion was instituted in 1979 by then Minister of Culture Ong Teng Cheong. The award allows recipients to access up to $80,000 from the Cultural Medallion fund for projects that meet the fund's objectives.

The Young Artist Award, introduced in 1992, is given to artists aged 35 and younger. Recipients are eligible for a grant of up to $20,000 to support their artistic pursuits.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Cultural Medallion goes to jazz stalwart, dance choreographer'. Print Edition | Subscribe