Goh Soon Tioe music award open for applications

Violinist, conductor, teacher and impresario Goh Soon Tioe died in 1982.
Violinist, conductor, teacher and impresario Goh Soon Tioe died in 1982.PHOTO: ST FILE

Young musicians, take note.

The annual Goh Soon Tioe Centenary award, Singapore's only privately funded award for string players, has opened applications for this year.

The $6,000 award will be given to a deserving string player who can "communicate powerfully with an audience through music", says Ms Vivien Goh, the daughter of late esteemed violinist and conductor Goh Soon Tioe.

Established in 2011 by Ms Goh and her family, together with some of her father's former students and friends, the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Fund aims to encourage and support string players aged 15 to 25 in developing a music career. The first award was given out in 2012.

Apart from the cash award, the winner will perform in a public recital organised by the fund.

But first, shortlisted applicants have to audition in front of a four-member panel, which includes Ms Goh and her sister.

Applications are open till April 28 and auditions will be held between June and August this year.

While violinists take priority in the selection, other string players stand a fair chance. Two of the past five winners have been non-violin players.

One of them is double bassist Julian Li, 30, who clinched the award in 2013. He remembers being surprised by the win as he did not feel prepared during the audition.

Li also had to borrow a friend's double bass for the audition as he had left his in Austria, where he was studying then.

Despite the odds being stacked against him, he took home the $6,000 award, which he used to pay for his tuition fees at the University of Graz.

"It gave me more drive to continue with my studies," said Li, who is now the principal bassist for the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra in China.

"I felt a sense of gratitude that kept me going, and hopefully, one day, I'll be able to contribute back to it ."

Like Li, inaugural winner Helena Yah says the award helped her gain confidence in her field.

"It inspired me to commit and excel even more as a musician as it serves as a recognition of my achievement and work," says the 21-year-old violinist.

Next month, she will be back from London, where she is studying, to perform as a soloist for the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

For more information on the award, go to www.facebook.com/GohSoonTioeCentenaryAward

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2017, with the headline 'Goh Soon Tioe music award open for applications'. Print Edition | Subscribe