Sing50 Steinway at National Gallery

Under a new initiative, students here will be invited to play original compositions or popular local songs on the grand piano

Performers from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School (from left) Jessie Phay, 13, Adelyn Koh, 15, and Koh Ming Yang, 13, at the National Gallery Singapore yesterday. ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The striking red Steinway grand piano that Chinese classical star Lang Lang played on last year at the Sing50 mega concert celebrating 50 years of Singapore music has found a new home at the National Gallery Singapore.

The piano, the only one of its kind here, was donated to the gallery yesterday through sponsorship from DBS and POSB banks. It will be used in a new concert series called Singapore Rhapsodies at National Gallery Singapore.

The music initiative, which was also launched yesterday, invites students from schools here to play original compositions or popular Singapore songs on the piano. It is organised by the Sing50 Fund, which seeks to preserve and celebrate Singapore's rich music heritage.

Mr Edmund Cheng, chairman of the Sing50 Fund, said at the launch of the series: "Music is a meaningful and expressive part of Singapore's heritage. The Singapore Rhapsodies concert series presents a contemporary platform for our youths to be acquainted with our local tunes and home-grown artists.

"It is an excellent opportunity for our young to immerse in the creative composition process and share their interpretations of many familiar favourites."

The Sing50 Fund is part of the Sing50 concert at National Stadium that was organised last year by The Straits Times and The Business Times. The concert featured Lang Lang as one of the top-billed stars.

Using the red Steinway piano, he played Singapore composer Kelly Tang's Three Movement Concerto, which pays homage to Singapore's past, present and future. Fifty home-grown pianists accompanied Lang Lang in the performance.

Officially starting in March, the Singapore Rhapsodies at National Gallery Singapore series will be held at its Singapore Courtyard every Friday at 2pm.

The piano will stay at the National Gallery for a year and then move to another location, bringing the concert series along with it.

Said Ms Karen Ngui, a managing director and head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications for DBS Bank: "Because POSB has always shared a unique affinity with young Singaporeans, we are delighted to be able to support talented students in their passion for music and pursuit of excellence, by offering them the opportunity to play on one of the world's finest instruments."

A two-hour programme kicked off the series yesterday, with performances by students from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Dunman High School and Wellington Primary School.

Vienna Fiorella Anong, 12, a member of the Wellington Primary School Choir, performed Chinese folk song The Shepherdess and a medley of three Malay folk songs - Potong Bebek Angsa, Di Tanjung Katong and Geylang Sipaku Geylang. She said: "This was my first time at the National Gallery and I was very nervous. Thankfully, I overcame those nerves and enjoyed myself thoroughly."

Adelyn Koh Xin Hui from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School played an original composition called Friendship on the Steinway. The 15-year-old, who is in the school's pioneer batch of the Enhanced Music Programme, said: "It was great to be able to perform on the red Steinway piano. The sound was so much grander compared to the pianos I rehearse on."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline Sing50 Steinway at National Gallery. Subscribe