Teacher and student reunite to play Bach

Kam Ning (left) and Loh Jun Hong will be performing together for the first time at the show.
Kam Ning (left) and Loh Jun Hong will be performing together for the first time at the show. PHOTO: MELISA TEO

When violinists Kam Ning and Loh Jun Hong meet on stage later this week for the Bach Continuum concert, it will be a class reunion of sorts: The former is a one-time teacher of the latter.

Kam, 42, a London-based Singaporean violinist, taught Loh, 27, at a masterclass she conducted about 17 years ago.

"It's a pleasure to see him play on stage and to be able to play with him on stage," says Kam of Loh.

"I taught him when he was just 10 - he was just so devastatingly cute back then. It's great to see that he's blossomed into this wonderful musician who can do so many things. He's such an all-rounded person."

This is the first time the two acclaimed violinists will be performing together.

Kam, a former recipient of the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council, is the artistic director and conductor of the Het Kamerorkest orchestra in Brugge, Belgium.

  • BOOK IT / BACH CONTINUUM

  • WHERE: Chamber at The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane

    WHEN: Thursday and Friday, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: From $20 at bachcontinuum.peatix.com

Loh, a Juilliard graduate who has received many international awards, including the top prize at the Gisborne International Music Competition, teaches and manages his own concert series, More Than Music, here.

Both perform frequently locally and abroad.

Approaching Kam for the concert was Loh's idea. He had suggested getting another violinist on board for the showcase to give two different interpretations of the music.

"The first person I thought of was Kam Ning, whom I have the highest respect for. She's one of the best, if not the best, in Singapore," says Loh. "She's always been a role model that I've looked up to, so it's really exciting to be able to work side by side with her."

At the two-night Bach Continuum showcase at The Arts House, the duo will alternately tackle the complete suite of Baroque composer Bach's six sonatas and partitas for solo violin, as well as two sonatas by Bartok and Ysaye.

The programme will not be all serious, says Loh, who adds that audiences should keep an ear out for the encore.

The duo have prepared a light-hearted and fun duet written by Russian violinist Aleksey Igudesman from the duo Igudesman & Joo, as a "fun surprise".

This concert has special significance for Kam as it is one of the toughest repertoires that she has had to do.

"For any violinist, to be able to play one or two of Bach's pieces for solo violin in a concert is already scaling Everest and, this time, we're doing all of them - we're even adding on Bartok and Ysaye," she says.

"It's like running a marathon. You might aspire to do it once in your life just for the sheer challenge of it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2017, with the headline 'Teacher and student reunite to play Bach'. Print Edition | Subscribe