13-hour charity piano marathon for Business Times Budding Artists Fund aims to set record

Jesse Collins playing his own composition, a Boogie Woogie improvisation, at Ion Orchard.
Jesse Collins playing his own composition, a Boogie Woogie improvisation, at Ion Orchard.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
 Jesse Collins, 11, playis his own composition, a Boogie Woogie improvisation, for the Piano Marathon 2017 at Ion Orchard.
Jesse Collins, 11, playis his own composition, a Boogie Woogie improvisation, for the Piano Marathon 2017 at Ion Orchard. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Classical tunes and Christmas melodies filled the air at Ion Orchard mall on Saturday afternoon (Dec 16), as part of a charity piano marathon organised by piano maker Steinway and Sons.

The marathon saw pianists of all ages taking turns to play music from 10am in an effort to set a new record here. It is expected to end at 11pm.

Proceeds from the marathon will go towards The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which provides arts training to young people from needy families.

One of the day's performers was 11-year-old Jesse Collins, who played a composition of his own completely from memory. It incorporated Christmas tunes, and took 1½ months to compose.

"I've been learning the boogie-woogie piano style for a few years... I really like it and I like to improvise," Jesse said.

This distinct musical style, which grew out of the blues genre, was popularised in the United States in the 1920s.

Ms Celine Goh, who is general manager of the Steinway Gallery Singapore, said that it has traditionally organised youth piano competitions which "drew the cream of the crop".

This charity marathon, organised for the first time, was a way for pianists of all ages and skill levels to show off their capabilities, she added.

"It's different from a very serious competition," Ms Goh said. "There's a feeling of community."