Promising musicians win awards

Mr Wong Kah Chun (left) and Mr Chew Jun An both won prizes for compositions inspired by Indonesia.
Mr Wong Kah Chun (left) and Mr Chew Jun An both won prizes for compositions inspired by Indonesia.

Two promising Singaporean musicians, Mr Wong Kah Chun, 29, and Mr Chew Jun An, 23, have won prizes for compositions inspired by Indonesia at a music composition contest sponsored by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The duo won alongside musicians from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at the Third Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition held by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) over the weekend.

Mr Wong, a conductor/composer who has led orchestras in more than 20 cities worldwide, won the Singaporean Composer Award with Krakatoa, a symphonic tone poem inspired by a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, at the awards ceremony last Saturday night.

"With the award and recognition, I hope to write more in the future though I am busy conducting now," said Mr Wong, a fellow in music education with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He received the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to pursue a post-graduate degree in conducting in Germany in 2012.

Mr Chew, an undergraduate at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in the United States and a finalist in the 2011 edition of the competition, won the Young Singaporean Composer Award, which is for those below age 30.

He won with a Chinese orchestral piece fused with strong Indonesian gamelan music elements, named Bale Bengong, after a type of traditional pavilion found on Bali.

"I am happy to win this time and I will work harder to come up with more Nanyang-inspired works," said the budding composer who started writing music at 15.

Hong Kong composer Gordon Fung Dic-Lun won the first prize in the Composition Award category with his work, Arise, You Lion Of Glory, about the traditional Cantonese lion dance.

The competition was started by the SCO in 2006. PM Lee, who is SCO patron, supported it with a personal donation of $750,000 in 2011.

This year's contest attracted 129 composers from 13 countries and an international panel judged the final 13 entries last Friday. In conjunction with the competition, a symposium on Chinese music in Singapore was held at the Singapore Conference Hall yesterday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2015, with the headline Promising musicians win awards. Subscribe