Singapore pianist swings with Bach

Singapore pianist Simplicius Cheong is believed to be retired and based in Sydney.
Singapore pianist Simplicius Cheong is believed to be retired and based in Sydney. ST FILE PHOTO

Singapore pianist Simplicius Cheong, a music student at the University of Western Australia, was reported this week in 1965 to have snagged a recording contract with his jazz band.

He had formed the band in 1965 and a performance it gave was shown by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in all major cities in Australia.

The band got its start after he met Mr Peter Andrew, part-time owner of a jazz club in Perth, and was invited to play with the club's musicians. He started playing regularly there and the band later got the recording offer. Mr Cheong also had an offer from a Sydney Music firm to publish three of his compositions.

A surprised Mr Cheong said: "All I wanted to do was to prove that the music of Bach, especially in his Baroque period, had an inherent swinging quality."

He worked as a radio producer in Singapore in the 1970s and as a music lecturer at the Sydney College of Advanced Education in the 1980s. A programme of a concert held in February said he is retired and based in Sydney.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 06, 2015, with the headline 'Singapore pianist swings with Bach'. Print Edition | Subscribe