65 musicians and 4 ensembles awarded at the 2016 National Chinese Music Competition Prize Winners’ Concert & Prize Presentation Ceremony
Above: First Prize winner of Pipa Open Category performing alongside Singapore Chinese Orchestra
Singapore, 12 December 2016 – The distinguished biennial National Chinese Music Competition (NCMC) 2016 concluded last evening at the Singapore Conference Hall (SCO Concert Hall) with a rousing concert performance, by some of the nation’s finest young talents in the Chinese music scene, to an audience of close to 600. The National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) and Singapore Chinese Music Federation (SCMF) jointly presented awards to 65 soloists and 4 ensembles.
2 Into its 10th edition this year, NCMC celebrates excellence in Chinese music and aims to develop the performing skills of young musicians, raise musical standards and identify new talents in Singapore. It is also an opportunity that introduces our youth talent and Chinese music to the public. The 11-day long competition saw 309 budding musicians perform before Singapore and international adjudicators during the preliminary and final rounds from 29 November to 9 December at the Singapore Conference Hall. Guest-of-Honour, Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community & Youth and Mr Paul Tan, Covering CEO of NAC, gave out the awards at last night’s Prize Presentation Ceremony.
3 This year’s competition was judged by nine music luminaries from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. They include Ms Xiong Yue, respected Guzheng soloist and member of Chinese Musician's Association, Ms Duan Aiai, Erhu soloist of Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, Mr Wu Chung Hsien, renowned Dizi soloist, Associate Professor and Director of Chinese Culture University, Department of Chinese Music, Ms Wong Chi Ching, Music Director of Wuji Ensemble and Pipa soloist, Mr Yeo Siew Wee, Singapore's celebrated Suona musician and Secretary-General of Singapore Chinese Music Federation. The panel also included past winners of the competition Mr Ling Hock Siang, Erhu Associate Principal of Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and Mrs Ee-Chek Yui Hong, Guzheng soloist and conductor of Nanyang Girl’s High School Chinese Orchestra, and composers, Mr Simon Kong Su Leong and Ms Liong Kit Yeng from Malaysia and Singapore respectively (see Annex B for profiles of adjudicators).
4 Ms Elaine Ng, Director of Sector Development (Traditional Arts & Dance), NAC said, “My heartfelt congratulations to this year’s winners for their inspiring music-making. The high standards displayed attest to the dedication from our next generation of musicians. The increased interest and participation reflect our robust traditional Chinese music scene. Indeed, the future of this music form is exciting with Singapore’s unique soundscape grounded in the classics but with multicultural Southeast Asian influences. We’d also like to extend our sincere appreciation to co-organising partners SCO and SCMF for their dedicated contributions.”
5 Showcasing their skills, musicians competed in Dizi, Erhu, Guzheng, Pipa, Sheng, Suona, Yangqin and Zhongruan, as well as ensemble categories. Selected winners also took centre stage alongside the celebrated Singapore Chinese Orchestra, to perform The Brave Spirit of the Snow Mountain (雪山魂塑), Cloud and Flowers Fantasies (云想·花想), and the fourth movement of The Peacock Wedding (孔雀) conducted by Mr Quek Ling Kiong, Resident Conductor, SCO.
6 Mr Terence Ho, Executive Director, SCO, said, “The National Chinese Music Competition serves as a quality platform to nurture the next generation of musicians, which is important in driving development of the Chinese music ecosystem. With SCO celebrating its 20th anniversary and the competition reaching its 10th edition, we look forward to continue our partnership with NAC to showcase the virtuosity of our young musicians.”
7 Dr Tay Teow Kiat, President, Singapore Chinese Music Federation, said, “Over the past 18 years, the National Chinese Music Competition has successfully produced a pool of young talents who have gone on to pursue professional careers in Chinese music. In this year’s competition, we are glad to see many young participants who continue to display impressive potential and outstanding skills in their performances. Their flair and passion for the art form will help to take Chinese music in Singapore to greater heights.”
8 Ms Ee-Chek Yui Hong, adjudicator of the preliminary and final round of the competition, said, "The quality of talent as well as the high performing standard of this competition has earned the admiration of both our overseas and local adjudicators, many of whom were stunned by the strength and development of this traditional art form in multicultural Singapore. We have come into our own, and are well-poised to forge a uniquely Singaporean identity amongst the giants of Chinese traditional music."
Annex A: List of Winners
Annex B: Biographies of 2016 Adjudicators
Annex C: Prize Categories
Annex D: Glossary of Chinese Terms