Outstanding Young Chinese Instrumentalists and Ensembles Awarded at the 9th Biennial National Chinese Music Competition

65 young musicians and four youth ensembles awarded at the 2014 National Chinese Music Competition Prize Winners’ Concert & Prize Presentation Ceremony


Singapore, 15 December 2014 – After 12 days of intense competition among 263 participants, the National Arts Council (NAC) and Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 National Chinese Music Competition. The 65 individual winners and four youth ensembles had the honour of receiving their awards from the Guest-of-Honour, Mrs Goh Chok Tong, and NAC’s Director of Sector Development, Ms Elaine Ng, at the Prize Winners’ Concert & Prize Presentation Ceremony held yesterday evening at the Singapore Conference Hall (SCO Concert Hall). Selected winners of the competition also had the privilege to perform alongside the SCO at the concert.


2              In its 9th edition this year, the biennial national competition recognises and awards individuals and ensembles with the highest standards of Chinese classical music in Singapore. Says Ms Elaine Ng, Director of Sector Development, NAC, “First and foremost I would like to congratulate all the winners and participants of the competition this year for a splendid performance and high level of showmanship displayed. The quality and hard work they put in was certainly inspiring and shows the amount of talent we have here in the traditional Chinese music scene. The Council remains committed to nurturing young talents and supporting them in their overall development. We are glad that the Singapore Chinese Orchestra remains our close partner in charting the development and identifying our next generation of Chinese musicians.”


3              Similar to previous editions, participants this year performed in front of a panel of renowned local and international adjudicators who are highly regarded in the field of Chinese music in Singapore and internationally. The 2014 panel comprised 10 music luminaries who include Mr Eric Watson, Dr Joshua Chan, Mr Lin Ku-jen, Mr Ling Hock Siang, Mr Qu Chunquan, Mr Tew Tiong Ley, Prof Wei Wei, Prof Zhang Zunlian, Prof Zhou Lijuan and Mr Yeo Siew Wee.             


4              The Preliminaries and Finals of the competition was held at the School of the Arts Concert Hall from 1 to 12 December followed by a Dialogue with Adjudicators on 13 December. Seven of the adjudicators – Dr Joshua Chan, Mr Lin Ku-jen, Mr Ling Hock Siang, Mr Tew Tiong Ley, Prof Wei Wei, Prof Zhang Zunlian and Mr Yeo Siew Wee were present at the dialogue. Moderated by Mr Ling, the adjudicators shared their thoughts and observations of the competition this year. Audiences present also engaged in a lively discussion with the adjudicators on general issues on the participation process and the traditional Chinese music scene.


5              Says Mr Ling Hock Siang, an adjudicator for both the preliminaries and finals and a recipient of the Young Artist Award (2004), “While it is commendable to see all the participants set such high standards for themselves and put in their best for the competition, it is the knowledge and experience gained in the process that is most invaluable. Such competitions play an important part in one’s learning journey as a musician.”


6              One of the competition’s foreign adjudicators – and a famous erhu performer and educator from China – Prof Zhang Zunlian, added, “In addition to theoretical development and good compositions, competitions are also essential drivers of the overall traditional Chinese music scene. In 1963, the Shanghai Spring International Festival – one of the most prestigious Chinese music competitions in China – produced a pool of legendary performers and teachers such as (Ms) Min Huifen,  (Mr) Xiao Baiyong, (Mr) Jiang Xunfeng and (Mr) Wang Guotong, whose contributions to the scene have influenced many generations of Chinese musicians.”


7              The National Chinese Music Competition continues to be a platform for new and emerging music talents in the field of traditional Chinese music to showcase their talents to well-known names in the industry. It remains a good opportunity for them to develop and improve on their overall performance and musical standards in front of a live audience.


8              Commenting on his win this year and experience of the competition, Mr Desmond Soo, 20, a two-time NCMC erhu champion (2012 Youth and 2014 Open Category) said, “I am very happy to be one of the selected winners performing alongside celebrated musicians from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. The competition has been a thrilling ride for me as I got to showcase my skills in front of the judges. If there is one thing I have learned – despite having played the Erhu for 7 years – mastering traditional music is like a marathon and not a sprint, and requires dedication.”


9              Since it was launched in 1998, the NCMC has identified and produced several prominent local Chinese musicians and music groups in Singapore, including Ding Yi Music Company and full-time musicians in SCO, Mr Wilson Neo and Ms Koh Hui Min.


10           Mr Terence Ho, General Manager of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra added, “We are certainly thrilled to be working with the Council once again on this national competition. With each edition, it is always encouraging to see fresh energy, passion and innovation from these younger generations of classical Chinese musicians.  As Singapore’s national flagship Chinese Orchestra, we always welcome fresh talent and are open to incorporating new and contemporary ideas so that the traditional Chinese music scene in Singapore can continue to evolve, grow and attract new audiences.”


For a full list of winners, please refer to the Annex