Leong Weng Kam
The Straits Times
Thursday, Jan 30, 2014
SINGAPORE – A new organisation to promote Chinese music and raise its performance standards has been sent up.
The Singapore Chinese Music Federation, as it is called, will represent the more than 200 local Chinese music groups and thousands of professional musicians. Membership is free.
Cultural Medallion recipient Tay Teow Kiat, the music director and conductor of the City Chinese Orchestra, and Mr Terence Ho, general manager of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), are the driving forces behind the new body. They have formed a 15-member management council comprising young and old leaders representing several Chinese instrumental groups like erhu, guzheng and pipa.
The council held its first meeting last Wednesday at the Singapore Conference Hall, home of the SCO, and elected Dr Tay, 66, as president with Mr Ho, 44, as vice-president. Other office-bearers elected were veteran suona player-turned teacher Yeo Siew Wee, 59, who is secretary-general, and Teng Ensemble’s music director Yang Jiwei, 33, who is treasurer.
Dr Tay said he was approached last August by SCO chairman Patrick Lee, the federation’s patron, to help set up the umbrella body. “I agreed after Mr Lee gave me his full support by providing space and even secretariat assistance at SCO’s premises,” he added.
Dr Tay said the federation will stage concerts, music workshops and seminars, issue publications and undertake research projects to help raise the standards of Chinese music performances. It will be formally launched at a concert in March.
Mr Ho said recruitment has just begun and there will be two categories of membership: group and individual. Council member Chua Yew Kok, 35, from Ding Yi Music Company and a 2013 Young Artist Award winner, said the new group will help bring the many thousands of Chinese musicians closer. Fellow council member Ling Hock Siang, 44, an associate principal erhu player with the SCO, hoped smaller music groups and even individuals – especially semi-professionals or amateurs – will benefit from the education programmes which the federation will soon roll out. Mr Lee said the SCO will find it easier to spot talent with the formation of the umbrella body.