Dr Samuel Wong Shengmiao is the Artistic Director of The TENG Company; found of The Pipa Quartet; author of the books “Impressions of a Pipa Player” (2003), “QI: An Instrumental Guide to the Chinese Orchestra” (2005) and the recipient of the Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award 2009, the JCCI Singapore Foundation Culture Award 2009, the Henry Worthington Scholarship, the Hokkien Huay Kuan’s Arts and Cultural Bursary, the Singapore Institute of Management Teaching Excellence Award 2012 and the Ngee Ann Polytechnic 50th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni Award for Arts & Culture. He is currently serving in the Programme Advisory Committee of SIM University, Head of Research & Education for the newly formed Singapore Chinese Music Federation, a lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts and the University of Buffalo-The State University of New York programme in Singapore, as well as a mentor for the Artist Mentor Scheme 2013, an initiative helmed by the Singapore Teachers’ Academy for the aRts (STAR) and supported by the National Arts Council.
As a music advisor, Samuel was on the interview panel of the National Arts Council for the distribution of the Seed Grant (2011) and Music applicants of the NAC Scholarship & Bursary (2011 & 2012). Samuel has also lectured and taught extensively, including engagements with the Kolej Damansara Utama (KDU) University College (2013), National University of Singapore – Centre for the Arts (2013), Singapore Teachers’ Academy for the Arts (2012), University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (2012), Conservatorium van Amsterdam (2009), the Faculties of Music at Silpakorn and Rangsit Universities in Thailand (2008), the ASEAN People to-People Cultural Meetings in Laos (2007), The National Arts Council (2006), The Ministry of Education’s Leadership Training Camp (2005) and the Ministry of Education’s Annual Music Camp (2005) among others. His books have been reviewed by international peer-reviewed journals and have been used as reference books for the GCE ‘A’ level music syllabus in Singapore and in compositional faculties overseas. He has also contributed articles for the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Taipei National Chinese Orchestra, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the Singapore Business Times. In March 2014, Samuel’s English article on the Chinese music scene in Singapore will be launched in an anthology of Singaporean music published by the National Library Board.
In his youth, Samuel was described by the Singapore Business Times as “one of the best Pipa players in Singapore” and was a two-time Pipa champion at Singapore’s National Chinese Music Competition (2000, 2002), having performed extensively, managing a busy schedule of international solo engagements. He has performed in the capacity of soloist and chamber musician in Melbourne, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Copenhagen, London, Dublin, Mayo, Wales and Vientiane among other cities. An advocate of contemporary work, he premiered the works of Goh Toh Chai (‘Shuo Feng’, ‘Ming Yue’), Joyce Koh (‘On the String’, ‘Wrath’, ‘Locust’s Wrath’, ‘ISLAND Project’), The Ah Hock and Peng Yu Dance Company (‘Formidable’, ‘O Moon’, ‘In Place’), Angela Liong (‘Corridor of Another time’, ‘Borrowed Scenery’), Jean Foo (‘Silver Beads’) and played the works of Tan Dun (‘Ghost Opera’), Tang Jian Ping (‘Chun Qiu’), Phoon Yew Tien (‘Separation of the Newly Weds’) among numerous other works from new music composers. He collaborated with Singaporean arts groups and institutions: Theatreworks, Magnetic Band, The Observatory, Poetry Slam, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, The Arts Fission Company, Gamelan Asmaradana, Fortitude Percussion and numerous artists including Patravadi Mejudhon (Thailand), Katsura Kan (Japan), Marc Smith (USA), Ix Wong (Malaysia) and PerMagnus Lindborg (Sweden).
In December 2013, Samuel was officially invited by the Chulaborn Research Institute on a concert tour to China with Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol: playing at the Vic Hua Hin theatre, Hangzhou Grand Theatre, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre and Tsinghua University. As a prominent figure in the Chinese and Singaporean music scene, Samuel has also worked with numerous local composers, performers and directors such as Dr Kelly Tang, Sherman Ko, Lim Yi Benjamin, Justin Hegburg, Philip Tan, Darren Ng, Royston Tan, DJ KoFlow, Nawaz Mirajkar (Tabla), Maniam (Tabla), Shane Thio (Piano) and Chan Yoong Han (Violin) among others. In 2009, Samuel co-founded The TENG Ensemble and assumed the role of its artistic director, a Chinese music band aimed at creating awareness for Chinese instruments and its music by merging popular musics and folksongs or original local compositions, accompanied with a midi soundscape. The TENG Ensemble has since performed at various international and national events like the Youth Olympic Games and the Shanghai World Expo, gaining recognition from many notable figures and featuring heavily in the media as an alternative Chinese instrumental music group.
In 2013, he set up The Pipa Quartet, with three of his award-winning students and revolutionised the instrument, creating the world’s first electo-acoustic pipa with the help of Singaporean luthier Toh Koon Swee. The quartet has since performed overseas at the Silapakorn University, Bangkok Art and Cultural
Centre as well as Vic hua Hin theatre to standing ovations and critical acclaim. They were also featured in the news and in a documentary in Thailand, and have also a performed in a series of lecture-recitals around Singapore, at major universities such as Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore, as well as in public spaces such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The quartet has also performed for charity, such as for the Singapore Children’s Society and a W!ild Rice fundraising gala. Less than a year after it was founded, The Pipa Quartet was award the NAC Creation Grant and has been creating its own original work using effect pedals and extended technique. It has since broken stereotypes about the Chinese instrument and has broadened the capabilities and range of the instrument.
He was also Chinese music reviewer and writer for The Straits Times, the Editor of Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s publication, ‘Hao Wai’ (from 2005 to 2007) and the 1st Prize winner in the Ensemble Category of the National Chinese Music Competition (2004). He was the recipient of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s
Chairman’s Award (2003), Right Angle Silver Medal (2003), Beaumont Prize (2003), International Achievement Award (2002), STAR Award (2002, 2003) and Outstanding Academic Achievement Award (2000-2003) among other prizes.
Samuel has been featured on the cover pages of Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao and in numerous media as a ‘youth prodigy’, and was listed by the Singapore Straits Times as one of the ‘50 Young People to Look Out For’ (2005).
He graduated in June 2009 with a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Sheffield under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Stock.
Samuel can be contacted at: email@example.com