All posts tagged: Music

A Review of Speed Dating Tonight!

The genre boundaries between musicals and opera have been blurring for a long while now and Speed Dating Tonight! is another example of how drama in modern opera continues to be carried forward primarily by music & singing, but now incorporates many of the dialogue, dance and acting elements traditionally found in musicals. The music and libretto of Michael CHING while ‘contemporary’, was largely tonal, accessible and on occasion, paid tuneful, tongue-in-cheek tribute and references to classical composers like Mozart or Bizet that opera aficionados would appreciate. Musical interest was aptly sustained throughout the ca. 1 hour 15 min show by the interspersing of various solo arias, duets, trios and tutti, some of which were sung a cappella and showcasing the excellent musicianship of the entire cast. The full-house, lively audience were thoroughly entertained throughout the show. The relatable individual characters were fleshed out via the arias and duets – finding love (successfully, or not), getting ghosted, or nailing the use of modern day texting abbreviations (LOL!) etc. Kudos to excellent staging, lighting, dancing (choreographed …

神游上河 (Shen You Shang He) Handbell Music

I am really excited to be given the rare opportunity to conduct the Ministry of Bellz in the premiere of my latest composition, handbell music 神遊上河 for Solo Chinese Bass Drum, Solo Soprano, Handbell Ensemble and Mixed Choir. The premiere will be performed by Ms. Melodie Ng (Percussion), Ms. Grace Kuo (Soprano Solo), Ministry of Bellz & the Schola Cantorum Singapore Chamber Choir TODAY,  27 January 2018 at the Drama Centre Theatre Singapore (National Library). Tickets are SOLD OUT so hope you got your tickets early! 神遊上河 is a first for me, in many ways. Unusual instrumentation – solo Chinese bass drum, solo soprano, handbell ensemble and choir. “Live” projection of a really cool ancient Chinese painting (清明上河图) as the music is playing. And yes the painting is scrolling from right to left as per Chinese tradition! Compositionally, this is pretty new ground for me… taking inspiration from various places: Ancient Chinese 编钟 bian zhong (bell) music Modern Western handbell music Compositional ideas from contemporary pop and classical music THANK YOU Baba Damien LIM and the Ministry of Bellz for having faith in us and for commissioning …

Musical Adventures in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Natus Cantorum, one of Kaohsiung’s premiere choirs (how many choirs have bragging rights such as being featured in their city’s music documentaries!?) is celebrating their 5th Anniversary this year and I have the privilege of being invited to guest conduct them as well as give workshops to Taiwanese music educators and conductors recently. I just had to blog about this as a keepsake of the fantastic experience there! I perceive a dedication to life-long learning in this country. Apparently, in less than 24 hours after the official notice for the masterclass went out, 20 people had already signed up. People from as far as Taipei enquired (and attended), conductors and teachers teaching at the primary/secondary schools, university/adult levels all came… even retired teachers were enquiring! Response was overwhelming leading to a cap on maximum numbers to ensure quality control. Aye such dedication to one’s continuing education and professional development! I can’t help but wonder how many of Singapore’s co-curricular activity (CCA) instructors (e.g. band/choir/strings conductors) and MOE music teachers would travel to another city, pay for accommodation and workshop fees out of their own …