Monday, June 27, 2016

Interview: Khew Yun Zhen and Friends in Concert (FREE) - 1 July 2016 (Fri), 6pm

Pianist Khew Yun Zhen will present a full-length chamber music concert at the Steinway Gallery on Friday 1 July 2016, 6pm as part of Madison Academy of Music's Faculty Concert Series (coincidentally where I also teach :p).

This concert promises to be quite an event with numerous guests including cellist Shernise Khor, violinists Lydia Wong and Alvin Wan, baritone Alvin Tan and tenor Leslie Tay.

Entry is free by RSVP. Check out our little discussion below, and email to reserve a seat!

The Mad Scene: Hi Yun Zhen, thank you for doing this interview with The Mad Scene. Firstly, what can we expect to hear at your Madison Faculty Concert at Steinway Gallery?

Yun Zhen: Hi Steven, thanks for having me! This concert will see me playing with many of my fellow musician friends in quite a varied programme from the Romantic and 20th century. I will be performing two sets by Bridge and Mendelssohn with my piano trio consisting of myself, Shernise Khor on cello and Alvin Wan and Lydia Wong on violin respectively. Our colleagues, tenor Leslie Tay will present a new transcription of Rachmaninoff's Vocalise with Lydia and baritone Alvin Tan will sing two numbers as well. I won't reveal the full programme, you'll just have to come and find out!

The Mad Scene: Haha, sure! So how did you come up with this programme?

Yun Zhen: I wasn't really thinking much about forming a programme with a theme, but I thought it would be nice to make music with some of my good friends, haha.... Varied as they may seem, I think there's a common 'tragic' theme that runs through most of the numbers, besides the opening set which is lighthearted.

The Mad Scene: Its great to make music with like-minded friends isn't it? Our readers should also know that you are a frequent performer in Braddell Heights Symphony's chamber music series; do you prefer playing chamber music to solo pieces? Why is that?

Yun Zhen: I do prefer chamber music to solo playing. I enjoy the synergy that we get when we play together.... its more like a conversation than a monologue. Its the communication between like-minded musicians that I enjoy.

The Mad Scene: Take us back to the beginning, what inspired your love for piano and music?

Yun Zhen: I don't know what has inspired my piano playing, but I have been playing the piano since I was 3. it was mostly enjoyable when I was at a younger age. However it got harder during my student years, when I have to juggle between school work, music and other activities (such as dancing), and I couldn't find much time to practice. It was only after I've decided to do music in University that I felt that it was my calling.

Learning an instrument is never easy, it takes a lot of hard work,effort and long time to master one. But my teachers have always been a good source of inspiration. In particular, my teacher Gerard Willems showed me that patience is what we need to be a good musician, and we always have to be inquisitive in life too.

The Mad Scene: So now that you are a piano teacher yourself at Madison Academy of Music, what do you hope to pass on to your students? Perhaps in addition to fundamental technical skills?

Yun Zhen: I hope they can also learn patience... as having patience would be the start of every success.I m also still learning that myself. Its a constant self-reminder.

The Mad Scene: How about a love for music and art? Surely that has been a strong factor that has kept you on track for so long?

Yun Zhen: Yes! I believe no one will say no to music, haha! I can't describe what I love so much about music, but music evokes emotions... it can incite strong feelings in you or it can simply accompany you. Music vibrates at the same frequency of the heart, or maybe music reflects what the heart is feeling. Hence music is always interesting. We choose what to play or listen to reflect how we feel at any time. That is accompany. Music is also powerful because it can incite or excite someone, change people's mood for example. It is a blessing we can hear music. I consider silence as music too.

The Mad Scene: So last question, having taught at Madison for a number of years, how has your experience been teaching at our studio at Tanglin Shopping Centre?

Yun Zhen: it has been wonderful. At times It can be tiring, but it always makes my day to see students walking out of the classroom with a smile!

The Mad Scene: That's great! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Yun Zhen. All the best for your concert!

Yun Zhen: Thank you Steven! 😊

Khew Yun Zhen's chamber music concert as part of the Madison Faculty Concert Series will be held at Steinway Gallery on Friday 1 July 2016, 6pm.  Admission is free by RSVP. Please email to reserve your seats.

Steinway Gallery is located at:
Palais Renaissance 390 Orchard Road #01-01A
Singapore 238871

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