4 award-winning young conductors to conduct SCO in Youthful Strokes of Exuberance concert

Singapore, 25 July 2016 (Monday) – Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) will perform under the baton of four award-winning young conductors from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore in August. Youthful Strokes of Exuberance concerts will feature the winner of the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition 2016 – Wong Kah Chun, second-prize winner of the 2nd International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music organized by Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra – Rupert Woo, second-prize winner of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra International Conducting Competition 2015 – Pung Aik Khai and SCO’s Assistant Conductor Moses Gay. Together with SCO’s zhongruan associate principal Lo Chai Xia, gaohu associate principal Zhou Ruo Yu, SCO’s sheng musician Kevin Cheng Ho Kwan and yangqin musician Ma Huan, Youthful Strokes of Exuberance I & II will be held on 19 and 20 August (Friday & Saturday) respectively, 8pm at SCO Concert Hall. Programmes are different on both nights.

19 August – Youthful Strokes of Exuberance I

19 August’s Youthful Strokes of Exuberance I will feature Hong Kong conductor Rupert Woo, SCO’s assistant conductor Moses Gay, zhongruan associate principal Lo Chai Xia and gaohu associate principal Zhou Ruo Yu.

Under the baton of Moses Gay, the concert will commence with Festive Overture, a piece that portrays the festive mood and playful memories of childhood, composed by Shi Wan Chun and adapted by Zhang Lie. Local composer Phang Kok Jun’s Urban Rhythms will be world premiered in this concert. This piece is a reflection of the various aspects and angles of city life which will be portrayed by SCO zhongruan associate principal Lo Chai Xia. Audience can also enjoy Lo Leung Fai’s Winter which illustrates the beauty and fineness of winter with its grandeur and magnificence.

Rupert Woo will conduct SCO to perform The Surging of Turbulent Clouds, arranged by Peng Xiu Wen. This piece is adapted from an excerpt in the renowned contemporary Peking Opera Mount Dujuan. Made up of a series of Peking Opera tunes to depict the mixed feelings of the opera’s heroine, the arranger fully utilises the orchestra’s potential to create a unique Chinese orchestral piece. Liang Yun Jiang’s Jiang He Yun Meng is a lively and energetic erhu concerto which will be performed by SCO gaohu associate principal Zhou Ruo Yu. The composer wishes to portray the harmonious relationship between people, the firm determination and the infinite love people have for nature and the rich diversity of life.

The finale of the concert will feature Rupert Woo conducting Chen Ning-chi’s The Legend of the Dragon which signifies the vitality and hope embodied by the dragon as it materializes from the cloud.


Moses Gay – Conductor

Moses Gay is SCO’s Assistant Conductor, conductor cum concertmaster of the Toa Payoh West Community Club Chinese Orchestra (TPWCCCO) and Executive Member of the Singapore Huqin Society. He has also held the position of Assistant Conductor at the China Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2011, Moses Gay has started his artistic partnership with SCO as its Conducting Assistant, whilst pursuing a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting at the China Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship under the tutelage of Youqing Yang and Tsung Yeh. He was SCO’s Young Assistant Conductor-in-Residence since August 2013.

Moses Gay began his musical journey under the tutelage of renowned erhu master Zhang Yuming. He had also received coaching from late erhu doyenne, Min Hui Fen and erhu master Zhang Shao. In 2013, he performed the Red Plum Capriccio Concerto in France with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne at the Opéra de Rennes to high acclaim. He was also mentored by Alexander Polischuk at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory.  

Rupert Woo – Conductor

Rupert Woo Pak-tuen is a conductor from Hong Kong who is currently a part-time lecturer and conductor in the School of Music of the HKAPA, and conductor of the Chinese orchestra on its Junior Music Programme. He is also the Resident Conductor of the Hong Kong Juvenile & Youth Chinese Classical Orchestra.

He started learning Chinese music in secondary school and completed two Master of Music programmes at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in Performance (Banhu and Gaohu) under the supervision of Ngai Kwun-wa and Yu Qiwei in 2010, and Performance (Conducting) under Maestro Yan Huichang in 2012. He was the first postgraduate with a Master’s degree in Conducting of the HKAPA. IN 2014, Woo came second in the Second International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music, and was also winner of the Outstanding Young Conductor of Hong Kong Award and the Audience Favourite Award.

He learned under maestros including Xia Feiyun, Hu Bingxu, Qu Chunquan, Tsung Yeh, Zhang Guoyong, Zhang Lie, He Zhanhao and Wang Fujian. He has guest-conducted many orchestras and groups, including the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the Academy Chinese Orchestra and Academy Symphony Orchestra of HKAPA, the Windpipe Chinese Music Ensemble, the Hong Kong Professional Zheng Ensemble, the Hong Kong Youth Music Society Chinese Orchestra and the Tuen Mun Youth Chinese Orchestra.

19 aug 2016
Conductor: Moses Gay         Conductor: Rupert Woo         Zhong Ruan: Lo Chai Xia        Erhu: Zhou Ruo Yu

20 August – Youthful Strokes of Exuberance II

20 August’s concert will feature Malaysian conductor Pung Aik Khai, local conductor Wong Kah Chun, SCO sheng musician Kevin Cheng Ho Kwan and yangqin musician Ma Huan.

Pung Aik Khai will conduct SCO to perform Liu Tian Hua’s Nocturnal Peace, a piece that encourages people to treasure the precious moments. The composer was inspired to compose this piece after having a joyous gathering with his friends and students. Audience can also enjoy Liu Yuan’s Chinese Landscape: Fuchun Mountain Capriccio. The piece was inspired by the painting Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, which is a masterpiece and representative work of the Yuan Dynasty depicting the autumn scenery along the Zhejiang Fuchun river. It was painted by Huang Gong Wang, who was the most senior of the “Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty”. The painting is also known as one of the top ten art masterpieces of China’s entire cultural heritage. The Capriccioso combines the six-part composition of Huang Gong Wang’s Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains painting into a five-movement piece. SCO will perform the Second Movement: Flowing Water, Drifting Clouds and Fourth Movement: Famous Road on Qiu Mountains.

Ng Cheuk-yin’s The Seventh Month will enjoy its Singapore premiere in this concert, performed by SCO sheng musician Kevin Cheng Ho Kwan. The composer combined musical ideas from both Chinese and Western music and used minimal elements to develop this piece. The co-existence of the living and the dead inspired the composer to write this piece which reflects the seventh month in the lunar calendar, also known as the “ghost month”.

Under the baton of Wong Kah Chun, SCO yangqin musician Ma Huan will perform Wang Dan Hong’s Rhapsody. With a quick and lively beat, the song is full of energy and infused with jazz music elements and the construction of a rhapsody piece. Using non-traditional and pop music rhythms, this piece injects new life into the instrument yangqin.

Liu Yuan’s Legend of Shadi’er is a silver prize winner in the first “Golden Bell Awards” of Chinese Music in 2001. This intense symphonic poem utilizes traditional Xinjiang melodies and depicts the story of Shadi’er who was a hero of the Weiwuer tribe in Xinjiang Province during the Qing Dynasty. His resistance against the Qing government brought him death but the people of Xinjiang continue to eulogise him through his songs.


Pung Aik Khai – Conductor

Malaysian conductor Pung Aik Khai is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). He is the music director of the CCM Concert Orchestra, Café MoMus (CCM’s contemporary music ensemble), Seven Hills Sinfonietta, and Sound of Joy Choir. In 2011, he won a special award in the first Hong Kong International Chinese Orchestra Conducting Competition, and in 2015 he won second prize at the Taiwan Chinese Orchestra’s International Conducting Competition.

In 2002, he was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music’s department of conducting and came under the tutelage of renowned conductor and educator Xu Xin, and Zhang Yi, the artistic director of the National Ballet of China’s Symphony Orchestra. During his study at the Conservatory, he was also guided by Maestros Yang Hong Nian and Wang Fu Jian. He became the first foreign student to win the Conservatory’s Outstanding Student Award in 2005. 

In 2007, Pung Aik Khai obtained a full scholarship from the Cincinnati College’s Conservatory of Music, and proceeded to study symphony orchestra and opera conducting. He was then mentored by Mark Gibson, who guided him to a Master’s degree and a PhD in Conducting in 2009 and 2014 respectively. In USA, Pung Aik Khai conducted various opera productions, including Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa’s Matsukaze, Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia and American composer Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. He has participated in music festivals the world over, such as the Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival UCA, Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, the Georgetown Festival in Penang, and Luminato Festival in Toronto as assistant conductor of symphony orchestra.

Wong Kah Chun – Conductor

Singaporean Conductor Wong Kah Chun is the inaugural recipient of the fellowship for music education with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2015/2016 season and has recently won the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition 2016.

Wong Kah Chun first began musical studies with Phoon Yew Tien, after which he enrolled in Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship under the mentorship of Professor Ho Chee Kong. His interest in conducting was supported by SCO and Music Director Tsung Yeh, and he was offered a conducting assistantship in 2011. He was awarded with the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship by the Public Service Commission of Singapore in 2011, making him the first recipient of this award in the field of arts and culture and supporting his graduate studies in conducting at the Hanns-Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin.

In 2013, Wong Kah Chun won the first prize at the 4th International Conducting Competition “Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest”, which has led to multiple guest engagements with renowned orchestra incuding: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Berliner Konzerthausorchester, St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and many others.

A protégé of Kurt Masur, he has been chosen to share the podium with him across 5 concerts from 2012-2014, culminating in an assistantship at the Leipziger Gewandhausorchester. In 2014, Wong founded the Asian Contemporary Ensemble, a unique collective of local musicians representing the diverse cultural communities in Singapore, which has embarked on regional tours to Chiangmai and Hong Kong.

20 aug
Conductor: Phung Aik Khai    Conductor: Wong Kah Chun     Sheng: Kevin Cheng Ho Kwan  Yangqin: Ma Huan

Concert details:
Youthful Strokes of Exuberance I
19 August 2016 (Friday), 8pm, SCO Concert Hall

Youthful Strokes of Exuberance II
20 August 2016 (Saturday), 8pm, SCO Concert Hall

Ticket prices for each concert (before SISTIC fees): $70, $60, $45/$30*, $30/$20*
19 & 20 August’s Double Bundle: 20% discount
Tickets from SISTIC
*Concession prices

Please contact Media Officers for more information, photographs and interviews.

Media Contacts

Toh Wei Lin
Executive (Marketing Communications)
Email: wltoh@sco.com.sg
DID: 6557 4037 / 8121 6966

Koh Mui Leng
Assistant Manager (Marketing Communications)
Email: mlkoh@sco.com.sg
DID: 6557 4047 / 9833 0556