Europe, International, My Concert Experience

MOV.ensemble

From friends to colleagues! It has been a lot of joy working with these guys over the last semester in Amsterdam. We had the opportunity to play in a masterclass with the famous Apollo Saxophone Quartet . I am looking forward to more projects and choreography;-) to come in the following year!

Line up of MOV.ensemble:

Soprano Saxophone: Deborah Witteveen (The Netherlands)
Alto Saxophone: Michellina Chan (Singapore)
Tenor Saxophone: Jos Baggermans (The Netherlands)
Baritone Saxophone: Mateusz Pusiewicz (Poland)

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Europe, International

Nu breekt mijn klomp!

Dutch – English literal translation: now my clog (dutch wooden shoe) is breaking
Meaning: This is said when suddenly something unexpected happens or is said about which one expresses its utter amazement. (http://www.encyclo.nl/begrip/nu%20breekt%20mijn%20klomp)

This year in Amsterdam has nothing short of amazing. My highlight was studying with Arno Bornkamp, having conversations about his past with saxophone and life, playing Bach, transcriptions and working on pieces that I have referred to umpteen times on his CDs. I have grown not only as a musician but also as a person. I am already looking forward to what next year will bring.

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I have made friends from all over the world, thanks to a very international group of students at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Chamber music was one of my favourite parts of the course, I worked in a saxophone duo with Yuka Sato. Also it was especially rewarding with the MOV.ensemble with Deborah Witteveen, Jos Baggermans, Mateusz Pusiewicz and myself, where we memorized quartet music and had the opportunity to work with Arno as well as the Apollo Saxophone Quartet.

In the experimental Creative Performance Lab (CPL) classes, we collaborated with scenographers at our sister school, the AHK Academy of Film and Danse. We created an approximately 2 storey high structure, projected film through it and of course choreographed movement and music for it. It was an intense 5 months of work, but the end product was very well received.

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Carnatic music aka takedimi, commonly associated with the system of music from southern India, were lessons I had quite intensively throughout the year. At the end of the year, we performed the World Premiere of Spanish composer, Silva Lanao’s piece entitled Libèl·lula for soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, pan flute, flute and bass clarinet. The title of the course was called Contemporary Music through Non-Western Techniques, I found it extremely useful and have started applying it to all the music I perform!

I am excited for another year of music in Amsterdam, in the meanwhile do come around for my performances if I will be in your city!:

Melbourne International Saxophone Festival 2018
Take Flight with Merism Duo (Mary Osborn)
28th July 2018, 15h15 – 15h45
Tallis Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
http://www.melbournesaxophone.com/take-flight/

Melbourne Saxophone Ensemble
29th July 2018, 19h
Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Merism Duo in Sydney
3rd August 2018, 19h

8th Singapore Saxophone Symposium 2018
Xin Saxophone Quartet
11th August 2018, 15h – 15h30
Lee Foundation Theatre, NAFA
http://singaporesaxophonesymposium.com/2018/programme/recital-by-xin-saxophone-quartet/

Merism Duo
12th August 2018, 16h – 16h30
Lee Foundation Theatre, NAFA
http://singaporesaxophonesymposium.com/2018/programme/recital-by-merism-duo/

Singapore Saxophone Symposium 2018 Gala Concert (with Xin Saxophone Quartet & Octet combined with NAFA Saxophone Quartet)
12th August 2018, 19h30 – 21h30
Lee Foundation Theatre, NAFA

Merism Duo in Singapore
14th August 2018, 19h30 – 21h
Sinfonietta Recital Hall, Forte Musicademy

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My Concert Experience, Xin Saxophone Quartet

Singapore Saxophone Symposium 2017

Gained so much from the annual Singapore Saxophone Symposium. I can’t believe the symposium is in its 7th edition. An enormous thankyou to Dr Zechariah Goh and NAFA team (Lu Heng & Yiangshan) for the organization! It was my first time playing in a masterclass at this symposium and it was for none other than Maestro Alain Crepin. 

Opening the symposium with Xin Saxophone Quartet was an amazing opportunity. We performed the world premiere of Sea Scenes by our resident composer, Jay Ong (who sportingly agreed to emcee for us the night before!)

Our program for the recital:

Pierre Vellones (1889 – 1939) – Prélude et rondo français, Op. 89 (1937)
Jay Ong (1995) – Sea Scenes (2017) *World Premiere*
Gabriel Pierné (1863 – 1937) – Introduction et variations sur une ronde populaire (1936)
Philippe Geiss (1961) – Patchwork (1996)

Bravo also to all the other musicians! I am already looking forward to the 2018 edition of the symposium! Enjoy the photos!

 

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Europe, International, My Concert Experience

Performances in Bordeaux, France

It is my 5th month living in Bordeaux and it has been an amazing time. I have a weekly incredible lesson with my teacher, Marie-Bernadette Charrier. Also a weekly sonate lesson with our amazing accompanist Hilomi Sakaguchi with Marie-Bernadette. For my weekly classical chamber music class, I play with a pretty international saxophone quartet with two French, one Argentinian and me (Singaporean). We have been working on Florent Schmitt’s Quatuor de saxophones, op. 102. As for the contemporary chamber music class, I play with a mixed ensemble of two violins, clarinet, flute and soprano saxophone, we’re preparing a Bulgarian piece for the end of year exam. Together with the Orchestre d’Harmonie (Wind Symphony), we presented an interesting program: orchestre d harmonie bordeaux
I also had an opportunity to share Singaporean music with my class in a conference. I presented the music of Dr Zechariah Goh and had to speak about him in French!

Three weekends back we had two visiting guests, Allison Balcetis and Masanori Oishi. It was three intense days of masterclasses, conferences and performances. In the concert on the last night, our class presented french composer, Benjamin Attahir’s Nouvelle Sous Esctasy for 12 soprano saxophones, 1 soprano and 2 percussionists.

It has been interesting being in Bordeaux, I have picked up phrases of Spanish (owing to the fact that almost half my class are Spanish!) and of course my french is getting a lot better. It was a cold cold winter (-6 degrees) but now it is beautiful in spring! The food here is incredible, good red wine, cheese and bread. I am sure that the friends I have made here will be friends for life. I am so fortunate to have this experience!

 

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International, My Concert Experience, Uncategorized

Melbourne Trip

Performance count: 3 in 3 days.

Started off with a performance at Up Your Alley Chamber Music Festival. It was a project presented by the Melbourne Philharmonia Project, spearheaded by the legendary Luke Carbon.

Picture of us (Credit: Luke Carbon). It was cold, windy and wet but still a great turn out of people! Xin Saxophone Duo (comprising of members: Alexis Seah and myself) played Steven Galante’s Sax Sounds III (Diminishing Returns).

The next day, we teamed up with saxophonists from Melbourne, Joseph Lallo and Emily Clarke for a concert at Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. We performed Philippe Geiss’ Patchwork for saxophone quartet. (Photo Credit: Kevin Zhang)

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On the 3rd day, we took part in the final round of 3MBS’ The Talent. Here is the review of our performance https://thetalent3mbs.com/2016/10/26/reeds-and-strings-a-review-of-ep-3/ It was so nice to perform with the amazing Leigh Harrold again!

A photo by the publicity team at 3MBS: 

After, I had a chance to holiday a little bit in Victoria! It was a great trip! Thankyou Melbourne x

(Photo Credit: Joel Charles)

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My Concert Experience

Paganini Lost and Found: The Origins and Impact of Caprice No. 24

Throwback to 14th of September, we were invited to perform as part of a lecture/recital at NAFA for The Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert, Lutosławski Tonight! This trio comprises of myself (saxophone), Alexis Seah (saxophone) and Jessica Leong (piano); we performed Jun Nagao’s Paganini Lost for two alto saxophones and piano. It was interesting listening to the discussion and the different arrangements and compositions inspired by Paganini’s 24th violin caprice.

Here’s the review of the event: http://pianofortephilia.blogspot.sg/2016/09/paganini-lost-and-found-lecture-recital.html

To end off, instead of Paganini’s 24th caprice here’s my performance of Paganini’s 1st Caprice (arr. Raaf Hekkema):

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My Concert Experience

6th Singapore Saxophone Symposium

Thank-you to Dr Goh for inviting me as an artist to the 6th Singapore Saxophone Symposium. Also, many thanks to the organizing team for putting the event together. I remember being a participant at the 1st Singapore Saxophone Symposium 6 years ago, after that deciding to pursue my bachelor of music in Australia. It is really good to be back and having the opportunity to share music with students and colleagues.

In my recital segment, I performed the World Premiere of Singaporean composer, Jay Ong’s piece entitled Transit Sketches for solo saxophone. Together with Jessica Leong (Piano), I also presented a piece by Slovenian composer, Uros Rojko entitled Godba. I finished it off with the debut of my new saxophone quartet, Xin Saxophone Quartet, playing the 5th movement of Maslanka’s Recitation Book.

Other artists at this edition of the symposium included Professor Kyle Horch (UK, Royal College of Music), Keuris Quartet (Amsterdam), Professor Ao Kun (China), Nathan Bogert (USA), Chien-Kwan Lin (USA/Singapore), Ku Po-Yuan (Taiwan), Shyen Lee (Taiwan/Thailand), Christopher Condon (USA) and more. It was an intensive 2 days of saxophone but new friendships were made, I now have new ideas about saxophone playing and hopefully I managed to make a difference in the lives of younger saxophone students.

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