THE PIANO DEPARTMENT
The intensive training programme offered by YST Conservatory’s piano department attracts outstanding applicants from Asia, Europe, USA, Canada and Australasia. The piano intake each year is small - and highly selective - so that piano faculty members can attend to the individual needs and personal development of every pianist in our highly specialised training programmes.
In addition to the individual weekly lessons with their major study teacher, piano majors focus on collaborative piano studies, accompanying, and piano ensemble (study and performance of piano four hands and two piano works) - all areas which support and feature prominently in our performance-oriented curriculum. Pianists also take Keyboard Literature modules which survey solo and chamber literature from the early 18th century to the present. The Yong Siew Toh International Piano Institute was launched successfully in 2007 and regularly draws young piano talent from all regions of the globe. Many of these aspiring performers are now members of our community. The recent acquisition of Yamaha Stagea Electones means that YST pianists will now have unique opportunities to perform the symphonic repertoire in concert as well.
Indeed, the performance opportunities at the Conservatory are numerous and offer our pianists an ongoing array of public appearances, requiring each pianist to maintain an active portfolio of solo, ensemble and concerto repertoire. There are also opportunities to perform off-campus in many of Singapore’s most beautiful and sought-after venues, including the Esplanade Recital Studio, the newly-refurbished Victoria Concert Hall, the Asian Civilisations Museum and the National Gallery. In addition, opportunities to perform for the visiting artists in our ongoing piano masterclass series place our pianists in close working relationships with some of the leading pianists of our time, many of whom perform regularly with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Our piano graduates have earned an impressive number of scholarships for further study at renowned schools and conservatories such as Juilliard, Yale, Indiana, Rice, Boston, Eastman, Michigan, New England, Royal Academy and Royal College. Our students have also participated regularly in competitions worldwide such as the Sydney, Hamamatsu, Hong Kong, Bachauer, Geneva, Leeds, Krainev, Viardo, Waring, Seoul and New York International Piano Competitions.
When considered together with our generous scholarship awards and state-of-the-art practice and concert facilities (second to none in this part of the world), it is easy to understand why so many professionally-minded young pianists consider Yong Siew Toh Conservatory as the premiere choice for piano study. As a result and while studying with us, our pianists are often selected for study at prestigious festivals around the world, including the Verbier, Aspen, Engadin, Orford, Banff, Bowdoin, Brasov, Pan Pacific, Yellow Barn, Chethams, Kirishima, Mannes, Ecole Normale, Semaine, Gold Country and Fondation Bell’ Arte summer music programmes.
The outstanding keyboard talent at YST has produced a steady flow of competition prizewinners worldwide. Among our recent winners are:
Li Churen (‘15), who captured first prizes in both the Young Talents and Pietro Argento International Piano Competitions (Italy)
Anthony Hartono (‘16), who was awarded first prize in the Ananda Sukarlan Award (Indonesia)
Yeh Shih-Hsien (‘14), who took first prize in the Keri Keri International Piano Competition (New Zealand)
Zheng Qingshu (‘14), who won first prize in the Ars Nova International Piano Competition (Singapore)
Daniel Le (‘16), who won second prize and the Audience Choice Award at Lev Vlassenko International Piano Competition (Australia).
PERFORMANCES WITH INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL ORCHESTRAS
YST pianists have been invited to perform internationally with orchestras as well. Abigail Sin (BMus ‘10, GD ‘14) has appeared with the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Kaunas Symphony Orchestra, Dnipropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra & Phillipines Philharmonic Orchestra; while others include Tarin Supprakorn (Rochester Philharmonic), Daniel Le (Queensland Symphony), Yap Sin Yee (‘16) (KLPAC Orchestra), Leigh Kereopa (Christchurch Symphony Orchestra), Azariah Tan (‘11) (Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra), Chang Hanqing (Guizhan Orchestra) and Tran Thi Tam Ngoc (‘07) (Vietnam National Orchestra).
Our pianists have often been named laureates of the National Piano Competition of Singapore. These include Mervyn Lee, Yap Sin Yee, Yeh Shih-Hsien, Li Churen, Li Zhen (‘10) and Azariah Tan. Other outstanding Singaporean pianists have been engaged to give concerto performances with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as Winners of the President’s Young Performers Auditions, such as Jonathan Shin (‘15), Azariah Tan, Mervyn Lee, Clarence Lee (BMus ‘12, GD ‘2014, MMus ‘16) and Li Churen. And, of course, our talented winners of the annual YST Piano Concerto Competition have all received debut performances with the Conservatory Orchestra: Akkra Yeunyonghattaporn (‘11) (Thailand), Khoo Hui Ling (Singapore), Jonathan Shin (Singapore), Li Zhen (China), Bina Jung (‘14) (New Zealand), Ge Xiaozhe (‘13) (China), Li Churen (Singapore), Mervyn Lee (Singapore) and Wang Qiying (‘15) (China).