“My four years in YST have brought tears as well as laughter, challenge and personal growth. Coming here was truly the right choice - my time here has been a very meaningful and valuable experience that will stay with me.”
For Taiwanese Voice graduate Maggie Lu Pei Yun, her time at YST was a rich journey in more ways than one, that saw her take the spotlight as well as go beyond the stage.
“Even as a performer, production has been an interest of mine for some time. In junior high school in Taiwan, I was involved in administration for the Taipei Wind Orchestra & Symphonic Band (I was previously an oboist). I was also a festival assistant for the Taiwan Youth Festival Choir. I initially started doing administrative work to train myself to be more meticulous, but it has become something that gives me a special sense of accomplishment.”
Coming to YST, Maggie wasted no time in getting involved in the Conservatory’s production activities, which are behind a vibrant calendar of around 200 events a year. She started by working at front of house in her first year, and continued to take on student assistantships during her studies. “My first major project was coordinating the schedule and logistics for Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants’ visit. It was challenging managing all the details and liaising involved, alongside regular school work. But the most fulfilling thing was being able to connect with the artists. I am also grateful to the YST Programming & Productions team for their patience and support throughout, as I learned about the behind-the-scenes work that makes every event possible!”
Equally, Maggie’s performance experience was key to her musical growth in becoming a well-rounded singer. She shares, “It has been a huge privilege and a rare opportunity to be able to work with Maestro Masaaki Suzuki, not just once but every year! His strong attention to nuances in diction and interpretation really left a strong impact on me, and I’ve been able to build my understanding of Baroque music year on year.” Another highlight for Maggie was also working on art song with pianist and accompanist Roger Vignoles, who alongside Masaaki Suzuki is an Ong Teng Cheong Professor of Music at YST.
Studying overseas and navigating the path of being a musician are not easy, and Maggie expresses appreciation to her major teacher, Head of Voice Prof Alan Bennett, for his guidance. “Rather than pushing us towards a certain career or graduate school, he truly listens to our ideas and then shares his insights for our benefit. He teaches us to prioritise our vocal health, preparing us to achieve our performance aspirations in the long term.”
The YST student community also played a big role in her time at the Conservatory. “When I first came to YST, I was so amazed by my classmates’ confidence onstage that I just had to ask how they did it. They taught me how to own the stage and enjoy the moment once I stepped out from backstage. As a diverse and close-knit community, we also take care of each other, which really helped me feel at home.”
With her diverse activities in YST, it comes as no surprise that Maggie will continue to pursue her varied interests after graduation. Following her performance in Songs of Love and Despair with the T’ang Quartet in May, she will sing the role of Mercedes in the Singapore Lyric Opera’s upcoming production of Carmen, and also do further work in production alongside performing. When asked what she would like to share with others, she says, “Go beyond performing in the concert hall, and understand the different parts that make a production. And whatever role you take, whether onstage or offstage, be 100% in that role!”