Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Interview: Brendan-Keefe Au and Ayano Schramm-Kimura - 2 Aug 2016

Its been a while since we've seen Brendan Keefe-Au perform on a proper concert onstage. This time he will be joined by Bangkok-based soprano Ayano Schramm-Kimura and pianist Yi Kai in a programme entitled A Little Bit of Magic.

Printed copies of photography by Cynthia Ong-Lamb and a booklet poetry by Pamela Ng will also be given to audiences. Looks like its going to be a great opportunity to be acquainted with different aspects of Singaporean arts. Check out the interview below to find out more!

The Mad Scene: Tell us about your programme, what are you performing and why did you choose these selections?

Brendan: Hi Steven! Thanks for having us on The Mad Scene, always a pleasure.

Our upcoming recital is entitled A Little Bit of Magic, Ayano and I will be performing songs themed around magic with our good friend, pianist Sim Yikai. This is a concept recital, so we are going to do more than just music—we are going to explore the theme of magic through a combination of art song, original photography and original poetry.

I’ll talk about the music first. The programme is essentially mixed. You will hear songs and piano solos across different styles and periods in English, German and French. We will have five sub-themes: 1.) Magic in the forest, 2.) In the waters, 3.) In the heavens, 4.) In faraway places, and finally, 5.) In the mundane.

Expect to meet the legendary but evil Elf-King of Scandinavian folklore; travel to the wizard Prospero’s island in The Tempest; and hear the water sprite of Slavic fairytales, Rusalka, sing to the moon. These are but just some of the spellbinding stories that we are so privileged to share with the audience.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

MBS's Shaolin: Video Preview and Review

MBS Mastercard Theaters, Marina Bay
13 July 2016

Review by Hawk Liu

The video below was taken at the media event where we saw excerpts of the show's finale. I managed to also eavesdrop onto an interview with the show's manager, Steve Nolan. He gave a brief account on how the show was put together and how the Shaolin traditions have evolved with the times.

I asked him a question which I didn't manage to put on video - I thought Shaolin was originally for Shaolin monks and so why were there women in the show. He explained that one of the 5 surviving members of the Shaolin massacre was a woman! Well I learn something new everyday!

With historical Shaolin images as the backdrop, real Shaolin monks and students gave a sincere demonstration of their arts. The story was told of the massacre of the Shaolin monks by the emperor in ancient Chinese history, and how the 5 surviving members of the Shaolin exponents carried on the traditions till this day.

There were flying acrobatics, bare human bodies countering sharp metal objects and lively weapon fights. The long whips were swung over the audience so that I, sitting in the 3rd row, was cringing as the whips seem to have went over our heads. Actors in full costumes played various roles to fill the gaps in the story. Two lady musicians in costume enhanced the prerecorded music with live playing on various instruments.

While we were only shown a few scenes in the preview, the full show promises even more spectacular feats - we will get to see performers perform a handstand on two fingers, breaking a slab of concrete over two men lying on a bed of nails, breaking iron bars on the head and being lifted above the ground on spear points. This along with the tightly choreographed dance and fight routines make this show an inspiring testament to human endurance and determination.

Shaolin runs till 31 July 2016. Check out the Events Page for tickets!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Interview with NYC Vocal Coaches - Shane Schag and Chun-Wei Kang

Vocal coaches Shane Schag and Chun-Wei Kang, teachers at NYC's famed Manhattan School of Music, will be teaching in Singapore from 9 to 16 July, with a public masterclass at Madison Academy of Music on 10 July. Slots for private classes and the masterclass are still available. Check out http://www.vocalcoachasia.com/#!blank/yf326 and http://www.vocalcoachasia.com/#!musical-theatre-1/nwizp for more information and book a slot for your class!

We had a discussion with both Shane and Chun-Wei to understand the finer points of vocal coaching, and what we can look forward to in their teaching trip to Singapore. Here's what we talked about:

The Mad Scene: Take us back to the beginning, what inspired you back then that made you choose vocal coaching as your current profession?

Chun-Wei: I have always loved story-telling and languages so, when I was introduced to vocal coaching in my Master's, I thought it would be perfect for me. I have been enjoying figuring out the story lines, and finding different colors in different languages with the singers.

Shane: I grew up playing for singers in my father's local church and was "bitten by the collaborative bug" from an early age. I have always loved the social aspect of vocal coaching and enjoy watching singers find the full potential of their instrument. For me, this has been a key motivating factor from the beginning.

Vocal coach Chun-Wei Kang

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 dancyzhen@gmail.com 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!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

New Zealand Youth Choir - 28 June 2016

The award-winning New Zealand Youth Choir will be performing in Singapore at Victoria Concert Hall on 28 June 2016. Get to know them better via the information below, and check out their exciting performance video while you are there!

New Zealand Youth Choir in Singapore - 28 June 2016

Of all New Zealand’s musical icons, the New Zealand Youth Choir with its members aged 18 to 25 has, more than any other, showcased the country’s youth and music in its 36-year history. The 2016 International Tour will be the Choir’s 11th overseas trip following previous visits to the UK, Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, Russia, the Republic of Korea and China. This year it will be travelling with an eclectic repertoire of music ranging from a 17th-century anthem by Peter Phillips to contemporary New Zealand music and Má¾±ori kappa haka waiata.

Apart from being an ideal stop-over destination for a group travelling to the Northern Hemisphere, the NZ Youth Choir has developed a warm relationship over 33 years with the Singapore Youth Choir, and 2016 will see the fifth collaboration between these two organisations. This time the performance venue will be the Victoria Concert Hall recently reopened after a major refurbishment. It is an iconic landmark in Singapore’s city centre and is well-known as the home of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. The NZ Youth Choir’s concert will be on the evening of 28 June at 7.30pm.

Following its concert in Singapore the party will travel on to Prague on the way to the International Festival of Academic Choirs in Pardubice in East Bohemia. On 6 July the choir will arrive in the Northern French town of Le Quesnoy for a service and concert to commemorate the town’s liberation by the New Zealand Division in WW1. From there the choir will travel to Paris to participate in High Mass at Notre-Dame Cathedral and then on to the UK for concerts in Oxford University Church, St George’s Chapel, Windsor, St John’s Smith Square in London, Ely Cathedral and ending with a performance in St John’s College Chapel in the Cambridge Summer Music Festival.

Check out our Events Page for tickets!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Musical Theatre and Classical Vocal Masterclass by NYC Teachers - 10 July 2016

Singaporeans now have the chance to be coached by two vocal coaches from established NYC institutions right in our home country. Taiwan-born Chun-Wei Kang's many appointments include coaching jobs at the famous Manhattan School of Music. Her MSM colleague Shane Schag has coached in numerous opera and musical theatre productions, bringing out the best in both professional and student singers. 

The masterclasses will be held at Madison Academy of Music on 10 July 2016. Classical voice with Chun-Wei Kang at 1pm to 3pm and musical theatre vocals with Shane Schag from 3.30pm to 5pm. Each participant will receive a 30 minute session for $90.

The masterclasses are free to observers so feel free to bring your friends! Check out www.vocalcoachasia.com for more information, and email vocalcoachasia@gmail.com to book a slot! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Vocal Recital 'From Germany To Singapore' - 16 Aug 2016

Be mesmerised by this a vocal recital by Singaporean composer and baritone Xiao Chunyuan and Germany-based Singapore PR Li Jie, playing on 16 August 2016 at the Esplanade Recital Studio.

From Germany To Singapore, A vocal recital by Xiao Chunyuan and Li Jie

Showcasing operatic arias, duets, art songs and musical theatre songs, From Germany To Singapore by Xiao Chunyuan and Li Jie is a vocal concert not to be missed! Performing in this concert are Singaporean composer-cum-baritone Xiao Chunyuan and Singapore Permanent Resident Li Jie, with Beatrice Lin Rui-Jun at the piano.

Spanning from Germany, Austria; Hungary; Italy, Russia; China and Singapore, the two soloists will perform works by composers such as J S Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Mozart, Bellini, Rossini, Rachmaninoff and Schonenberg. Two Chinese folksongs and compositions by Xiao will also be performed.

The concert will be held at Esplanade Recital Studio on 16th August 2016. Tickets are priced at S$20 and can be bought through Xiao Chunyuan and Madam Miao.

Their contact are as follows:

Mr Xiao Chunyuan @ 86911647

Madam Miao @ 92733596