15-25 December Trip to Singapore and Taiwan - updated 26th Dec
On 15th Dec Steve left for an epic voyage to Singapore and Taiwan. It is over 10 years since Steve was last in Singapore, when he worked with the Military Band, gave masterclass and played a concert. Now he returned to play a full public recital with piano accompaniment and gave a masterclass. Then he went onto Taiwan on 21st play a concert with a wnd orchestra. He also met up with 'Ray' who studied with Steve at the RNCM
Here is a photo from the masterclass given on 18th December for many young euphonium players in Singapore
Recital with piano, 19th December and masterclasses, Young Musicians Society (with pianist: Marshan Loh)
Humoresque (Gliere Arr Vertommen)
Impromptu (Gliere Arr Vertommen)
Carmen Fantasy (Bizet arr. Vertommen)
Introduction Theme and Variations (Rossini)
Pearls Suite (Szentpali) with CD accompaniment
Rock (Wilby) with CD accompaniment
When You Wish Upon a Star (Arr Kanai)
photos from the recital 19th Dec:
Photo of Vincent Tan, the talented Singapore euphonium student (and plays Besson Prestige 2052 !)
with special thanks to Mr Ong (Band World, SG, Brass Associates) for the organisation, and of couse to Buffet Crampon/Besson for their sponsorship of my visit, especially to Olivier Auclair, sales representative for Asia.
The food and hospitality and views were outstanding of course !!! and so warm, 33c in the day and drops to a rather confortable 23c at night, really not bad for December !!
Due to the success of the visit, there are plans for a repeat visit at the end of June 2009, and a major Brass Festival !
Steve writes of his visit to Taiwan..
"So the Singapore leg of my Asia visit had gone well, and due to the enthusiasm of the students (even if there were no band directors or teachers in the audience of my recital!) there seems great potential for the future. Brass education, it must be said, is quite patchy in Singapore. They have around 300 winds bands, virtually all of them part of the school system and whose musical activities seem to be centred around the annual competitions on which funding for new instruments is totally based. For me it is not an ideal situation where all the rehearsal activities of the students are geared towards this one competition, and we all know from experience that adjudication in competitions is very subjective and at times bemusing. Apparently last year an all-American jury didn’t award any gold medals, meaning catastrophe for many of the band directors, and great sadness to the students. At some time in the future they will have to review this situation.
The 4 hour flight to Taipei, was full of expectation as I was visiting Taiwan for the very first time and the schedule for that day (21st) was pretty tough as we had to take the high speed train to Chiayi, in the middle of Taiwan, rehearse and then play a big outdoor concert.
As it turned out, my first visit to Taiwan was one that I will never forget, and for all the right reasons. I got to meet Ray, one of the most charming, generous, warm spirited students I have ever had the pleasure to teach.
Meeting Ray again:
He was basically my chaperone for the entire visit along with his friend Leo, and the musical brains behind my visit, Pan. Pan organized my visit, conducted the band at the concert in Chiayi, organized the hotel in Kaohsiung and my teaching and masterclass, at Tainan university.
Concert photos from the well established band festival concert in Chiayi:
All the students I met were full of enthusiasm and soaked up all the information I was able to give them. They were also full of good humour.
(above) left to right Pan, trombone Prof, SM and the Dean of the school.
Many of the brass players were lacking a little in confidence and so there is much to do here. I sensed a huge amount of goodwill and positive feeling from teachers and students alike.
Saying farewell to Ray and Pan was difficult, but we have so many good memories and also positive intentions for the future. Already there are plans being laid for a return visit in 2009, and of course I will keep you informed via this site.
I hope Ray will be able to build up a big teaching studio in Taiwan. Having studied with me for over two years now he knows my methods and he has the ability to pass this on I’m sure.
Ray with his parents
The journey home was long, first returning to Singapore, and then an incredible 13 ½ hour flight on the new Airbus 380, the double-decked super jumbo, and on this late Christmas Eve flight(23.45hrs) there were over 300 spare seats!! This without doubt is the most incredible aircraft I have ever flown on and if you ever get the chance to fly this plane please do. I thought I would never get excited about a plane journey again having taken so many, but this plane has everything.
our plane was empty !!! ....nice
Thanks to everyone in Taiwan and Singapore who made these 10 days so memorable.