34 Young Pianists Chosen For OMWPA 2012

November 22, 2012

34 young pianists will attend OMWPA 2012

Thirty-four young pianists are preparing to go to the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, UK for the second Overseas Malaysian Winter Piano Academy (OMWPA) scheduled to take place from 15-23 December.

At an orientation session late last month, the participants, together with their teachers and parents, got the opportunity to meet each other as well as some of the people who attended the 2010 camp. They also got to talk to Bobby Chen, Malaysian concert pianist and founder of OMWPA, over Skype.

“This year’s camp is a continuation of our ‘Reaching-Out’ project in 2010,” said London-based Chen. “In 2010, we made a real breakthrough in reaching out to the students in smaller towns through the media.

“This year, many of those who tried out came from Malacca, Kelantan, Penang, Pahang, Johor and Kedah. For many of them, auditioning for OMWPA was the first time that they had ever entered competitions, courses or auditions,” he said.

Out of a total of 245 pianists who auditioned, 38 were selected with 34 of them finally deciding to make the trip. In addition to the individual masterclasses and group classes in improvisation, chamber music and piano mechanics that took place during the first camp, this year’s participants can look forward to a new class on conducting and learning in smaller groups.

Debra Grace Lim and Margarita Ong

“I’m excited to be going,” said 14-year-old Margarita Ong, whose teacher, Joyce Ho, encouraged her to apply for the auditions. “I look forward to improving my scales, learning new stuff and making new friends. I think that I will be pushing myself to practise more,” she said.

Debra Grace Lim, who learns the piano with Wong Shuenda, is also excited at the prospect of attending the camp. The 13-year-old homeschooled student was drawn by the content of the lessons. “They looked really enriching.

“I’m hoping to get a broader perspective of music, especially of music as a career. When I am over there I plan to ask the professors what it’s like to be a professional musician,” she said.

On the other hand, Leong Yu Xuan, 16, has not given any thought to becoming a professional pianist. “I’m nervous about going because I don’t know anybody there and I don’t know what to expect.”

Leong’s mother, Ng Lay Kein, said that Leong couldn’t believe it when he got the good news. “We were surprised. We knew that the standard would be high because many of the participants from the 2010 camp have done well and won competitions,” she said, adding that Chen mentioned that the ability to play music from the heart was what he looked for.

Leong Yu Xuan with his parents

“We want Yu Xuan to gain more exposure not necessarily in music but also in other fields. Hopefully, he will be inspired over there. We are very interested to see how they conduct lessons and how they inspire the children,” Ng said.

A participant who considered it a “miracle” to have been chosen for OMWPA 2012 is Sia Song Yu, 17, who also took part in the 2010 camp. “I thought that I wouldn’t be given a second chance,” he said.

“I think the 2010 camp was fun. But two years makes a difference. You can get very different things from the same course. There is a big difference between being 15 and 17,” Sia added.

Sia Song Yu

He plans to do a survey of the colleges and universities in the UK while there. “I want to explore my interest in both music and academics. I want to make sure which it is that I want to pursue.”

This year, in addition to parents, several piano teachers will also accompany their students to the Yehudi Menuhin School. One of them, Phua Chin Ching, hopes that the camp will not only be an eye-opener for her 9-year-old student Lim Kwan Yee, but also a source of inspiration for herself as a teacher.

“It will be great exposure for Kwan Yee to play chamber music, to see others play and to get heard by others. As for us teachers, we need new input. When we teach on our own we use the same ideas, the same methods. We need to upgrade ourselves to enhance our teaching,” she said.

Lim Kwan Yee

At nine, Lim will be the second youngest participant at the camp. She is currently busy taking part in the Chopin competition in Kuala Lumpur and would like to one day be a professional pianist, an aspiration that her father, Lim Cheng Wah, strongly supports.

Participants at the 2012 camp will be able to watch evening piano recitals by the professors and attend three new lectures: Piano Making, Tuning, Restoring and Upkeep, the Social Aspects of Music with reference to Venezuela’s ‘El Sistema’ programme, and Approaches to Piano Playing.

All participants will play in a final gala concert on 23 December at the Menuhin Hall on a Fazioli Piano.

Participants at the forthcoming OMWPA 2012

Vikki Chen Wei Qi

Ernest Chin Yi-En

Joseph Fu Yong Song

Huang Zhen Zhi

Iau Jo Yee

Kwan Yhu Chin

Lee Yi Xuan

Lee Ying Jie

Leong Yu Xuan

Lew Jia Hui

Debra Grace Lim Jia-En

Lim Kwan Yee

Joanne Loong Ker Zhin

Ryan Lum Jing Hern

Neow Ke Yi

Ng Jia Wei

April Ong Chu Wen

Magarita Raphaella Ong

Sia Song Yu

Siw Ming Wei

So Yii

Soh Siew Long

Tan Jade Xi

Tan Zong Yao

Tee Jie Ying

Teh Jia Yee

Teoh Yong Xuan

Tham Jia Yi

Tiong Vincie

Jesselyn Wang Wey Yee

Kelsey Wong Chyi-En

Wong Phui Min

Yeo Wei Le

Yeoh Hoilin


You may also like:

Call For Auditions: OMWPA 2012

A Magical Experience At OMWPA 2010


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