Keeping the family in tune

Keeping the family in tune

SINGAPORE - There is little small talk in erhu player Chew Junru's family.

He and his three younger siblings are all serious musicians who would rather chat about finer points such as tonal quality and the "temperament" of notes produced by the Chinese instruments they play.

He says: "Our family conversations don't revolve around what to buy or where to go to eat or shop."

Their father, businessman Chew Sin Hwa, 55, encourages them - he thinks music is a "place where they can train resolve and develop drive".

Mr Chew is right. His eldest child, Junru, 24, has become the first graduate from Britain's 130-year-old Royal College of Music to specialise in a Chinese instrument.

An alumnus of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa), he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in performance with the erhu last Saturday.

He is also the first Singaporean recipient of a scholarship from the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing to do a master's degree in erhu.

His three siblings, aged 18 to 21, are accomplished on the yangqin, the middle ruan and dizi.

His parents, who play no instruments, started the children on music from a young age. Junru learnt to play the erhu at nine while studying at Rosyth Primary School.

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