Conductor gets dream debut with SSO

Conductor gets dream debut with SSO
Award-winning Singaporean conductor Wong Kah Chun has had concerts in at least 20 cities around the world.

As a teenager, Wong Kah Chun attended open rehearsals of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, hoping to one day stand on the stage with them, holding the baton.

The award-winning young Singa- porean conductor finally realises his dream on March 6 at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

He will conduct the SSO in performances of two symphonic poems by Liszt (Orpheus, Les Preludes) and Wagner's Tannhauser Overture.

On the same night, American violinist Sarah Chang will perform Dvorak's Violin Concerto In A Minor with the orchestra, under the baton of SSO music director Shui Lan.

"I'm very excited, but I'm also nervous," says Wong, 29, on the telephone from Luxembourg, where he trained this month with the Philharmonie Luxembourg.

"Singapore is where I grew up and, since I was 18, I've gone to open rehearsals, sitting by the side watching famous conductors work with the SSO.

"I've been waiting for a long time for an invitation, but I also wanted to perform in my home and with the SSO only when I was ready."

Wong's star has been rising in the last four years, with concerts in at least 20 cities around the world to his credit.

He was a guest conductor with the Oltenia State Philharmonic Orchestra in Romania this month and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and St Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia last year, while he completed his master's in orchestra conducting and opera conducting from the Hanns-Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin.

Two years ago, he won first place at the 4th International Conducting Competition Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest.

In 2011, after graduating from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Singapore with a bachelor's degree in music composition, he won second place at the International Competition of Young Conductors Lovro von Matacic in Croatia.

He has twice appeared at the well-known Lucerne Easter Festival in Switzerland, in 2012 and last year.

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