Notes of ex­cel­lence

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Education Guide -

UCSI Uni­ver­sity’s In­sti­tute of Mu­sic is con­sis­tently chart­ing new grounds in in­ter­na­tional mu­si­cal stan­dards as Malaysia’s lead­ing mu­sic school.

Foun­da­tion in Mu­sic at UCSI Uni­ver­sity’s In­sti­tute of Mu­sic (IMus) stu­dent Koay Wan Ern, 19, had wanted to be a pro­fes­sional pi­anist since the age of 10.

She was only in her sec­ond se­mes­ter when she won the Best Etude Award in the Se­nior cat­e­gory at the Sec­ond In­ter­na­tional Pi­ano Fes­ti­val and Com­pe­ti­tion 2016 (IPFC).

“Etudes have a high level of tech­ni­cal dif­fi­culty and I did not ex­pect to win,” said Koay.

Or­gan­ised bi­en­ni­ally by IMus, this year’s IPFC wel­comed a to­tal of 116 par­tic­i­pants be­tween the ages of seven and 25 from Aus­tralia, China, Hong Kong, In­done­sia, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, South Korea, Tai­wan, Thai­land and Viet­nam for the com­pe­ti­tion, as well as for sem­i­nars, mas­ter­classes and recitals.

These young pi­anists were able to per­form for and re­ceive con­struc­tive feed­back from award­win­ning mae­stros-cum-pro­fes­sors such as Dr Peter Am­stutz from West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­sity, Pro­fes­sor Akira Imai from Ku­ni­tachi Col­lege of Mu­sic, Dr Lu­cas Wong from Soo­chow Uni­ver­sity School of Mu­sic, and more.

Ho Sue Jin, a Bach­e­lor of Clas­si­cal Mu­sic stu­dent, is Koay’s se­nior and also a semi-fi­nal­ist at IPFC.

“UCSI truly goes out of its way to en­cour­age self-ex­plo­ration,” she said.

“I have en­joyed nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to per­form as I was study­ing and all these ex­pe­ri­ences have helped me im­mensely in learn­ing more about my­self as a per­former and how I can im­prove.”

IPFC is only one of the many high-level and star-stud­ded events that UCSI stu­dents are a part of.

Con­stantly seek­ing to en­rich the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of their stu­dents, UCSI ac­tively se­cures strong in­dus­try link­ages and uni­ver­sity af­fil­i­a­tions to pro­vide en­gag­ing plat­forms for net­work­ing, per­for­mance and study at in­ter­na­tional lev­els.

Iconic artistes such as Malaysia’s fore­most jazz pi­anist Michael Veer­a­pan; Malaysian drum vir­tu­oso John Thomas; renowned vi­olin­ist David Früh­wirth; and in­ter­na­tional con­cert pi­anists Den­nis Lee and Toh Chee Hung are just a few who have crossed UCSI’s doorstep to show­case in­sight­ful mas­ter­classes.

The Artist in Res­i­dence pro­gramme is an­other sim­i­lar en­deav­our by UCSI to keep its stu­dents in touch with the world.

There, prom­i­nent or leg­endary mu­si­cians are in­vited to stay as vis­it­ing schol­ars for a pe­riod of time to en­hance learn­ing and teach­ing out­comes.

Ear­lier this year, UCSI hosted the Or­feo Trio from Wi­chita State Uni­ver­sity com­pris­ing vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor Dr Julie Bees, Evgeny Zvon­nikov and Dr Leonid Shukaev.

Prof Dr Bees has con­ducted recitals and mas­ter­classes around the world, while Zvon­nikov and Dr Shukaev are mem­bers of the famed St Peters­burg String Quar­tet, which re­ceived nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades, in­clud­ing a Grammy nom­i­na­tion.

To­gether, they held a va­ri­ety of mas­ter­classes, con­ver­sa­tion ses­sions, in­di­vid­ual coach­ing, en­sem­ble group classes, and recitals at UCSI.

“UCSI has a very vi­brant group of con­tem­po­rary mu­si­cians and this speaks well of the qual­ity of its pro­gramme and the stu­dents it at­tracts as well as grad­u­ates,” said Prof Dr Bees, who was also treated to a per­for­mance by UCSI alumni, the Ter­rence Ling Group.

Prof Dr Bees did not only spend her time with stu­dents but en­joyed recitals from fac­ulty mem­bers as well.

“The per­for­mances were out­stand­ing,” she said.

“They are ex­pe­ri­enced per­form­ers and teach­ers, some of whom are es­pe­cially ma­ture artists with fab­u­lous gifts.”

IMus’ team of ed­u­ca­tors are 70-strong and to­gether, they have a comprehensive range of ex­per­tise in the fields of per­form­ing, com­pos­ing, tech­nol­ogy and ped­a­gogy.

IMus di­rec­tor Prof Dr P’ng Tean Hwa said UCSI in­struc­tors are still in­volved in the in­dus­try.

“We stay at the top of our game so that we are able to pro­vide the best guid­ance to our stu­dents.”

In­deed, UCSI aims to lead mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion in the re­gion.

Its fully ac­cred­ited study pro­grammes are one of if not the strong­est in the coun­try, un­der­go­ing con­stant re­view to en­sure that the syl­labi re­spond to cur­rent de­vel­op­ments.

Its alumni is tes­ta­ment to its suc­cess; UCSI is where mu­si­cal forces the likes of per­form­ing artists Dr Joanne Yeoh and Den­nis Lau, jazz pi­anist Liu Wei Zhong, ac­claimed com­poser and mu­sic di­rec­tor Sen Weng Onn, as well as award-winning singer Tracy Wong, among oth­ers, got their first start in their pro­fes­sional ca­reers.

“UCSI was my step­ping stone to greater things in life,” said Dr Yeoh, who just this April be­came the first Malaysian to per­form an aerial vi­o­lin act.

“Who I am to­day, I owe it largely to UCSI.”

■ For de­tails on UCSI Uni­ver­sity’s In­sti­tute of Mu­sic pro­grammes, call 03-9101 8882 or leave a query at www.uc­si­u­ni­ver­sity.edu.my/ on­li­neen­quiry.

Win­ners and fi­nal­ists of the Sec­ond In­ter­na­tional Pi­ano Fes­ti­val and Com­pe­ti­tion 2016 pic­tured with UCSI’s vice-chan­cel­lor and pres­i­dent Se­nior Prof Datuk Dr Khalid Yu­soff (third from right), UCSI In­sti­tute of Mu­sic’s di­rec­tor Prof Dr P’ng Tean Hwa (far right) and ad­ju­di­ca­tors.

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