Voyage: Panel Discussions


Alumni Panel: Life after YST" 
24th August, Friday, 2pm
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Foyer

What lies ahead? An inevitable question that all music students come to confront. To pursue a further education or to dive into one’s professional career? European school, or the United States? Perhaps some anxieties echo a more sinister undertone– is music really for me? Tapping onto the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory’s rich network of Alumni relations, we trace the pathways of those before us to understand how they grappled with similar growing pains and emerged through struggle with renewed passion for their craft. Audience members are warmly invited to voice any questions they might have about post-graduation prospects.

Rui Du, Assistant Concert Master, Minnesota Orchestra
Low Jia Hua, General Manager, Metropolitan Festival Orchestra
Li Churen, Pianist
Huang Peh Linde, Music Producer

Jade Tan Shi Yu, Voyage Festival Director

"Navigating the Singaporean Creative Landscape of Today - A Musician's Perspective"
25th August, Saturday, 5.30pm
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Foyer

From arts entrepreneurship and cultural policy to music education and performance, we sit down with prominent members of the Singaporean creative landscape to elucidate challenges pertinent to young musical professionals and others invested in the future of the creative scene. What is the role of music education in relation to artistic development? How is emerging technology re-shaping the consumption of music? How can performers engage and develop new audiences? We discuss a broad range of issues to illuminate a path forward in this ever-changing landscape.

Darius Lim, Founder & Artistic Director, Voices of Singapore Festival President, Choral Directors' Association of Singapore
Christel Hon, Senior Producer, Esplanade
Rebecca Chew, Academy Principal, Singapore Teacher's Academy for the Arts
Dr Sydney Tan, Music Director & Producer
Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi, Chief Executive Officer - Aureus Group

Stasha Wong, Voyage Festival Panel Discussion Curator

Life after YST: Alumni Panelists


RUI DU, Assistant Concert Master, Minnesota Orchestra

Rui Du, appointed assistant concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2015, had previously been a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; he won fourth chair in the first violin section in 2012 and soon after was named acting assistant concertmaster. He had previously been concertmaster of the Annapolis Symphony, associate concertmaster of the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra and concertmaster of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. In addition, he has served as guest concertmaster of the Qingdao and Hebei symphony orchestras in China.

Du has won numerous competitions, including grand prize at the 2006 Canetti International Violin Competition. He has performed as soloist and recitalist in locations including France, Turkey, Finland and Singapore and China, in addition to appearing in solos with the orchestras mentioned earlier and the orchestras of Shanghai and Fuzhou in China. Also an accomplished chamber musician, Du has performed with renowned artists at the Tanglewood, Canetti and Aspen music festivals, among others, and in 2011 was featured in Aspen’s Baroque Evening Concert Series under the direction of Nicholas McGegan.

Born and raised in Heifei, in China’s Anhui Province, Du began violin studies at age 6. He studied initially with Zhou Bin-you at the Shanghai Conservatory, then with Qian Zhou at the National University of Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, where he won the artistic achievement award. He emigrated to the U.S. in 2008 and studied with Victor Danchenko and Herbert Greenberg at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, earning a master’s degree and graduate performance diploma.

Rui Du plays on a 1750 Nicola Gagliano violin, generously on loan to him from the Rin Collection.


LOW JIA HUA, General Manager, Metropolitan Festival Orchestra

Low Jia Hua's vision and belief in the potential of the growing pool of high-quality professionally-trained orchestral musicians in Southeast Asia was the key driving force behind the founding of MFO.

Privileged to have been mentored by Yap Thien Soo, Jun Ikebe and the late Pierre Thibaud prior to his tertiary studies, Jia Hua was in the pioneer batch of graduates from Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, where his interest in arts and business management took flight alongside his musical studies.

While still in his final semester at YST, he was appointed by the Singapore Arts Festival to be the founding Orchestra Manager of the Singapore Festival Orchestra, and was later the first ever professionally-trained musician appointed to a managerial position at the National Arts Council, where he was entrusted with key roles in a range of arts industry-wide development initiatives.  

Post-NAC and prior to founding MFO, Jia Hua also led Singapore's first all-professional brass quintet B5 Brass, taught as an Adjunct Lecturer in Music at Temasek Polytechnic, and was highly-sought after by numerous artists and arts organisations as a consultant, writer, project manager and collaborator.

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CHUREN LI, Pianist

Yamaha and Bosendorfer Artist, Churen Li, is a first-prize winner at numerous international competitions and captivates audiences worldwide with her musicality, poetry and charm. She has been praised for her “extraordinary skill” (South China morning Post, Hong Kong), and heralded as the “epitome of poise and polish… subtlety, delicacy and great refinement” in (The Straits Times, Singapore) well as “a pianist who gives new spirit and breath of life to [her] bewitching performances” in the (Ragusa Times, Sicily). Most recently, she performed as the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Orchestra in Hong Kong and Macau in celebration of Singapore’s 50th jubilee, at the invitation of Singapore’s High Consulate in Hong Kong. She was listed on Singapore Tatler's Generation-T List in 2018, a celebration of "50 of the brightest connectors, creative visionaries, influential innovators and disruptive talents in Singapore." 

Churen’s competition awards include 1st Prize at the International Young Talents Piano Competition of Barlassina (2014), International Piano Competition “Pietro Argento” (2014), PianoTalents Milano (2014), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Concerto Competition (2014), Ars Nova International Piano Competition (2012), and 3rd Prize at the Aarhus International Piano Competition (2011). In recognition of her exceptional potential, she has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious grants including the Tan Kah Kee Postgraduate Scholarship (2015), FJ Benjamin-Singapore Symphony Orchestra Bursary (2013) and the National Arts Council Arts Scholarship (2011-2015).

Churen attained her Master’s Degree from the Yale School of Music and Bachelor’s Degree from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Past teachers include Albert Tiu, Paul Liang, Peter Frankl and Hung-Kuan Chen. 


HUANG PEH LINDE, Music Producer

Peh Linde graduated from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Recording Arts. Her range of skill sets includes music arrangement, music production, recording and mixing, sound design and song writing. Till date, she has worked on productions for Chingay Parade, W!ld Rice, Mediacorp, The TENG Ensemble, Ministry of Education, Singapore Airlines, Air China, HSR International Realtors, Giant Hypermarket etc. Her discography also spans 2 award-winning instrumental albums, 3 musical soundtracks, 3 Mando-pop albums, 8 audio books, 2 jazz albums, 1 solo guitar album and 3 single releases. 


navigating the singaporean creative Landscape of today: Panelists


DARIUS LIM, Founder & Artistic Director, Voices of Singapore Festival President, Choral Directors' Association of Singapore

Darius Lim is President of the Choral Directors’ Association of Singapore, Founder & Artistic Director of the Voices of Singapore Choir Festival, as well as Music Director of Voco Singapore Ladies Choir, Voce Singapore Men’s Choir and the Volare Treble Voices. He has risen to prominence in the national and international music scene with more than 40 national and international awards that include Gold medals,
1st and 2nd Prizes, Category Champions, and other special prizes in both local and international choral and composition competitions.
Lim has been a featured composer in the New Music segment of world choral publication company, Choir & Organ, with which his composition Gloria! Alleluia! was written for and recorded by the Choir of Royal Holloway. He is published internationally by Edition Peters and Walton Music, and also self-publishes his choral works on his website
A former conducting student of BBC Choral Director Neil Ferris and Dr Sarah Tenant-Flowers, Darius Lim graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (UK) with a Masters in Choral Conducting (with Distinction). He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts.


CHRISTEL HON, Senior Producer - Esplanade

Christel is the producer in charge of classical music programmes and Concert Hall acoustics at the Esplanade. Her time there has seen her conceptualise and implement festivals and series such as Voices – A Festival of Song, Limelight and Dance Appreciation Series. She has also contributed to Mosaic Music Festival, da:ns Festival, A Tapestry of Sacred Music and Kalaa Utsavam.

Her recent presentations for the Esplanade include Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre des Champs-Elysees, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre and Stuttgart Ballet. She has been on various panels for NAC, MOE, The Cappella Society and AKA A Cappella


REBECCA CHEW, Academy Principal, Singapore Teacher's Academy for the Arts

A passionate advocate of the arts, Rebecca Chew has also been recognized for her innovative leadership as an educator.
In 2004, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong commended her outstanding leadership in his inaugural speech, praising her for providing opportunities for pupils to experience a comprehensive arts program in Naval Base Secondary School, where she was then the Principal.
Rebecca’s expertise as a musician and an arts educator is also outstanding. Among her other contributions, she currently serves as the National Arts Council Arts Resource Person for Music and Executive Board Member for the Talent Development Fund for Young Artists.


SYDNEY TAN, Music Director & Producer

Sydney Tan has been prominently involved locally and regionally as a Music Director / Producer / Arranger since the early 80s, working with many artistes and groups across this time frame. He has been at the musical helm of multiple National Day Parades including the SG 50 celebrations, the 28th SEA games, the Millennial Street party, the opening of the Esplanade as the Music Director of Forbidden City and has composed the soundtrack for movies like Singapore Dreaming, and Wonder Boy the Dick Lee biopic. He was awarded the Compass Meritorious award in 2015 for his contributions to local music.

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LAWRENCE HOLMEFJORD-SARABI, Chief Executive Officer - Aureus Group

Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Aureus Academy. Originally trained as a concert pianist, Lawrence ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. Lawrence established Aureus Academy in late 2013 and has developed the company into Singapore's leading music education brand with over 4,000 students, 10 locations and 200 full-time employees. Lawrence has been identified as one of Asia's leading entrepreneurs having received the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 Award and Prestige 40 Under 40 award at the age of only 25. 

Lawrence is a graduate from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Class of 2014) where he studied with Dr. Koo Siaw Sing.