Hailed by Musical America for the depth and sincerity of his musicality, the Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong came to international attention as winner of the Mahler Competition in May 2016, following in the footsteps of Gustavo Dudamel, who immediately appointed him as a Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the 2016/2017 season. Following a remarkable last-minute debut with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in October 2016, he was appointed as its next Chief Conductor from the 2018/2019 season.
Highlights in 2017 and 2018 include European debuts with the Czech Philharmonic, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Orchestre Capitole du Toulouse, Staatskapelle Weimar, Staatsphilharmonie Rhineland-Pfalz, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Teatro lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste and Orquestra de València, Asian debuts with the Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Kanagawa Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan and Shenzhen Symphony, as well as re-invitations to the Bamberg Symphony, China Philharmonic, George Enescu Philharmonic, Kunming Symphony, Shanghai Symphony and Singapore Symphony. Together with the Nuremberg Symphony, he will embark on an extensive tour of China in December 2017, and in summer 2018, lead Klassik Open Air, the largest European outdoor festival of classical music.
A protégé of the late Kurt Masur, Wong had the privilege of sharing the podium together with him in his last years on multiple occasions. He has also assisted Gustavo Dudamel and Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Valery Gergiev and Yannick Nezet-Seguin with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. In January 2018, he will travel with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra on its North American tour.
Wong began musical studies on the cornet at the age of 7. After serving as a military musician in the Singapore Armed Forces for two years, he studied composition at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore and conducting at the Hanns-Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin. He has studied with Bernard Haitink twice at the Lucerne Easter Festival, Robert Spano at the Aspen Music Festival and Gustav Meier at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, where he was a recipient of the Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship.
Wang’s career spans many important centers of the musical world. Past appointments include Music Director and Associate Professor at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Evergreen Symphony (Taiwan), Akron Symphony Orchestra (Ohio), Detroit Symphony’s Civic Orchestra, Fort Smith Symphony (Arkansas), the Omaha Nebraska Youth Orchestras and Principal Conductor of the Chicago Encore Chamber Orchestra. In the summer of 2000, she joined the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, as their Associate Conductor. Among her other impressive achievements was her appointment, in 1995, as Apprentice Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with then Music Director Daniel Barenboim. Barenboim personally selected Wang for this prestigious conductor-mentoring program, citing her “immensely impressive background and conducting talents”.
Ya-Hui Wang earned international recognition by taking top prizes in three prestigious international conducting competitions: the 1998 Nicolai Malko Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark; the 1996 Dimitri Mitropoulos Competition in Athens, Greece; and the 1994 Tokyo Competition in Japan. A significant figure in the international music scene, Wang has appeared as guest conductor with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic (Florida), Erie (Pennsylvania) Philharmonic and Lexington (Kentucky) Philharmonic, Danish National Radio Symphony, Århus, Ålborg and Odense Symphony Orchestras in Denmark, Tampere Philharmonic in Finland, National, Evergreen and National State Symphony Orchestras in Taiwan, Hanoi Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Lyric Opera and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Performance highlights include debut appearance at the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen under the patronage of Queen Margarathe II of Denmark leading the Royal Danish Orchestra and Ballet in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the Renée Fleming Gala with the Baltimore Opera and twenty-two performances of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly with the Danish National Opera.
Wang went to the United States in 1986 to further her music education, which was fully funded by a scholarship from Dr. Yung-Fa Chang, Chairman and founder of the Evergreen Group. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano performance and conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where her teachers included Otto-Werner Mueller and Frederik Prausnitz.
Quek Ling Kiong’s career in professional conducting took off when he became SCO’s first Conducting Assistant in 2003. In 2004, he became SCO’s Assistant Conductor as well as the Conductor for the Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra (SNYCO). In 2005, he debuted with SCO at the opening concert of the 12th International Conference of WASBE (World Association for Symphonic Band and Ensembles). In 2006 and 2013, he led SNYCO to perform at the Tainan International Arts Festival and Hsinchu Chinese Music Festival in Taiwan respectively.
Besides conducting orchestras in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, he has conducted symphony orchestras in the Europe including Westbohmisches Symphonieorchester in Marienbad, Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra and Berg Komorni Orchestra of Prague. In September 2006, he was again awarded the NAC overseas bursary and scholarship from the Hokkien Huay Kwan to pursue Conducting Studies in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2007, he attended the International Conducting Workshop in St. Petersburg and obtained his Diploma in Advanced Studies from Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich University of the Arts) in 2008. Upon his return to SCO in 2008, he was promoted to Associate Conductor. During his appointment as an Associate Conductor, he introduced and choreographed many well-received SCO concerts – SCO’s Mother’s Day Concert, Concerts for Children, Community Series concerts, Music Oasis Series concerts, Caring Series concerts, Lunchtime Concerts and SNYCO Concerts. Quek Ling Kiong is currently an adjunct teacher at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Music Director of Singapore Management University Chinese Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor for Singapore’s top Chinese chamber music ensemble — Ding Yi Music Company.
Quek Ling Kiong was appointed as SCO’s Resident Conductor from 1 January 2013 and SNYCO’s Music Director from 1 January 2016.
Born in Treviso, Italy, MaoloCagnin developed an interest in music early in life. As a child, he studied violin and violin at the Conservatory of Venice, then later pursued choral music, conducting and composition in Venice and Milan. He completed his studies in Leipzig under Kurt Masur and Fabio Luisi.
In Leipzig, Mr. Cagnin served as assistant to the Thomanerchor’s artistic director, Georg Christoph Biller. He was music director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s 2007 production of “La Tragédie de Carmen”.
In 2008, Mr. Cagnin was named conductor of one of the Wiener Sängerknaben’s (Vienna Boys Choir) four touring choirs. He prepares the boys for masses with the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle and for appearances with the Vienna State Opera; for sound and video recordings, and for concerts both in Vienna and abroad.
Mr. Cagnin feels it is especially important to communicate with the audience, “Music is a gift. As musicians, we have the obligation to share that gift with our audience.” Mr. Cagnin finds working with the boys particularly rewarding, “They possess character and spirit. This is reflected in the way they make music. The children learn from me, and I learn from them.” The repertoire is chosen to match the boys’ voices and personalities.
The spirited choirmaster enjoys touring, and has led his Choir on tours through most of Europe, North and South America, Australia, Canada, China, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Howard Williams, one of Britain’s most experienced conductors on the international platform, has covered a formidable range of work both in the opera house and concert hall. His exceptionally large symphonic repertoire is matched in the theater by nearly a hundred opera and ballet titles and a love of orchestral and choral collaboration.
In the UK, he has conducted the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony, as well as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Bournemouth Symphony and Sinfonietta, English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra. He has conducted at the BBC Proms and at the Edinburgh, Leeds, Bath and Brighton Festivals, as at festivals in Budapest, Hong Kong, and throughout France and Spain.
In Europe Williams has appeared in the concert seasons of – amongst other orchestras – the Austrian Radio Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Belgian Radio Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, Slovak Philharmonic, Hungarian National Philharmonic (formerly State Symphony), Hungarian Radio Symphony, Budapest Philharmonic, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Orchestre de Strasbourg, Orchestre Symphonique de Montpellier, Orchestre de Picardie, RTE Symphony Orchestra, Dublin and the Portuguese National Symphony Orchestra.