The prestigious National Piano & Violin Competition (NPVC), hailed as Singapore’s premier music platform, made a triumphant return to live performances, showcasing fresh and exceptional young talents. After the pandemic had relegated the 2021 edition to online presentations, the finals of the Artist categories unfolded with renewed vigor, featuring performances elevated by the NPVC Orchestra, conducted by the accomplished Joshua Tan.
The piano finals on December 2 showcased an all-Beethoven program, setting the stage for a captivating display of musical prowess. University undergraduate Long Jing Xuan navigated the challenging Fourth Piano Concerto In G Major (Op.58), displaying technical brilliance despite occasional nerves. Conservatory student Lee Ann delivered a confident interpretation of the Third Piano Concerto In C Minor (Op.37), infusing Sturm und Drang with dramatic flair. However, it was national serviceman Joshua Lau Jin Quan who claimed the spotlight with a masterful performance of the Second Piano Concerto In B Flat Major (Op.19). His composure, crisp articulation, and vibrant ornamentations secured him the first prize, while Long and Lee shared joint third places.
The violin artist finals on the afternoon of December 3 witnessed equally impressive performances, notably from the international students of the Conservatory. Datsiuk Leonid, a Ukrainian talent, offered a mysterious and pathos-laden interpretation of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto In D Minor, while Sichuan native Zou Meng delivered a searing intensity that surpassed expectations. In between, Zou Zhang tackled Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto In D Major with fireworks that rivaled his identical twin, Zou Meng. The jury’s decision was a testament to the exceptional skills displayed, with Meng securing first place, Zhang in second, and Datsiuk claiming third.
The prize-winners concert not only relived movements from the winning concertos but also featured commissioned set pieces by young composer Terrence Wong. The works, titled “Life” (for piano) and “Death” (for violin), captivated the audience with their minimalism and calisthenics, performed with excellence by Adrian Tang and Low Peng Guan.
The Junior and Intermediate categories showcased prodigious talents, with violinists Chua Suen Ern and Caleb Toh, as well as pianists Newman Tong and Ethan Peleg, delivering solo performances that left a lasting impression. Their remarkable skills hint at a promising future, echoing the success of NPVC’s most illustrious alumna, Chloe Chua.
The National Piano & Violin Competition not only celebrated musical excellence but also reinforced its commitment to nurturing the next generation of musical virtuosos, ensuring the continued vibrancy of Singapore’s musical landscape.