There are 5 Judges for the Final Round.
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Mr. Benjamin Loh
A native of Singapore, Benjamin Loh first obtained his B.Sc. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music, where he graduated with a Master of Music in Piano Performance as a student of Dr. Marc Silverman. While a student in Singapore, he studied with the late Mrs. Lucien Wang.
Since returning to Singapore, he has successfully balanced the role of teacher and performer. Many of his students have won prizes in local and international piano competitions, and others have continued their musical training at prestigious institutions such as The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, École Normale de Musique de Paris, Purcell School and Mozarteum University.
As a performer, he is often heard in chamber music concerts, and performs locally as well as abroad.
He is also very much in demand as a teacher, and has given lectures and master classes in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Italy and the U.S.A. In South Korea, he was on the faculty of the Asia International Piano Academy & Festival (AIPAF) 2008 to 2014, and was their International Advisor for seven years. He has also given lectures and master classes at the John Perry Academy of Music, the Hotchkiss Summer Piano Program, the Colburn School, the University of Iowa and the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival in the U.S.A., the Adam Gyorgy Island Academy in Indonesia, the 1st Chung Ang University International Piano Conference & Festival, Eumyoun International Music Festival and DMZ International Music Festival in South Korea, the 1st Bangkok Piano Symposium in Thailand, as well as at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the Music Fest Perugia in Italy.
As an adjudicator, he has been on the jury of the ASEAN Chopin International Piano Competition (Malaysia), International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia (Japan), PTNA Competition (Japan), All Japan Piano Concours (Japan), IIYM International Piano Competition (Kansas, U.S.A.), PianoHouse International Piano Competition (U.S.A.), Asian Youth Music Competition (Hong Kong), Kawai Asia Piano Competition (China), Taiwan-Asia Piano Open Competition (Taiwan), Asia Piano Competition (Taiwan), Philippines Steinway Youth Piano Competition, UCSI – International Piano Festival Competition (Malaysia), and the 1st Korea-Asia Piano Open Competition (South Korea). In 2016, he was appointed a juror of the World Piano Teachers Association – International Piano Competition (Serbia).
In the past, Mr. Loh has held the post of music critic for The Straits Times and The Business Times in Singapore. He was formerly Vice-President of the Singapore Music Teachers Association as well as Head of Music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore. Presently, he is on the piano faculty of NAFA and the LASALLE College of the Arts, and also maintains an active private teaching studio. He was also on the Advisory Committee of the Singapore National Arts Council National Piano and Violin Competition. He is also an Honorary Consultant of The Amigos Music Society of Hong Kong.
In 2005, he was given the Special Recognition Award by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) for his contributions to the Singapore National Arts Council.
Mr. Loh is a Steinway Artist.
Ms. Lena Ching
Vice Dean, School of Music, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
Master of Arts (Psychology for Musicians), The University of Sheffield, U.K.
Postgraduate for Advanced Study (Piano), The Royal College of Music, London, U.K.
G.R.S.M. (Hons), Graduate of the Royal Schools of Music, The Royal College of Music, London, U.K.
L.R.A.M., Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, U.K.
A.R.C.M., Associate of the Royal College of Music, London, U.K.
F.T.C.L., Fellow of the Trinity College of Music, London
L.R.S.M., Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music, U.K.
Lena Ching received her early music education in Singapore before going to the Royal College of Music in London for her graduate and postgraduate studies, majoring in both the piano and the harpsichord. She counts herself as part of the privileged beneficiary of her teachers, Victor Doggett, Yonty Solomon, Phyllis Sellick and Ruth Dyson.
Amongst Lena’s passions in life is teaching young people to cultivate a love and an understanding for music and life, as well as to see them excel in their talents and potential so as to contribute to the profession and to society. Since 1986, she has taught, developed and mentored numerous students and young performers from her private studio, from the LaSalle College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (the School of Music and the School of Young Talents), and also lectured for a period of time at the SIM-University of Buffalo.
Having been a prize-winning student herself (1st prize at the National Music Competition 1980, and Runner-Up at the Diners’ Club “Pianist of the Year” Competition 1986), her piano students have also won numerous prizes at local and overseas music competitions, and many have become successful musicians or professionals with a deep interest and love for music.
In the midst of a flourishing career, Lena’s continued search for excellence led her to pursue the Master of Arts degree in ‘Psychology for Musicians’ from the University of Sheffield (U.K.), in order to understand better the development and function of human talent and abilities. Her area of research and specialization was on music competitions and how they impact/affect gifted young musicians and high-ability learners. This is one of the outcomes of her illustrious career in teaching and working with musically-exceptional students.
Her professional experiences have also included numerous opportunities to perform as a soloist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist in concerts, auditions, examinations and competitions. Lena was also an adjudicator for the National Piano Competitions in Sarawak and Ipoh (in the 1990’s), the Malaysia National Piano Competition in 2000, DynamicWorkz’s Young Pianist Competitions in 2009 and 2010, and the “Vivace!” Inter-Junior College Piano Duo Competition in 2014. Additionally, she has served as a committee member/ panel member for the National Arts Council in 1996 and 1998.
To date, Lena continues to be greatly inspired and enthused by aspiring young musicians as well as the work of her many colleagues and contemporaries.
Prof. Albert Tiu
Born in Cebu, Philippines, Albert Tiu has been called “an artist of uncommon abilities” by American Record Guide. His latest Centaur recording, “Grand Russian”, pairing Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata and Rachmaninov’s 1st Sonata, was cited in ARG: “Even with some legendary competition in this repertoire, Tiu stands tall with his interpretations and technical accomplishment.” A previous disc, “The Classical Elements”, featuring twenty pieces grouped under Earth, Air, Water and Fire, was rated 5 Stars in International Piano and praised by Fanfare for a “fascinating recital containing some stunning playing.” His 2010 tribute to Chopin and Skryabin, “Nocturnal Fantasies”, featuring pairs of similarly-titled works by both composers, was dubbed “one of the all-time great piano recordings” by Fanfare.
Currently a Professor of Piano and the head of piano studies at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, he studied with Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, with Michael Lewin at Boston Conservatory, and with Nita Abrogar-Quinto and Nelly Castro in the Philippines. A recipient of Juilliard’s William Petschek Award and a prizewinner of competitions in Calgary (Honens), Helsinki (Maj Lind) and Santander (Paloma O’Shea), he won the First Prize and two concerto prizes in the 1996 UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.
Known for his innovative programming, he has presented thought-provoking thematic recitals, like “Chopin: Before & Beyond” (works that influenced Chopin and works inspired by Chopin), and “Bee Flat” (the two Sonatas in B-flat by Beethoven). He has performed with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hamburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, and Philippine Philharmonic. In 2005, he gave the Singapore premiere of Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Singapore Symphony under Tang Muhai.
Other recent recording projects include collaborations with violist Zhang Manchin in the Brahms Viola Sonatas, and with tenor Alan Bennett in Schubert’s “Winterreise”, both on Centaur; with violinist Kam Ning in “Road Movies”, a Meridian disc featuring American composers; and with cellist Qin Li-Wei, in two discs on Decca of Beethoven and Rachmaninov.
His “Tiudents” have distinguished themselves in competitions and festivals around the world, and have pursued further studies in North America and Europe. Aside from teaching, he has adjudicated in international piano competitions in France, Denmark, New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia.
He is addicted to Angry Birds, a constant source of humour in the family and in his studio, but somehow he still manages to practice some piano. When it is in season, his addiction spreads to ice hockey, in which he supports the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dr. Chua Yun Ying
Dr. Chua Yun Ying is an established music educator and pianist in Singapore. Currently, she teaches at the Singapore Raffles Music College, where she is the Head of Piano Faculty and the Programme Leader for University of West London degree programmes.
Yun Ying left for Manchester in 1995 to pursue her music studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester. After obtaining a Graduate Diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music and a Bachelor’s degree with first class honours from the University of Manchester, she went on to pursue a Master’s degree at King’s College London. She returned to the University of Manchester in 2000 to pursue her PhD, specialising in the music of Beethoven.
At the University of Manchester, Yun Ying was a recipient of the Hargreaves Fund Prize, awarded to the overall top students in the music department. Yun Ying received full scholarships to fund her doctoral studies - the Overseas Research Scholarship and the University Research Studentship, awarded by the British government and the University of Manchester respectively.
Yun Ying is an accomplished pianist and accompanist, having studied with renowned teachers such as Martina Maixnerova, Renna Kellaway, Colin Stone and Mikhail Kazakevich. She participated regularly in lunchtime recitals in Manchester and has given concerts in Cambridge, Oxford, Glasgow and York.
Yun Ying is highly sought after as a music educator, having given masterclasses at the Middle School of the Central Conservatory of Music as well as the Central Conservatory Preparatory School in Beijing in 2016. At the Liszt Memorial Prizes: 2016 Hong Kong – International Piano Open Competition, she received the award of “Excellent Piano Teacher”. She has also adjudicated in competitions such as the Singapore International Classical Piano Competition 2017 and the Singapore Raffles Cultural and Arts Festival 2018 Piano Competition.
Yun Ying has taught classes at the University of Manchester and at the Royal Northern College of Music. Since returning to Singapore, Yun Ying has lectured at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, teaching music appreciation, music theory and music knowledge classes, as well as supervising research thesis to Bachelor’s degree students. At Singapore Raffles Music College, she is teaching History and Musicianship classes, supervising BMus research projects, and tutoring piano principal study students. Many of her students have successfully completed FdMus and BMus degrees from the University of West London, and some have gone on to pursue Masters degrees.
Dr. Wu Yang
Dr. Wu Yang started to learn piano at age of 4. She moved to Moscow to study in Moscow State College of Frederic Chopin at 13 years old, later on in 2003 she followed with Prof. Yuri Hayrapetyan and Prof. Alexdaner Rudin in Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she obtained her master degree in 2010 and doctoral degree in 2013.
Dr. Wu Yang has been invited to perform in Russia, Germany, Italy , Thailand, and she has won prizes in several international piano competitions, include 5th “Paolo Serrao” Music Competition Citta di Filadeltia in Italy, All Russian Art Festival for Youngsters in Russia, 5th International Piano Competition ‘Johann Baptist Cramer’ in German, Music Competition for the 100th- Anniversary of Aram Ilitch Khatchaturian’s Birth in Russia and so on.
In 2014, Dr. Wu Yang founded Finger Waltz Music School in Singapore and continually explored her teaching career. She has formerly taught piano in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), and conducted piano masterclasses in Singapore Raffles Music College and Music College of Ning Bo University. During the years, her students were awarded many prizes in different International piano competitions in Singapore, Europe and United States. Her students had been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall in New York, and also qualified semi-final of Singapore National Piano Competition in 2019. She was awarded "Best Teaching Prize" for her outstanding teaching ability in Singapore International Youth Piano Competition.
Dr. Wu Yang became the artistic director of International Music Culture Association Singapore (IMCAS) since 2016. She was also one of the judges of Asia International Art Competition, Hong Kong International Piano Invitation Competition, and Singapore Steinway Youth Piano Competition.
Currently Dr. Wu Yang is a piano lecturer in Singapore Raffles Music College, and an examiner of International Performing & Visual Arts Examination Board.