The concert is presented by four musicians, a soprano, an oboist, a violist and a pianist. It is essentially a Lieder (German songs) recital, but interpolated with instrumental items for coloristic variety such as oboe solo, oboe and viola duet, oboe, viola and piano trio. All the items are related to garden, what you can see and smell and feel there, the flowers, the pond, the gardener and even a mythical figure, scenes of nature and also the emotions inspired by all this. We have also selected some Chinese and Indonesian art songs – again, relating to garden – to reflect the multicultural society we live in. The concert will end with a well known song in English “Edelweiss” arranged by Chee Yean for the four instruments just for the occasion.
Soprano: Ang Mei Foong
Mei Foong’s voice was described as mellow, dulcet and soothing to the listeners. A multiple awards and scholarships winner, she was trained at the National Taiwan Normal University, Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia, and the University of Melbourne. She is now a PhD candidate from University Putra Malaysia.
As an active soloist, Mei Foong has given well received performances in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru, Rome, Melbourne, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, where she performed Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben, Gabriel Faure’s La Bonne Chanson, Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder, Aldo Finzi’s Art Songs, Alban Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder, Joseph Canteloube’s Chants d’auvergne, Handel's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Handel's Messiah, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.
In 2013, Mei Foong made her Malaysia opera debut playing the title role in Bizet's opera Carmen with the EST opera company (now known as KL City Opera, KLCO), which had been received warmly at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her other recent theatrical performances included The Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with KLCO in 2014, and both the roles Carmen and Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen with MPO in 2015; In 2016, she performed with KLCO as Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème; and most recently The First Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with MPO in Jan 2017, and Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with KLCO in Oct 2017. Mei Foong's love for contemporary music always led her to work closely with the contemporary composers. She has had vocal works composed specifically for her and dedicated to her.
While enjoying her busy performance career, she is also lecturing at UPM and serving as an active voice researcher in the field of voice rehabilitation, specifically for patients with chronic diseases.
She is also a columnist in the local Chinese press, Sin Chew Daily.
Oboe: Joost Flach
Joost graduated in 1983 from the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. His teachers were Carlo Ravelli and Han De Vries, who trained him in the Dutch style of oboe playing. During his studies, he was an oboe / cor anglais player in the Dutch National Youth Orchestra, and he freelanced occasionally in the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Pepijn Wind Ensemble.
Having lived and worked in South East Asia since 1984, Joost has been an oboist in the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and Kuala Lumpur Symphony Orchestra before he took on the Sub-Principal Oboe position in the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the years, he has made himself known to the music circle regionally, and numerous contemporary Asian composers have composed music especially for him. In addition, he has also given recitals and workshops together with an accompanying pianist in Singapore and Shanghai.
Joost is also an enthusiast in music education. He has lectured at the Institut Seni Indonesia in Jogjakarta as part of a Dutch governmental education programme and was also a music inspector and educational project officer with the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
He has conducted several community and school bands, and many of his students are now professional players or conductors. He practically founded a wind ensemble everywhere he worked - Ansamble Tiup Jogjakarta and Singapore Sling Ensemble. He has been an artistic leader of the High Winds Wind Ensemble in Kuala Lumpur for the past 9 years and during these years, he has collected an impressive and tasteful library of music for wind instruments. Experience has convinced him that performing chamber music contributes the most to the development and growth in the quality of wind players.
Viola: Jeremy Chiew
Violist Jeremy Chiew graduated with a Masters in Viola Performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College, under the tutelage of Dimitri Murrath.
A recipient of the Patricia Sherman Award, Jeremy's concerto appearances include The Chamber Players and ESO. He freelances with the Macao Orchestra, re: sound Collective, The Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO), Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO), and re:mix.
Keen to explore the mind-body connection in music-making and learning, Jeremy applies Alexander and Dalcroze techniques to his playing and teachings, and is an Associate Artiste with the Odyssey Dance Theatre. He currently coaches various secondary school string ensembles and maintains a small private teaching studio.
Jeremy curates Viva Viola, an annual concert recital since 2015 aimed at increasing awareness of this lesser-known member of the string family.
Piano: Wong Chee Yean
Chee Yean graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington in the USA, where he was under the tutelage of Mr Emile Naoumoff, who himself was a student of the great pedagogue Nadia Boulanger.
As a performer, Chee Yean has collaborated with some very fine musicians from the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in their Chamber Music Series, both as a pianist and a harpsichordist. His solo repertoire includes some of the most challenging repertoire of the 19th century such as the Liszt and the Chopin B minor Sonatas. He also frequently works with instrumentalists and singers alike, notably, with the internationally renowned clarinettist Ronald van Spandonck during his concert tour to Malaysia. In 2013, a live recording of Chee Yean’s performance of Mozart’s 25th Piano Concerto in collaboration with High Winds Ensemble in Yogjakarta was issued by Arts Music Today in Indonesia.
As a composer, though never been formally trained, two of his orchestral works, Six Sketches and Triptych, were performed by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Five of his songs for voice and piano published by Chin Yong Music Society have received their premieres in Malaysia, Singapore, China and the U.K. On Huygen’s Aria, commissioned by Joost Flach for High Winds Ensemble was published in Germany by Floricor Edition in 2010. He also arranges music for the wind ensemble on numerous occasions, one of which is the arrangement of Mozart 25th Piano Concerto with himself as the soloist, performed at the Georgetown Festival of Penang in and at the International Chamber Music Festival of Yogjakarta.