Friday, March 29, 2019

Chinese Chamber Music of Excellence - DingYi Music Company

Chinese orchestra or 華樂 has been around for a long time, providing musical entertainment since ancient times.  Decades ago the modern Chinese orchestra was "born".  Much akin to the Western orchestra, Chinese orchestra is also made up of different sections - percussion, bow strings, plucked strings and wind, the combination of these musical instruments enables the musicians to perform either the traditional/modernized Chinese orchestral music or adaptions of Western orchestra pieces.  Uniquely to Singapore, we have heard contemporary songs being played by our Chinese orchestra groups.

Chinese chamber music is similar to Chinese orchestra only it is of smaller scale, but lesser musicians does not mean their performance will be compromised.  An excellent group will be able to perform any piece of music that will stir and excite the audience just like a full scale orchestra.

We were first introduced to one of the Chinese chamber music group - DingYi Music Company in 2016.  They approached a group of bloggers to help to spread awareness of their annual Of Music Series performance, where they push the boundaries of Chinese chamber music to showcase the harmonies between different art formsOf Music Series integrate music with famous but neglected Singapore landmarks and trades.

Since then we have been captivated by their unique performing style and we have been attending their concert or performance whenever we are able to.  They have never disappoint us with their ingenious music composition to bring us a different musical experience every single time.

Earlier this year, DinoBoy showed an interest in them and have requested me to bring him to more of their concerts.  I definitely will do so!  And this time I think it is time to introduce him to the other side of Chinese orchestra, the traditional side.  He is looking forward to the Masterpieces by Peng Wenxiu concert in April 2019 (scroll down to see details of this concert).

And if you want to introduce to Chinese orchestra, chamber music, Chinese musical instrument and music, you should start them off with DingYi simply because their performance are never dull and is always intriguing enough to arouse interest from the young mind.

I never did a post performance blog post (opps!), mostly on our instagram or facebook.  I thought I should document those wonderful time spent with DingYi.  Here goes~

*** *** *** *** ***
Of Music and Art . The Legend Retold - Sisters' Island
DingYi presents the first Chinese chamber music collaboration with sand arts and Javanese dance to bring the audience to the folklore of Singapore's Sister's Island.

Together with Javanese dancer Mr Garrett Kam and sand artist Mr Lawrence Koh, they transported audience to the shores of Sisters’ Islands to relive the tale of the two fateful sisters.  Photos and videos of Sisters’ Islands was also incorporated for an immersive experience.

The concert showcase a new arrangement of the award winning composition “The Sisters’ Islands” by young Singapore composer, Wang Chen Wei.

Sadly, we didn't managed to catch the concert because I was feeling under the weather but according to my other blogging mummies, it was a superb performance which both they and their kids enjoyed immensely.

We did however attended the exclusive workshop by DingYi where we got up close and personal with 3 of their musicians and Mr Garette Kam.  DingYi musicians did an introduction of their musical instruments and a short solo performance while Mr Kam shared some of the Javanese dance moves.

The expressive Javanese dance is usually slow with graceful movements, as you can see from the video below.  Mr Kam taught us the dance movement of the whale, seaweed, seabird and some simple dance steps.  It was such a joyous and eye opening experience for all.

Songs of the Dragon Kiln
DingYi Music Company and Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle came together to present to the audience another unique performance to pay tribute to one of Singapore's dying trade, the wood fired pottery using a dragon kiln.

This multidisciplinary concert featured music composed by Singaporean composer and National Arts Council Youth Artist award recipient Dr Zechariah Goh Toh Chai, documentary film by David Yap and ceramics by Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle.

Accompanied by the nostalgia and some what sad scores were a series of documentaries, starting with a little bit of introduction on Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle which was followed by sharing the history of pottery, the structure of the dragon kiln and the most intrigue part - the rituals & procedures in firing up the dragon kiln.

We were so memorized by it that I told DinoBoy that we gotta see it with our own eyes, which we did months later (will share post link here later).  It is even more captivating to see the firing process in real life, the intense heat, the labour of adding the wood at the right moment with the right amount,  I was really a priceless experience which both of us will never forget.

DingYi musicians used some ceramic pots and cups made by Thow Kwang Pottery as instruments during their performance too. The audience were also invited to play a tune with DingYi musicians with the several ceramic pots, plates and bowls you see in the photo below.





Video credit - DingYi Music Company

Of Music and Photography . Bridge
This performance brings our attention to our bridges, six of them in fact., namely the overhead bridge we see so commonly in Singapore, then there were the iconic bridges at Anderson, Causeway, Sugei Road, Changi Footbridge and Helix at Marina Bay.

DingYi performed music composed by Chen Zhangyi, Chong Kee Yong, Phang Kok Jun, Simon Kong, Syafiqah ‘Adha Mohamed Sallehin and Yuan Peiying, each piece representing one of the bridge.

Photography works by Andrew Bi Qiang, Lee Leng Kiong and Lui Hock Seng features the bridges and the daily activities around the bridges.

As I closed my eyes and listen to the music pieces, I could resonate it with my memories of a couple of the bridges, especially the hustle n bustle of the Sungei Road Flea market.  

Time for Opera! Monkey King
Time for Opera! – Monkey King sees DingYi working together with Chinese Opera Traditional Arts Centre and Indian dance Bhaskar’s Arts Academy to bring us a unique and awesome performance for all ages.

This program is presented by National Arts Council and Our Tampines Hub as part of Festive Arts @ Our Tampines Hub, part of the NAC’s Arts and Culture Nodes initiative which aims to bring people together to participate and enjoy arts in the neighbourhood.

Think of Monkey God we only know the famous Sun Wu Kong 孙悟空 but in Hindu mythology there is also a Monkey God known as Hanuman.  Like our Sun Wu Kong, Hanuman was a handful and created trouble in both the human and deity world too.

Time of Opera! presented to us the traditional Chinese and Indian musical drama that has been around for centuries.  The younger generations probably do not know much about them and it probably stirred some interest in the dance.  Great performance from Chinese Opera Traditional Arts Centre and Indian dance Bhaskar’s Arts Academy!

Watching the performance brought back fond memories of my younger days where I will sit in front of the then black & white TV with my grandmother.  We will enjoy an afternoon at each other's company watching an hour or two of either the Chinese opera or Indian dance show.  Even though I didn't understand a word that was being sang Chinese opera, their exaggerated painted face with their acrobatic stunts captured my attention.   

Arts in Your Neighbourhood - Music on the Move
Arts in Your Neighbourhood is an initiative by National Arts Council with the aim of bringing engaging arts experience to different neighbourhood in Singapore in the month of November and March. You can expect a month long of fun, interactive and enriching art experiences such as music and dance, theater and visual art, there is something for everyone!

This March, Arts in Your Neighbourhood was in Tampines, once home to sand quarries, prowling tigers, and coconut plantations.

DingYi heads out to Tampines in their musical truck with a pop up stage to present another great performance to the residents.  

Prior to this performance, a group of Tampines residents together with historian, composer and students from Temasek Junior College (Info Club) took a trip around Tampines to take in the sights and sound of their neighbourhood for the composition Sounds of Tampines.  Photos taken by Temasek Junior Colleage (Info Club) was shown on the big screen while storyteller 

While Historian and Storyteller Mr Lee Lok Leong and Mr Lee Yong Tick shared the audience about the history of Tampines, its folklore, the hidden beauty of this neighbourhood etc, photos taken by Temasek Junior Colleage (Info Club) was shown on the big screen.

I didn't record the performance of that musical piece that day, because I didn't managed to catch the opening part, hope it will be available for every one to enjoy some where in near future.

I did record Ding Yi and students from Temasek Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra performing the theme song of one of our earlier TV drama series 红头巾. (Spot the VIP and students from Temasek Junior College (Info Club) in the video)

We went down on both weekends and we saw how much joy they brought to the audience, especially when they invited them to sing along to the tune 往事只能回味.  Different group of audience on both days, different ambiance and interaction but maximum enjoyment for all!

DingYi 2019 Special Season Pass

This year, as an appreciation to all the support they received, the Ding art group launch the special season pass.

Enjoy up to 30% discount over DingYi Music Company's regular concert ticket pricing, the Season Pass entitles you to watch three different Ding Yi presented ticketed concerts of your choice!

DING YI 2019 SPECIAL SEASON PASS is a special limited package, grab yours today! Promotion lasts for three months and ends on 13 May 2019.

Grab the season pass here.

Upcoming Performance

Demonstrating the dynamic characteristics of Chinese bamboo instruments dizi, sheng and the versatility of Chinese percussion, this is an energetic chamber performance led by Ding Yi Music Company's virtuosos Ng Hsien Han, Soh Swee Kiat and Low Yik Hang, while performing your favourite Chinese classics. For its finale, the talented trio will also be premiering The Grass - a specially commissioned work by renowned composer Wang Jue.

Purchase tickets to this performance here.

Peng Xiuwen, one of the prominent and notable figures in the development of the Chinese music scene. This concert revisits some of his masterworks, showcasing the artistic prowess of renowned Chinese music husband and wife duo, yangqin virtuoso Zhang Gao Xiang and huqin doyenne Jiang Ke Mei, and reputable huqin musician Xu Wen Jing; with special percussion solo by Ding Yi conductor Quek Ling Kiong in the piece Harvest Drums

Purchase tickets to this performance here.

About Ding Yi
Established in 2007, Ding Yi is Singapore’s most prodigious Chinese chamber music ensembles. The ensemble has captivated audiences with its distinctive approach to music making and dedication to showcasing a vast repertoire that ranges from traditional Chinese music to contemporary interpretations and cross-genre works, and collaborated with prominent Chinese musicians including Min Huifen and Lu Chunling in many concerts, receiving accolades from critics and audiences alike.

Since emerging first at the National Chinese Music Competition organised by the National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore in 2008, Ding Yi continues to advocate and promote its unique Singapore sound – Ding Yi Chinese chamber music locally and overseas, such as China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Uzbekistan. Ding Yi is also a proud recipient of the NAC Major Company Scheme in 2016. 

For more information, please visit their facebook page or website.

*** *** *** *** ***

Giveaway Details
Prize : 2 pairs of tickets to Dingyi Music Company's Masterpieces by Peng Xiuwen
Contest Ends : 12 April 2019 @ 2359hrs
Open : Singapore
How to Enter :
By doing all the required steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and conditions of giveaway are as follow:
- Tickets are non transferable nor exchange for cash.
- Tickets are for specific the concert date and cannot be changed (anyway it is only ONE performance)
- To avoid being disqualified without prior notice for the giveaway, please read carefully the following and fulfill ALL the requirements stated.
- Prizes are non transferable nor exchange for cash.
- Winners will be picked based on correct answer and fulfillment of all giveaway criteria stipulated in the Rafflecopter widget.
- Please ensure that your shared post is set to PUBLIC, if I did not LIKE your shared post means it is not set to PUBLIC, thus you will lose your chance to join the giveaway.
- Winners will be notified via email, please ensure you have provided a valid email.
- Winners will have 24 hours to respond by replying to our notification otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- Prizes will be given out by sponsor.
- Only one winner per household.
- This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer : Since we are writing this post, we approached DingYi Music Company to sponsor tickets for our giveaway to let some of you have a chance to experience and enjoy their performance, no other compensation were received. The opinions in this post are 100% ours. Unless otherwise stated, all photos & videos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily,, you may not take it for personal use without permission.

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing! Chinese orchestra is really nice for kids.