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#CODE1159 KahChun Wong on his 11:59 Moment

11 December 2019

In partnership with Audemars Piguet

By Kien Lee

Oone of the most exciting and innovative conductors of his generation, KahChun Wong came into prominence when he won the prestigious Gustav Mahler Competition in 2016, becoming the first Asian to do so.

The Singaporean then took up the position as a Conducting Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the 2016-17 season, then following an acclaimed debut with the Nuremberg Symphony, was swiftly appointed as its Chief Conductor from the 2018-19 season for the next four years.

Since making his debut in 2015, the young conductor has led orchestras in more than 20 cities across four continents, but still devotes time to share his love for classical music. For the last two years, he has performed alongside musicians from the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and students from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, in the free outdoor concert series, Beethoven Im Garten, at The Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On 10 December 2019, KahChun was conferred Germany's Order of Merit, the highest tribute for services to the country. The accolade makes him the the youngest Singaporean at 33 years old, and also the first artist from Singapore to have received this honour. Explaining the conferment, the German Embassy to Singapore praised him for his service and achievements in Singaporean-German cultural relations and the advancement of German music culture abroad.

KahChun had taken his first steps into music when he picked up the coronet at 7 upon joining the brass band of his primary school. He would go on to play the trumpet in secondary school, taking up Music as a GCE A level subject for junior college. It was during this time that he got his first exposure to a Western symphony orchestra with strings, rehearsing with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO). He would later receive free one-to-one lessons with musicians from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO).

It was then that he started to harbour thoughts about having a career in a professional orchestra.

Facing a crossroad, KahChun would take up a full scholarship from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore for his undergraduate studies. In 2011, he commenced his Masters degree program in opera and orchestral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin, Germany, after receiving the distinguished Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship.

KahChun describes classical music as his lifelong passion, adding...

"Some of the most iconic
pieces composed a century ago,
still evoke the same powerful
emotions today."

A firm believer in the power of education to inspire and uplift, KahChun has together with Marina Mahler, the granddaughter of Gustav Mahler, co-founded Project Infinitude, a grassroots initiative that encourages children to explore and enjoy music. 

"Alongside other musicians,
I see myself as a guardian of
a heritage art form that we
want to continue to pass on
to the next generations."



#CODE1159 by Audemars Piguet
Defies Expectations,
Challenges Convention:
Read Article

In this feature in partnership with Audemars Piguet's new CODE 11:59 collection, KahChun talks about his "11:59 moment", the moment before a significant event.

For him, it is that moment "when the whole orchestra resonates as one" with "a look, a gesture drawing a perfectly-timed response."

"The musicians feel it, I feel it.
We can see it in each other's eyes.
It is an indescribable feeling.

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Creative Direction: Kien Lee
Video & Photography: Munster
Second Cam: Eric Low & Werty
Crew: Andrew Teo & Aloyscious Phua
Hair & Makeup: Yuan Sng

SPECIAL THANKS
KahChun Wong
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

Explore more at kahchun.senatus.net

Find out more about Audemars Piguet CODE 11:59 at audemarspiguet.com

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