Lynnette Seah

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Lynnette Seah
佘美幸
Birth nameSeah Mei Tsing
(Chinese: 佘美幸; pinyin: Shé Měixìng)
Born1957 (age 64–65)
Singapore
GenresClassical
Occupation(s)violinist, concertmistress
Instrument(s)Violin

Lynnette Seah Mei Tsing (Chinese: 佘美幸; pinyin: Shé Měixìng) is an internationally acclaimed Singaporean violinist serving as co-leader of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO).[1][2] She also received the Cultural Medallion for Music in 2006.[3]

Early life[edit]

Seah began her formal music training on the piano with her mother Lau Biau Chin, when she was five. She started the violin at the age of six with Goh Soon Tioe and later with Alphonso Anthony, a professional violin teacher.[4] Seah won scholarships that included one to the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan USA when she was twelve. She was also awarded the Outstanding Young Musicians Award for being the youngest member of the World Youth Orchestra. When she was 15, Seah was appointed as Associate Concertmaster of the Bishop Symphony Orchestra at the International Music Camp in Adelaide, Australia. That same year she represented Singapore in the Southeast Asian Violin Competition, and won a scholarship to study at the Hannover Hochschule for Music in Germany.[5] Renowned violin teachers she had worked with included David Mankowitz of Toronto, Prof. Friedrich von Hausegger of Hannover,[6] Prof. Karel Sneberger of Prague, Yfrah Neaman of London[5] and Dorothy DeLay of New York.[5]

Musical career[edit]

At 21, Seah started teaching piano and violin to children with the Yamaha music school teaching piano and violin to children.

When the SSO was set up in 1979, Seah applied for a position with the group and became a full-time performer – the only full-time staff of the arts group. Two days before the inaugural concert of the SSO, Musical Director Choo Hoey approached Seah to be the concertmaster of the upcoming performance, leading the first violin section and taking charge of the technical aspects of the orchestra's music making for SSO's first concert.[2]

As a soloist, Seah has performed with various orchestras around the world, such as the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra], Gstaad Menuhin Festival Orchestra, Orebro Chamber Orchestra, Teplice Symphony Orchestra, and Zurich Symphony Orchestra. Seah has also played in many festivals, which include the Bergen International Festival, Singapore Arts Festival and the Swiss Festival.

Having a wide range of repertoire, Seah has performed almost every concerto in the standard repertoire. Other than that, she enjoys performing contemporary works like Bernard Tan's Violin Concerto, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao's Violin Concerto "The Butterfly Lovers" or Alfred Schnittke's Moz-Art à la Haydn. In 2005, Seah commissioned Singaporean composer Bernard Tan to compose a concerto, Violin Concerto, dedicated to her.[7] The concerto premiered on 7 January 2006 at Singapore's Esplanade Concert Hall by Seah herself with the SSO with Chinese-American conductor Lan Shui.[7]

Also an active recitalist, Seah has given solo recitals around the world. Seah is also active in the chamber music scene. She is the leader and founder of the Jade String Quartet,[8] one of the few professional chamber music groups in Singapore.

In April 1996, Seah was invited to represent Singapore in the World Philharmonic Orchestra at Bangkok, Thailand, for the King's 50th Anniversary of his ascension under the baton of Maestro Myung-Whun Chung. She was appointed as assistant concertmaster then. In June 2006, Seah once again represented Singapore as assistant concertmaster in the World Philharmonic Orchestra at Paris, France. Other than being concertmaster of the World Philharmonic Orchestra, Seah has appeared regularly as guest concertmaster with leading orchestras around Asia.

Seah is a founding member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and is one of the two remaining pioneer musicians who have witnessed the growth of the orchestra since its inception in 1979. Seah is widely recognised by her colleagues for her professionalism and musicality. She is also looked upon as a mentor and role model.

Seah (center)

Other than being a soloist or a concertmaster, Seah is also a member of the Advisory Committee for the "Violin Loan Scheme", a scheme by the Singapore National Arts Council. Seah has a great passion in music education. She has shared her experience generously with young talents by giving masterclasses in conservatories or music institutions regularly. She is a member of the Singapore's Education Ministry's Arts Education Committee, which oversees various arts institutions such as the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and the LASALLE College of the Arts.

In 1997, the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore conferred on Seah the Excellence Award in recognition of her contribution to Singapore's classical music scene. In 2006, Seah was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Music of 2006, which is the highest award for arts in Singapore.

Seah has appeared as guest on both TV and radio programmes. Singapore's Mediacorp Channel News Asia has made a documentary on Seah's musical life, entitled Inspir' Asia. This documentary is regularly broadcast on TV throughout Asia.

Seah plays on a 1750 Giovanni Battista Gabrielli's violin.[9]

Seah intends to apply for the Cultural Medallion Grant, which is then $80,000, to develop young talents and promote the love and art of playing classical music. "The Arts Grant is going to be very important to me because it gives me the platform to launch into the next phase of my artistic growth, which is to give back to the young," she says. She expresses that she would like to see more young talents develop in the right direction by helping them to cultivate their love for playing music. "I'd like to sponsor, give them master classes, to make sure that they have the right technique or being fed the right development from the technique as well as musicality," she adds.

Award[edit]

In 2006, SSO nominated Seah for the Cultural Medallion for Music of 2006. She was later informed by the SSO that she was awarded the cultural award.[10] On 20 October, Seah received the award from the President of Singapore, S R Nathan at the Istana. She performed Bach's Partita No.3 and Elgar's Salut d'Amour during the award ceremony.

"This is a big milestone for classical musicians like myself, who've actually been training and dedicating and sacrificing my entire life, since childhood, towards this classical art form. I hope with this award, there'll be more awareness of classical music." —Lynnette Seah

Personal life[edit]

Seah was married to Hans Simon and later divorced.[11] They have two sons, Maurice and Andre.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yap, Stephanie (22 January 2009). "Classic act". Straits Times Life!. p. 3.
  2. ^ a b Yap, Stephanie (19 January 2009). "Take a bow". Straits Times.
  3. ^ Chow, Clara (21 October 2006). "SSO co-leader, versatile artist get highest award for the arts". The Straits Times.
  4. ^ "Lynnette Seah wins Cultural Medallion, Singapore's highest accolade in the arts" (PDF). Bravissimo!. Singapore Symphony Orchestra. 8 (1). January 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b c ""文化奖"得主佘美幸陈楚智 不言倦不知足". Lianhe Zaobao (in Chinese (Singapore)). 21 October 2006. p. 34.
  6. ^ "小提琴手佘美幸 由德国学成归来". eresources.nlb.gov.sg (in Chinese (Singapore)). Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Bernard Tan (陈 忠 义): The Science of Music" (PDF). National Library Board. p. 5.
  8. ^ "SSO 30th Anniversary Concert" (PDF).
  9. ^ "An Artist's Journey by Lynnette Seah - In Response to Chua Mia Tee: Directing the Real".
  10. ^ "The Great Artists". The Living Room. 23 October 2006. Mediacorp. 938LIVE!.
  11. ^ "Lynnette Seah | Infopedia". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Lynette takes on a new name and a hectic schedule". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 30 March 2022.

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