Created during the pandemic, Unboxing New Music is a digital in conversation programme that explores new music from this part of the world, and to gather some of the finest composers and performers from Singapore and Asia to chat about their lives, inspiration and their music.
A special Unboxing New Music edition, Sounds of Asia is a full-length digital concert which celebrates the rich diversity of Asian composers, including established Malaysian composer Yii Kah Hoe; storied Korean composer Isang Yun; Canadian composer Claude Vivier; and award-winning Singaporean composer Koh Cheng Jin. It also launches the newly-minted Singaporean group, Ensemble Æquilibrium.
About the group
This Video on Demand (VOD) is a digital concert, specially recorded for SIFA v2.020.
Lien Boon Hua
Lien Boon Hua is a founding member of Ensemble Æquilibrium and a prizewinner of numerous international conducting competitions. He also leads OpusNovus, the contemporary music ensemble at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore and is featured on the 2019/20 Peter Eötvös Foundation Mentoring Program. From 2016 to 2018, Lien served as the Assistant Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice and was also Assistant Conductor to the Richard-Strauss-Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2018. During the recent COVID times, he started Unboxing New Music, a live online interview series with composers and musicians in South-East Asia aimed at promoting contemporary music.
Bertram Wee (b. 1992) is a composer-performer whose work explores the limits of physicality and the notion of information overload in creating sonic experiences that prioritize visceral intensity and immediacy.
Described as “a name to watch” (The Straits Times, Singapore), his music has been performed internationally at events and festivals such as the BBC Proms, Ultraschall Berlin, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, inTRANSIT Festival, Bloomsbury Festival, Asian Composers League (ACL) Festival and Conference, WMC Kerkrade Festival and Thailand International Composers Festival (TICF), among others. Awards include the British Composer Awards Student Composition prize, TICF Rapee Sagarik Composition Prize and ACL Young Composers Prize.
As a pianist for various new-music projects, he performs most notably with the award-winning B-L Piano Duo. Hailed as “two truly virtuoso players performing death-defying pianistic feats in tandem and with such apparent ease” (The Straits Times, Singapore), they have worked with living legends as diverse as David Lang and Michael Finnissy on their music - furthermore, they have also been privileged to give the premieres of several new works written for them. They were winners of the prestigious Royal Over-Seas League Competition (Ensemble Category) in London in 2017.
Carolin Ralser studied music performance (flute), music education, chamber music and contemporary music at the Kunstuniversität Graz, mdw Vienna, Hochschule für Music Freiburg & Hochschule für Musik Frankfurt am Main and completed all her bachelor and master studies with distinction.
Carolin received various grants and scholarships, e.g. from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Frankfurt/Main. She is a first prize winner of the International flute competition Friedrich Kuhlau (Germany) and former principal flute player of Guiyang Symphony Orchestra. As a dedicated performer of contemporary and classical music, she performed at festivals such as Salzburg Festival, Transart Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Manifeste at IRCAM/Paris, Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik & Festival Royaumont as a member and guest musician of various orchestras and ensembles such as the Ensemble Modern.
Carolin is currently a faculty member of School of the Arts Singapore and artist faculty at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.
Singaporean violist, Christoven Tan, is a contemporary artist with a passion for constant redefinition of viola performance and the artist, himself. He actively performs in solos, ensembles, orchestras in public and commercial galleries and artist-run spaces in London, Lithuania, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Spain and Singapore. Christoven served as Artist-in-Residency at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts(AUS) in 2018. Christoven has commissioned works from composers Siting Jiang, Goh Toh Chai, Alicia Joyce de Silva and Kelly Tang. Christoven can be heard on BBC radio 3 in the recording of Hymnen II by Stockhousen with the London Sinfonietta. Christoven has also released his single Viola Viola by George Benjamin on Spotify as a solo artist. It is his focus to make new works of the viola relevant, played to the widest range of audience.
Christoven Tan is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Music and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. His principal teachers included Garth Knox, Mgr. Jiri Heger, Michelle Li Min Zhe and Volker Hartung, Jon Thorne and Paul Silverthorne. Christoven is a recipient of the Trailblazer Foundation.
2020, Christoven will be focusing on independent projects and touring Iceland and Norway.
Daniel Yiau is currently based in Singapore, having studied Wind/Brass band conducting in the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Sibelius Academy under the tutelage of Jan Schut and Petri Komulainen. Daniel also minored in Bass Clarinet with Erik van Deuren and Heikki Nikula whilst in Amsterdam, and Helsinki, having premiered numerous works while living in Europe.
As an active performer, Daniel plays all ranges of clarinets, and has performed in various iconic performance venues across continents, mainly championing music written for the Bass Clarinet, and auxiliary clarinets. Daniel is currently Clarinetist of K口U, a mixed instrumental quartet, and dBm, a Clarinet-Saxophone duo with Michellina Chan.
A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London (UK), Fontane also obtained her Master’s in Music Therapy and held a Fellowship at GSMD from 2011-2012. She is currently Harpist of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO).
She has garnered international accolades including winning a place on the London Sinfonietta Academy, Pacific Music Festival and in the 2009 Franz Josef Reinl Competition. International performances have taken her from Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and Hanoi’s Opera House to London’s Royal Albert Hall and Royal Opera House.
In demand as a chamber and orchestral musician, Fontane splits her time between Asia and Europe. She appears regularly with highly acclaimed contemporary music groups Riot Ensemble and Octandre Ensemble (UK), appearing on BBC Radio 3. Fontane has trialled for Principal harpist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and performed with London Sinfonietta, LSO Chamber Ensemble, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Germany’s Musik Fabrik.
Fontane’s ability to engage the masses across a variety of styles makes her unique as a solo artist. Recent concerto appearances include Hanoi Opera House in 2018 and Debussy Danses with the SCO in 2019.
Martin Jaggi was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1978. He studied cello and composition in Basel, Zurich and Hamburg with Reinhard Latzko and Walter Grimmer (cello) and Rudolf Kelterborn, Detlev Müller-Siemens and Manfred Stahnke (composition) as well as chamber music with the Trio del Trieste in Duino (Italy).
From 2000 until 2013, he was a member of the piano quartet Mondrian Ensemble which he cofounded and with whom he won several prices. Martin Jaggi is a member of the Ensemble Phoenix Basel and a principal cellist of the Basel sinfonietta. As a chamber musician and soloist, he has performed in many festivals and concert halls in over 30 countries.
As a composer, Martin Jaggi has received commissions from many orchestras, chamber ensembles and festivals. A.o. the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Collegium Novum Zurich, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Austrian Ensemble for New Music, the Festival Archipel Geneva and the Donaueschinger Musiktage. His works have been played in many European and Asian countries as well as in Argentina, Mexico, the USA, Canada, Israel and South Africa.
Since 2014, Martin Jaggi lives with his family in Singapore and lectures on contemporary music and composition at the YSTCM. He commutes regularly between Europe and Asia.