Music

Me playing a piece for a friend's birthday party

As the firstborn son, my parents didn't actually consider sending me to music classes. The idea of learning the piano (the first ever musical instrument I know of) came when my parents were inquiring music lessons for my sister in a music school. They thought that a girl would be more suitable to learn the elegant instrument, but as a curious eight year old I immediately pestered them to go for these lessons. As far as I could remember, I was mainly curious about the instrument, than being interested in learning it.

Piano Concerto in G by Ravel, performed by Helene Grimaud, at the Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor

That incident has since changed and affected me to be the person I am today. I took piano lessons for more than 10 years, which I grew to love the instrument, and classical music as well. In that period, I went from being stubbornly reluctant to passionately eager to practice and learn the instrument. Thanks to my parents' and teacher's unwavering commitment in ensuring that I do my daily bit of practice, I have managed to become a slightly-better-than-average piano player who has the ability to tackle challenging pieces without the talent to master them. Despite that, I still love classical music a lot (and to play them myself especially), discovering glimpses of its magnificence every once in a while. My second favourite music genre would be jazz, and blues would be right after that.

Draft of 'First Fall' - my first composition project

Nowadays, I still have the habit of practicing the piano, which to me is more of a hobby and a stress reliever than a chore. I also like attending classical music concerts, operas and plays, which are of an abundance in the United States. I was a LSA Music Minor at the University of Michigan, which I had the pleasure of learning from brilliant professors and instructors, many of which are rather well known. I took mainly composition and musicology courses, since the idea of performing daunted me, which I enjoyed immensely.

Projects

  • Canon in Threes Ter-Lemas

    This work was written for the Malaysia Midwest Games Closing Ceremony - Midwest Night's opening performance. Using the theme of Johann Pachabel's Canon in D, I made a medley with some waltzy motives that combined the crowd-favourite tune with a Malay '90s hit pop song for the flute, alto saxophone, piano, two violins, and a drum. Due to my lack of knowledge in composing for the drum, the drum parts were instructed verbally instead with much involvement of the player's creativity.

  • Dark Chocolate Dance

    This was my end-of-semester project in my first composition course, where we had to have our compositions performed, either by ourselves or by other musicians. I wrote this piece primarily to dedicate it to a person that I admired then, who is a great dancer. The harp and tenor saxophone was chosen as my two other voices in this project because I could only find a harpist and a saxist to perform with me.

  • Melody for Piano and Violin

    This was my very first proper attempt in composition. Composed as my mid-semester project, I wrote this simple piece with much effort in attempting counterpoint melodies, which was the main goal of the project. I didn't have a title for it, but called it 'First Fall' when asked to by my professor, only because it was my very first fall semester at the University of Michigan.

  • Sports & Outdoor Activities

    As mentioned in my background section under my profile, I grew up with minimal exposure to electronic entertainment, due to my father's doctrine of the goodness of the outdoors. And so, I busied myself with sports or whatever kinds of outdoor activities I could find as my hobby.

    At the 'Big House', the 3rd largest stadium in the world (also my university's stadium) catching Manchester United vs Real Madrid

    My favourite sport is football, a.k.a. soccer by my American friends, which I still do play almost once every week today. Football was one of the earliest sports I tried, and exposure to football matches on the TV intensified my passion for the sport. But being an organized team sport, I resort to playing tennis often when it was hard to find football buddies. I also enjoy swimming a lot, which gives me a sense of empowerment.

    Perhentian Island, on the east coast of Penisular Malaysia

    Being an outdoor person, I love sceneries of isolated tranquil, which I get to enjoy often when I go hiking or travelling. I appreciate the greatness of the natural world immensely, and am a big fan of beaches and national parks.