12-Year Old Young Talent Won The Grand Prize at the 5th Steinway Youth Piano Competition: Playing From Home Edition - Steinway Gallery Singapore

1 June 2020, Monday –

A 12-year old young talent and six other young piano students topped the Grand Finals of the Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2020: Playing from Home Edition which was held last Saturday.

Grand Prize winner Goh Kai Cheng who won first prize in Category 2 of the Professional Class of the competition will represent Singapore in the Regional Finals of the competition scheduled to be held later this year.  He will be joining seven other finalists from Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, who will compete to represent these Asian nations in the International Steinway Festival in Hamburg, Germany. The winner of the Regional Finals will have the honor of representing Southeast Asia as a performer at the International Steinway Festival 2020 in Hamburg.

The other two First Prize winners in the Professional Class are:

17-year old, Jarell Tang from Category 3

11-year old Choi Duan Li Danelle from category 1

Said well-known composer Mr. Bernard Tan on behalf of the panel of adjudicators which comprised renowned musicians in Singapore: “On behalf of the panel, it has been an honor and pleasure for all of us to listen to so many young talents in one day. This year’s Steinway Youth Piano Competition has indeed been an unusual one that is, being one that is live streamed entirely from the homes of the participants and the whole competition being run remotely from all our homes during this Covid-19 Circuit Breaker.

“I must highly commend Steinway Gallery Singapore for its daring and initiative in going ahead with this year’s Youth Piano Competition despite the unprecedented Circuit Breaker conditions.  This may well set a pioneering example for how live music can take place in such difficult conditions! It takes courage for the organizer to execute this and it takes a lot of daring and perseverance on part of the young talents and their families to perform.”

“The level of playing has been high throughout and making decisions as to who should be first, second or third had not been easy.  For the participants to take part under such new and challenging circumstances and to deliver such fluent performances already testifies to each participant to be a winner in his or her own right and testament to the resilience of Singapore’s young. We hope this experience will remain with each of them and hope that each one of them will grow from it as they will be the future of our music scene. “

The other adjudicators were composer-pianist Dr John Sharpley and well-known piano educator and pianist Mr. Frank DeMeglio for the Professional Class while Dr Lee Pei Ming joined the three to be the fourth adjudicator in the Amateur Class only.

The Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2020: Playing From Home which is organized by Steinway Gallery Singapore saw several firsts for the competition.

This was the first time for Singapore and for Southeast Asia that an Amateur class was introduced to the competition. The inaugural Amateur Class was for young talents who enjoy playing the piano for leisure but wish to have a formal recognition of their progress in their musical journey.

The competition was also possibly the first time, probably anywhere around the world, a piano competition was held entirely live streamed. During this period of the Circuit Breaker, the organizers wished to continue the music making and create a platform for Singapore’s many young talents to share their music to listeners around the world.

Through the live steam format which allowed viewers from Singapore and anywhere in the world to watch, this special edition had sought to remain true to the competition’s long-standing philosophy of “Taking you places you have never been”.

From 18th May to 21st May, 83 participants played from their homes at the Heats of the Amateur class to compete for 20 places in the Grand Finals while the 12 finalists for the professional class were selected from 33 entries at a taped audition in February.

Grand Prize winner, Goh Kai Cheng who won first prize in Category 2 of the Professional Class.

Says Goh Kai Cheng, the grand prize winner, “I am honored to be selected as the grand prize winner among the many talented pianists taking part in the competition and will strive for my best to bring glory to Singapore in the Regional Finals! I would like to thank Steinway for organizing this wonderful event, as well as my teacher, Dr Lee Pei Ming, for her patient guidance.

The Youngest First Prize Winner from Amateur Class Category 1, Yanlin Xiao

The competition was equally memorable for six-year-old Yanlin Xiao who topped Category 1 of the Amateur Class. Says Yanlin Xiao, the first prize winner, “Life with music is a long journey through a fairyland, and this competition is a wonderful lap for me. I would like to thank Steinway for organizing such a great event in this usual time, and my piano teacher, Dr. Wu Yang, for her endless guidance and inspiration.”

Said Ms Celine Goh, Chairlady of the competition and general manager of Steinway Gallery Singapore:  “I’m very proud of all the contestants and their families who took the courage to continue their participation after we’ve announced the change of the competition format to one that will be entirely live streamed from their homes. This requires additional efforts in making sure that their performances from home are well transmitted despite the limitation of their resources at home and the movement restrictions due to the Circuit Breaker measures. In this, we were heartened to see how every family was committed to assist and to ensure optimal conditions for the student.”

“I’m convinced that this new live-stream format would be a big value-add in future editions of the competition. The feedback on social media has been positive, especially in the voting for the audience’s favorite performer. Such platforms allow our budding talents to be seen and heard by people who usually may not attend a piano competition in a concert hall.