Live audition for budding pianists


LONDON: INTERNATIONAL concert pianist Bobby Chen is going back to Malaysia once again in search of young talents for his Overseas Malaysian/Masters Winter Piano Academy (OMWPA).

One participant will be offered a partial scholarship this year

Chen will conduct auditions from Aug 15 to 17 at Istana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

He is looking for music lovers aged between 10 and 22 year, for the chance to study under some of the best teachers in the field, while staying at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

This year’s academy will run from Dec 13 to 23.

“This is a chance for young piano virtuosos to benefit from top-class musical teaching and concerts in a non-competitive musical environment overseas, and be inspired to bring their learning back home.”

The academy, held once every two years, was founded by Chen in 2010, at his alma mater, the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, where he studied in 1991 and rose to become an accomplished pianist playing in concert halls all over the world.

The closing date for the live auditions is Aug 1, and application forms can be obtained by emailing to

Chen, who is keen to seek out talents from all ethnic groups in the country, said the academy offered a special programme for young Malaysian piano talents to broaden their musical knowledge, and nurture their creativity in the performing and composing arts.

“The students will receive one-to-one piano lessons, improvisation, composition and chamber music classes, as well as outstanding performances and London cultural outings.

“At the end of the one week- experience, the academy will culminate in a gala performance.”

Tutors at the OMWPA will include professors from the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Chethams School of Music and University of Surrey.

So far, 58 young talents had benefited from this opportunity, with some venturing out to further their studies in music at the UK’s Royal College of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Birmingham Conservatoire, Vienna’s Praynor Konservatorium, Taipei National University of the Arts and Wooster College, to name a few.

“Some have won or achieved placings at the Steinway & Sons Malaysian Youth Piano Competition, the Hong Kong (Asia-Pacific) Piano Competition, the Asean-Japan Young Musicians Competition and the Asia Piano Competition, among others,” said Chen.\

He said one brilliant student even performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York.

Participants at the OMPWA will be provided with, among others, one-to-one piano lessons; group classes, which include composition, improvisation, chamber music, conducting, sight-reading and memorisation and evening lectures as well as attending concerts.

At the end of the programme, each student has to perform on a full-size concert grand piano at the Menuhin Hall.