Meet the Judges: YCYW Composition Competition

Yew Chung International School of Beijing students recently took part in the Yew Chung Yew Wah (YCYW) Composition Competition. In this article, we speak to two of the judges on the panel.

 

Part 1: Why 11 Is a Magic Number

In Part 1 of ‘Meet the Judges’, we speak to Ms Lam Lai. We delve into her life as a composer and see what advice she has for YCIS Beijing students.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your experience and your background?

I work as a composer on various projects, ranging from ensembles and orchestras to theatre and electronic music. I also work with theatre directors and actors to bring their projects to the stage.

What made you decide to pursue a career as a musician?

I adore the notion that I can immerse myself in music without noticing the passing of time. It is exciting to realise that I actually compose a stream of sounds within this timeless space in my job. It is hard to resist.

Is there a memorable experience during your career that you would like to share with us?

I remember when I was still studying at music school, working on a film and the director politely asked me to recompose one of the soundtracks 11 times. Later, when I was working on my first electronic music album, one of the tracks took 11 takes as well! This number, 11, teaches me not to stop searching until I find the right sound.

What do you consider some of your most outstanding achievements and accolades?

I am grateful to have had the chance to work beyond music. I have worked with musicians and actors on my own theatre music, for example.

If you could share any advice with the participants, what would that be?   

Keep trying. Explore different sounds and approaches to your music. Take away those you don't like. Eventually, you will find the music that can truly connect with you.

Please click here to download a pdf version. 

 

Part 2: The Pursuit of Passion

In Part 2 of ‘Meet the Judges’, Mr Charles Kwong offers his insights into life as a composer.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your experience and your background?

I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I went abroad for the first time to study in England after I had completed my bachelor’s degree. After seven years of study in London and York, I moved back to Hong Kong in 2013 as a freelance composer. Since then, I have worked with many different orchestras, ensembles and musicians, both local and international.

What made you decide to pursue a career as a musician?

I always wanted to study music, to learn more about music, and always wanted to compose. Throughout my life, I have tried to find ways to carry on composing and see what happens. I could say that I am quite lucky to have had opportunities for commissions and collaborations over the years since my move back to Hong Kong. I enjoy every moment as a composer and have had no regrets because making music is a way of life that I thoroughly enjoy. I love how, as a composer, I can work with other musicians and artists to achieve something greater in music and the arts collectively.

Is there a memorable experience during your career that you would like to share with us?

I met my wife through my work as a composer!

What do you consider as your most outstanding achievements and accolades?

I would say that the precious friendships developed through my collaborations as a composer with some of the most esteemed musicians in the world. I have been following some of these musicians and listening to their work since I was a young man. Having my music performed by them was like a dream come true, but it is the great friendships and inspiration that I have gained from them as a person that has been life-changing for me.

If you could share any advice with the participants, what would that be?

If you discover composing or creativity in music is your thing or, even better, you have already developed a passion for it, do carry on pursuing your passion, regardless of what the result of a competition may tell you.

 

Please click here to download a pdf version. 

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