Vincent Tan, Principal Euphonium

MUSIC IS… Part and parcel of peoples’ daily lives. You could be creating it, you could be a fan of a certain genre of music or you could be plugging in to your headset because you are bored travelling on our “First Class Singapore Transport”. Moreover, music is an art form that is extremely powerful. It can stir up emotions within a person and speaks well with people from all walks of life.

MUSIC REALLY BEGAN FOR ME… When I started playing the Baritone in Fuchun Primary School Brass Band at the age of 10. I initially played the Baritone instead of the Euphonium in the beginning because it was smaller. To be honest, I would have picked something smaller. Unfortunately, I did not have a choice, and was eventually moved to playing the Euphonium. And I have been playing one ever since.

MY CURRENT INSTRUMENT IS… Is a Besson Prestige 2052 with a Denis Wick SM4X. If you don’t know what the Euphonium is, it’s actually derived from a Greek word call “euphonos” which in English means ‘Unemployable’. Yes, I am kidding. No, you can’t say that to other Euphers unless you play euphonium too because its rude! 

IF I HAD THE CHOICE TO PLAY ANOTHER INSTRUMENT… Well, this is a tough one… There are many instruments that I would love to play, so if I am to put it down as my ultimate dream it is going to be bagpipes! Though I’m pretty sure I’ll not have any more neighbours if I were to really play it! 

IN MY SPARE TIME… I cook. In the past year, I have really developed a real interest in culinary. So, I’ve been cooking pretty often, from simple dinners to family parties to romantic dinners for two. I also play quite a bit of DOTA 2. Besides that I follow Liverpool F.C. quite closely.

OTHER THAN MUSIC… I would probably set up a café or bistro.

MUSICIANS TODAY… Are lucky to have more exposure from YouTube, DVDs and the Internet. For example, you can listen to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra via their Digital Concert Hall. There are recorded performances of superstar soloists on YouTube. You can even get in touch with them through email or Facebook now. 

MY INSPIRATIONS ARE… Actually I have many inspirations for different things that I do. For my musical inspiration, it has got to be Steven Mead. He made me realise the huge potential of the Euphonium, through his virtuosity and beautiful sound. He has also commissioned more than 150 new Euphonium works and has raised the Euphonium up to a whole new level which made it possible for students to study Euphonium in music colleges.

THE MOST CHALLENGING… This is playing the Euphonium. On top of the difficulty in mastering any single instrument, Euphonium is one of the more uncommon instruments. It’s a constant struggle for the Euphonium and Euphonium players themselves to be taken as serious musicians. Furthering studies on the euphonium can also be a huge challenge, as certain institutions do not provide such an option.

I think the future of music in Singapore has a lot of potential. We have recently seen our local composers writing music premiered by world-class musicians. Of course, other factors will also affect the music scene in Singapore. I think there are 4 crucial points that will make the music scene in Singapore more vibrant.

1. A passion for music from within
2. A pro Arts &Culture education system 
3. Supportive family
4. Local music inspirations (Certain musician or bands)

I think that once these 4 points are present, we are set for a very exciting time in Singapore.

*Published 28 February 2014.