MAN WITH A MISSION: Pianist Wang Congyu is this year's first Young Steinway Artist. He says he now has a job to promote classical music to the people who don't know about the art form.
PHOTO: STEINWAY GALLERY SINGAPORE
WHEN classical pianist Wang Congyu scored a scholarship to a prestigious conservatory of music in France, he knew he could not pass up on the opportunity.
His parents, however, were not as thrilled. They worried that their second child, then 16, would have a hard time living alone abroad at such a young age.
And, like many Singaporean parents, they did not view the arts as a sustainable career choice, said Wang, now 21, dur-ing an interview at the Steinway Gallery Singapore at Palais Ren-naisance yesterday.
Still, their son eventually won them over, and spent 3 1/2 years in the French capital studying at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. He returned to Singapore last July and is awaiting national-service enlistment.
"A mother always has a soft spot for her son," he told My Paper. He said his parents are now "quite impressed with what I am doing" and are very supportive.
His education in music — he later went on to study at another esteemed music school, Schola Cantorum de Paris — has certainly paid off.
Yesterday, the former Fairfield Methodist Secondary School student was named the first Steinway Young Artist of 2013 by the well-known piano maker, joining an exclusive group of about 60 emerging musicians worldwide.
The programme aims to open doors for such burgeoning artists.
Wang, who took the top prizes in international piano competitions in Bordeaux and Berlin in 2010, is the second Singaporean to be conferred the title, after pianist Abigail Sin, 20, in 2009.
He said of the award: "Young people don't like classical music because they think it is always performed by old people.
"I have a job to do now, which is to promote what I'm doing to people who don't know (about the art form)."
BY VICTORIA BARKER