Featured Articles

Reviews (Selection)

Review: "Rousing finale for SCO's Homecoming concert", published on The Straits Times, 27 Apr 2019.

"There were many jazzy turns to erhu classic Erquan Yingyue (Moon’s Reflection On Erquan) in Phang Kok Jun’s Erquan In Swing. Tan Man Man’s hip-gyrating solo was the perfect foil to Ling Hock Siang’s reliving of the legendary blind erhu exponent Abing’s soulful plaint."

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Review: "High jinks and nostalgia to usher in new year", published on The Straits Times, 19 Jan 2019.

"Much better was Manuel Ponce’s Estrellita, with Siow’s flowing lyricism backed by shimmering huqins in Phang Kok Jun’s excellent arrangement."

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Review: "Onwards: A Ruan & Zheng Recital", by Chang Tou Liang on 18 Apr 2018.

"The final work was specially commissioned for this concert, a world premiere of Phang Kok Jun's Onwards. One of the most prolific local young composers, Phang comfortably melds Chinese, Western and popular idioms to excellent effect, in this case a quintet for ruan, guzheng, piano and percussion. The music has a popular (and populist) slant, with a penchant for nostalgia."

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Review: "Grand Celebration", published on The Straits Times, 7 Aug 2017.

"The two-hour-long concert closed with Composer-in-Residence Phang Kok Jun's Ten Years A Minute, a feel-good work that steadily built in confidence from a diffident start. Its moral was obvious: Practice makes perfect!"

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Review: "An Exuberant Display of Youth Indeed", published on The Straits Times, 24 July 2017.

"...an ingenious showpiece of musical repartee, resolved when both erhu rivals arrived at a happy confluence of thoughts and deeds."

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Review: "Pearls of wisdom from Great Masters", published on The Straits Times, 7 March 2017.

"All four maestros converged for the final number, Hui (meaning "confluence" or "conference"), by Ding Yi composer-in-residence Phang Kok Jun. It was a short and undemanding piece with a memorable melody, which left performers and audience happily sated."

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CD Review: "Hot Tracks", published on The Straits Times, 20 July 2016.

"In a way, the course of contemporary Chinese instrumental music has been redefined by the encompassing of Nanyang music, which includes indigenous idioms of South-east Asian music and its composers.

Two excellent examples receive world premiere recordings here.

In Phang Kok Jun's arrangement of Bho Shambo, a dance of the Hindu god Shiva, flautists Ghanavenothan Rethnam (bansuri) and Tan Qing Lun (dizi) share the honours in a headily rhythmic work.

A similar tandem operates in Phang's own Storytellers On Ann Siang Road where Chin Yen Choong and Lim Kwuan Boon's erhu act out a duet between Chinese and Malay itinerant storytellers of old."

"

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Review: "Happy Stirring of East and West", published on The Straits Times, 6 June 2016.

"The concert began with Phang Kok Jun's arrangement of Ho Chee Kong's Garden Veils, a serene evocation of Singapore's self-professed reputation as the “Garden City”. The mellow song of cellos opened, soon replaced by erhus accompanied by the gentlest of pizzicatos. The voice of nature soon bloomed, showing that Chinese huqins and Western strings could happily co-exist in a musical ecosphere. A short and retiring guanzi solo at its close was also a nice atmospheric touch."

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Review: "Bold Experiment with Tang Poem", published on The Straits Times, 29 Dec 2015.

 

“Marrying the genres of music, voice and dance into a coherent whole is a difficult proposition and local Chinese chamber music ensemble Ding Yi Music Company should be lauded for attempting this bold experiment.”

 

“The music, jointly composed by Singaporean Phang Kok Jun and Taiwanese Hsu Tzu-chin, found a happy medium with traditional Chinese music and Western compositional techniques.”

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Review: "Charmed by Singapore Composers", published on The Straits Times, 21 Dec 2015

 

“Phang Kok Jun's Hustle Bustle for solo violin was a triumph. He described the chaos of New York's Times Square as the initial impetus for the work, but the strains were typically Eastern, reminiscent of Indian raga, with more than a hint of jazz influence. Choo's firebrand delivery of this very challenging work made it the outstanding piece of the evening. One hopes that it finds its way into the repertoire of more violinists seeking to show off their technical prowess and their Asian sensibilities.

As a package, Phang's Wind Chimes for solo piano was less complete, with the music and Lin's playing becoming overblown in parts. Nonetheless, the two works by the composer, who is in the midst of his master's programme at Peabody, show a purity of form and depth in execution that should carry him far.”

 

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Review: "Evening of feel-good works to mark Singapore's 50th birthday", published on The Straits Times, 6 July 2015.

 

"Far better was Phang Kok Jun's MICamedley, with the six-member vocal band MICappella singing, beat-boxing and dancing their way through four Xinyao numbers including Xi Shui Chang Liu, Cheng Li De Yue Guang, Chi De Qi Ku and Here We Go. Their infectious performance saw conductor Yeh imitating their nifty steps on his podium, thus garnering the loudest applause."

 

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Review: "Young pianist Clarence Lee's recital fuses beauty and risk-taking", published on The Straits Times, 3 May 2015.

 

"Phang showed that imaginative writing did not necessarily equate to complexity and his idiomatic writing created a kaleidoscopic effect with hints of Debussy's Clair De Lune and Pagodas, with the gentle rocking figuration of the left hand mimicking the breaking of waves on shore, as a simple lullabic melody sparkled unpredictably like the refraction and reflection of light on water."

 

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Online Review: Macau Chinese Orchestra Traditional Quintet (15 Dec 2013) in Review by Andrew Xiao

 

“Ripples…draws out sound images that represent water ripples from the pipa. Through the wonderful playing of the soloist, the audience can imagine water rippling around, and through the colour and textures, the scenes and mood behind it.”

 

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Review: “Promising Protégés”, by Chang Tou Liang, published on The Straits Times on 1 July 2013

 

“Phang Kok Jun’s Clouds departed from the pentatonic idiom of Chinese music altogether, being 21st century representatives of the medium…all three soloists were unleashed in the latter, which provided a stirring close to the concert.”

 

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Review: “Bold Explorations”, by Chang Tou Liang, published on The Straits Times, 20 Dec, 2012

 

“This is one of those unremittingly lush pieces, the melody of which lingers on long after the work has ended.”

 

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Article and Review: "30th Asian Composers League Conference and Festival in Israel" by Andrián Pertout, 26 Nov 2012

 

“highlights included…the melodious and colourful Flow by Phang Kok Jun (Singapore)”

 

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Review: “An enjoyable outing where everyone wins”, by Chang Tou Liang, published on The Straits Times, 24 November 2012

 

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CD Review: “CD Reviews: I-sis Trio, Passion”, by Chang Tou Liang, published on The Straits Times, March 2012

 

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Articles and Interviews (Selection)

Article: "冯国峻与陈宇歆 欧洲舞台上奏凯歌", published on Zaobao,

29 Nov 2018.

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Article: "诗乐相遇 青年作曲家诠释新华诗作", published on Zaobao,

15 Oct 2018.

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Article: "国家青年华乐团庆15岁 演奏“印象派”新作", published on Zaobao,

19 Jul 2018.

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Interview: "Sharing one love that binds all - music", published on The Straits Times, 8 Jul 2018.

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Interview: "作曲家对谈 传统音乐的创新", published on Zaobao, 26 Apr 2018

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Online Article: "Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music", published on Composers Society of Singapore, 26 Sep 2017.

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Article: "The Music of Science", published on The Peabody Post, 13 March 2017.

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Online Article: "专访:《说书赏乐》用音乐讲故事", published on Xin Hua Net,

6 Nov 2014.

 

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Article: "Singapore Chinese Orchestra Breaks Guiness Records", published on The Straits Times, 29 Jun 2014.

 

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Article: "Young Singapore Composers Striking a Chord at Home and Overseas", published on The Straits Times, 17 Jun 2014

 

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Article: "SCO Announces Details of Singapore's Largest Ever Concert", 25 Feb 2014

 

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Article: "Young Composers get a Boost", by Akshita Nanda, published on The Straits Times, 13 Feb 2014

 

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Interview: Creative Collaborators of A Prince’s Journey, 30 Sep 2013

 

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Article: “Classical Hothouse”, by Akshita Nanda, published on The Straits Times, 27 August 2013

 

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