The partnership between Lillian Wang and Wee-Hsin Tan started in 2005 immediately following their participation at the Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers, an intensive String Academy Pedagogy Workshop at Indiana University, Bloomington in the USA. While their individual musical training can be traced to very diverse lineages, they found common ground in their teaching philosophies and pedagogy system after teaching at and working with the Northwestern Music Academy. Their students in the Greater Chicago area were able to benefit from Lillian’s and Wee-Hsin’s distinct approaches while enjoying the cohesiveness of their organic teaching philosophy and pedagogy.
Lillian relocated to Kuala Lumpur in 2006 and co-directed the Junior Violin Program (JVP) while working full time at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. The JVP was designed along the same principles of pedagogy as that of the Indiana String Academy. Wee-Hsin continued to assist Lillian in the program several months out of the year while continuing with his own teaching and performance commitments in Chicago and Singapore.
Since 2010, Lillian and Wee-Hsin settled in Singapore. Students currently work with both Lillian and Wee-Hsin to maximise their learning experience at every stage of their progress. Regular studio classes provide a platform for students to experiment with performing in front of their peers while learning how to give constructive criticisms. A non-judgemental environment is advocated to allow each student to be nurtured in the most natural and comfortable way.
Their violin and viola students in Singapore have been awarded Gold and Platinum awards at the biennial Performers' Festival and have been invited to perform at the ABRSM High Scorers' Concerts. Several who have decided to pursue a music career have gone on to study at top USA and UK music colleges
Photo Credit: Very Special Arts (Singapore)
On her performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the California Philharmonic Orchestra :
“Wang had an elegant notion of the composer’s long lines, and plenty of the kind of speed and dexterity he calls for.”
- San Gabriel Valley Newspapers, USA
“Wang is an exceptional young talent and her performance was greeted by a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.”
- La Cañada Flintridge Outlook, USA
“…brilliant young violinist Lillian Wang hypnotised the crowd…What a phenomenal talent.”
- The Tolucan Times, USA
Lillian began her journey as a violin teacher while still a teenager in California, assisting her first violin teacher Jennifer Bellusci in giving supplemental lessons to the younger students. At the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, her professors Charles Castleman, Ilya Kaler and Gerardo Ribeiro worked with her in the tradition of Ivan Galamian and Leonid Kogan. Lillian worked closely with undergraduate violin students in her capacity as Teaching Assistant to Gerardo Ribeiro at Northwestern University and was later hired by the University Music Academy to work with pre-college violin students. Her teaching approach combines the traditions of her primary violin teachers with that of Suzuki, Paul Rolland and Mimi Zweig. Lillian was particularly inspired by Zweig during her training at the Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers, an intensive String Academy Pedagogy Workshop at Indiana University, and she began to advocate well-grounded physical and psychological fundamentals into her teaching especially for all young beginners.
During her time in Kuala Lumpur, Lillian co-directed the Junior Violin Program (JVP), an outreach program developed by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) to nurture and support young local musicians. The JVP musicians benefited from weekly individual and group lessons based on a system modelled after Mimi Zweig’s highly successful string pedagogy program. Their intense training culminated in several annual gala performances at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. Lillian was also invited to teach at the UCSI University, where she worked with undergraduate violin performance majors. By the time Lillian left the MPO in 2010, she was officially recognised as the musician with the highest number of community teaching and outreach hours, surpassing even colleagues who have been with the orchestra since its formation in 1998.
In Singapore, Lillian worked with violin students from the School Of The Arts for over 10 years and had been invited to coach violin sectionals at the Singapore National Youth Orchestra. She was an adjudicator at the 4th Performers’ Festival in 2010, is currently a Life Member of the Singapore Music Teachers’ Association and is also on the Panel of International Advisors for the Hong Kong Music for Our Young Foundation.
Lillian Wang enjoys a varied musical career as a soloist, orchestra and chamber musician alongside her passion of teaching the next generation of young musicians.
Under the tutelage of her primary teacher Jennifer Bellucci in California, USA, Lillian received full scholarships from the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, where she obtained her Bachelor, Masters and Certificate in Performance degrees. Lillian studied with Charles Castleman, Ilya Kaler and Gerardo Ribeiro (whom she served as Teaching Assistant) and played in masterclasses by Robert Chen, Oleh Krysa, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert Lipsett, William Preucil, Zvi Zeitlin, and the Pacifica and Ying Quartets, among others. She also participated in music festivals such as Encore School for Strings, The Quartet Program, Kent/Blossom and Indiana University Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers.
Lillian was a full-time musician with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) from 2010-2019. Prior to joining the SSO, Lillian performed full-time with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) from 2006-2010, held positions of Concertmaster of the YMF Debut Orchestra, Principal Second Violin of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and was a substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicagoland Pops and Elgin Symphony Orchestras. Lillian has also appeared as a soloist with the California Philharmonic in a live radio broadcast concert of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, and with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra as a concerto competition prize winner performing Bartok’s Violin Concerto No.2. As a founding member of the MPO Chamber Soloists, she performed in their highly acclaimed debut concert in Tokyo and was also a regular performer in the MPO Chamber Concert Series.
Lillian continues to be actively involved in other solo and chamber concerts, particularly in fundraising and outreach concerts aimed to benefit society and charity organizations. Recent performances involve beneficiaries such as Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS), Very Special Arts (VSA) and Children's Wishing Well Foundation. Lillian's passion for community work through music has also led her and her violist husband Wee-Hsin Tan to be involved with the Hong Kong Music for Our Young Foundation from 2012-2019. As Singapore Representatives of the Foundation and leaders of the Singapore Wing, they established and led several groups of student musicians from Singapore to participate at the annual Winter Music Festival in Hong Kong and also at the first MOY International Festival of Music in 2018
Wee-Hsin has been teaching in various capacities for over 25 years. He attributes his teaching methods to his primary teachers, Lim Tze Chian during his formative years in Singapore, Professor George Taylor at the Eastman School of Music and Professor Roland Vamos at Northwestern University.
Other mentors who were extraordinary influences in his life as a person, teacher and musician were Professors Almita Vamos and James Kjelland and former Principal Violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Abraham Skernick.
The pedagogy Wee-Hsin employs in his work at the Academy is an integration of his traditional string training, which can be traced to Leopold Auer and Otakar Ševčik, and the philosophies of Suzuki, Paul Rolland and Mimi Zweig.
While in the USA, Wee-Hsin served as Teaching Assistant to Dr. Roland Vamos at Northwestern University and worked with undergraduate viola students on their repertoire and technique. He also coached chamber groups and assisted Mrs. Almita Vamos with giving supplemental lessons to pre-college violin students from the Music Institute of Chicago. As a pedagogy major, Wee-Hsin worked closely with the Northwestern University Music Academy in private supplemental and group class lessons. He also attended the Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers, an intensive String Academy Pedagogy Workshop at Indiana University, Bloomington in the USA which provided the backdrop to his partnership with Lillian Wang.
Back in Singapore, Wee-Hsin has taught viola performance and chamber music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, worked in the capacity of Resident Conductor of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and guest conducted the Singapore Chamber Players and other youth groups including the Raffles Institution String Ensemble, Hwa Chong Chinese Orchestra and Concert Band and Kluang Chong Hwa High School String Orchestra. Under his direction for over a decade, the Hwa Chong String Ensemble has been awarded numerous Gold (with honours) and Distinction awards at the biennial Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation. He has also presented masterclasses and string clinics in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the USA.
Wee-Hsin is currently a Life Member of the Singapore Music Teachers’ Association and member of the Artist-Mentor Scheme, helmed by the Singapore Teachers’ Academy for the Arts and supported by the National Arts Council. He is also on the Panel of International Advisors for the Hong Kong Music for Our Young Foundation.
A recipient of the prestigious MOE-SSO scholarship from Singapore, Dr. Wee-Hsin Tan graduated with Highest Distinction from the renowned Eastman School of Music, where he studied viola with George Taylor and conducting under Bradley Lubman. He earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University, while serving as Teaching Assistant to Roland Vamos. Wee-Hsin’s Doctorate was completed and conferred in eighteen months, an achievement unprecedented in the history of the University.
Appointed to the viola section of the Singapore Symphony Symphony in 2001 by Music Director Lan Shui, Wee-Hsin performed full time with the SSO until 2019. He has also performed and recorded with the Chicago Symphony, Rochester and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras under eminent conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Valery Gergiev and Charles Dutoit among others. He is active in the Singapore music scene as a much sought after recitalist, chamber musician and guest principal violist with various groups. As a soloist, Wee-Hsin has appeared with the SSO, Singapore Chamber Players and Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra. His chamber recitals include those with the Eastman Virtuosi and Grammy Award winning Ying Quartet in New York, a live broadcast performance over NHK Radio in Tokyo, Choir of King’s College (Cambridge), SSO Chamber Series, Take 5 and PRISM at the 1st Singapore Chamber Music Festival. Wee-Hsin has also participated in numerous music festivals and exchanges such as ASEAN Youth Music Workshop, Asian Youth Orchestra, ASEAN-Japan Symphony Orchestra, Kumamoto Festival, Kent Blossom, Nice Academy, Heidelberg Festival and Indiana University Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers.
Wee-Hsin and his violinist wife, Lillian Wang, are strong advocates of community outreach and their work with student groups have reached out to benefit charity and community organizations such as Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS), Very Special Arts (VSA), Prison Fellowship Singapore (PFS), Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS), Singapore Children's Society, National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and Children’s Wishing Well among others. These performances can be heard at hospitals, schools, family service centres, children's homes, shopping malls, churches and the typical concert hall. Wee-Hsin and Lillian also worked closely with the Hong Kong Music for Our Young Foundation to further the cause of music in the lives of the underprivileged from 2012-2019.
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