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Soul-stirring kaleidoscope of colours and contrasts

July 04, 2019

The Piano Island Festival, founded by local pianist-entrepreneur Wang Congyu and inaugurated in 2018, is now in its third edition. Alternating between Singapore and Reunion (French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean), the festival includes an international competition, lectures, masterclasses and public recitals by an international cast of pianists.


Esplanade Recital Hall was host to four recitals, with evening sessions helmed by Philippe Cassard (France) and Poom Prommachart (Thailand). Cassard will be remembered for performing the complete solo piano works of Claude Debussy in four recitals at this same venue in 2003, providing relief and solace during the SARS epidemic.

On this occasion, he distilled the French composer’s prolific output to just seven works in a single half, all inspired by the watery realm. Exhibiting an enormous range of tonal variety, the musical equivalent of impressionist brush-strokes was applied to pieces like Reflets dans l’eau(Reflections on the Water), Ondine, Poissons d’or(Goldfishes) and La cathedrale engloutie (The Engulfed Cathedral). 


Cassard showed this was not a matter of just stepping on the sustaining pedal and splashing nebulous globs of sound, but a skilful manipulation of colourings and contrasts. The transition from Brouillards (Mists), with gently shifting wafts to the vigorous pitter-patter of Jardins sous la pluie(Gardens in the Rain) was startling in effect. With no half measures given, the wine-fuelled revelry in L’isle joyeuse (The Happy Island) was one of full-blown intoxication. Likewise, Cassard’s view of Schubert’s penultimate Sonata in A major (D.959) was not one of quaint Biedermeier charm or drawing room naivete. It was the blood and guts view of one living in his final year, with all the requisite angst and vulnerability, and certainly not for the faint of heart. 


Still in his late 20s, Poom Prommachart is Thailand’s most accomplished and decorated young pianist. His recital was another study of stark contrasts, now applied to the piano sonata genre. There cannot be more vastly different works than Beethoven’s late Sonata No.30 in E major (Op.109) and contemporary Australian composer Carl Vine’s First Sonata, composed in 1990.

Both works benefited with his variegated touch and laser-like precision, the Beethoven coming into his own as a Romantic, full of fire and fervour. Vine’s violent flailings had the feel of modern ballet, exquisitely choreographed like a new version of The Rite Of Spring. After three short pieces by Khachaturian and Scriabin came the piece de resistance, the rarely heard Sonata-Ballade by Russian composer Nikolai Medtner, a contemporary of Rachmaninov.  Conceived as a single extended movement and playing over 20 sprawling minutes, Poom’s excellent elucidation of the themes and its discursive byways represented a glorious treatise of the sonata form itself. Hoping to proselytise on behalf of this almost forgotten Romantic, this imperious reading could not but find him many new friends.

Piano Island Festival (Dang Thai Son Recital)

December 06, 2018

Le Piano island festival s'est fini dimanche en beauté.

L’Association des Jeunes Musiciens sous la direction de Congyu WANG a offert une sélection d'artiste plus époustouflant les uns de que les autres.

Entre « Dang Thai Son » au Musée Stella Matutina et « 4 mains Piano » de Xin Wang et Florian Koltun à la Cité des Arts, les amateurs de piano ont répondu présents avec des salles remplies à ras bord.

Le déplacement valait le détour. Une perfection auditive sublimée par la résonance d'un Steinway & Sons, les artistes ont su se transcender et convaincre le public réunionnais.

Pianissimo Maestro

December 04, 2018

Seconde édition de la manifestation orchestrée par le musicien Congyu Wang jusqu'au 10 décembre prochain à la Réunion avec la participations de pianistes internationaux de renommée, invités à se produire en concerts à la Cité des Arts et au musée Stella Matutina, en marge de masterclasses et de compétitions en partenariat avec le Conservatoire, la Région, et l’Ecole Intercommunal de Beauséjour.

2 Concerts d’Exception à la Réunion

December 02, 2018

« Dang Thai Son » au Musée Stella Matutina le 7 décembre et « 4 mains Piano » à la Cité des Arts le 9 décembre 2018… L’Association des Jeunes Musiciens sous la direction de Congyu WANG, organise le Festival de Piano International à la Réunion du 1er au 10 décembre 2018. De grands pianistes internationaux se produiront en concert et donneront également des masterclass en collaboration avec le CRR de la Réunion. 

Why Are Piano Festivals Exciting?

January 17, 2018

With the recent conclusion of the 1st edition of the International Piano Island Festival held in Singapore, one could only marvel at the exciting line-up of accomplished pianists giving individual masterclasses and the opportunities to interact and befriend fellow piano lovers in person. In this article, you can learn more about piano festivals and the benefits they can bring to your child and your family!

Delicious sounds at new piano festival

January 12, 2018

A new piano festival has emerged in Singapore.

Founded by Singaporean pianist Wang Congyu, the week-long event included a competition for youth, masterclasses, as well as lectures and piano recitals by members of its international faculty.

There could not have been a more varied programme than Thursday night's offering by young Portuguese pianist Vasco Dantas.

Opening with Schumann's Scenes Of Childhood and closing with Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, this was a recital of contrasts - from arch simplicity to a vivid play of exotic and, sometimes, disturbing visions.

He possesses the technique and endurance to master the sprawl of these canvasses, and the imagination and palette to colour and characterise each of the 28 short pieces within.

Pianist spends $80,000 on new piano festival

January 08, 2018

Home-grown musician Wang Congyu brings internationally acclaimed musicians here for masterclasses to develop young talent

Determined to bring internationally acclaimed musicians to Singapore to impart their wisdom, a home-grown concert pianist is starting a new piano festival.

Pianist Wang Congyu, 26, and his French wife Julie Lu, 28, have put $80,000 of their savings into the Piano Island Festival, the first edition of which opens today and runs until next Monday.

"Singapore has a lot of potential and music talent, but young upcoming musicians don't get many chances to learn from overseas masters and make contacts," he says.


January 08, 2018

There is a new international piano festival in town. Named the International Piano Island Festival, it is the brainchild of young Singaporean and Paris-trained pianist Wang Congyu. The festival alternates between Singapore and the Reunion Islands where Wang and his wife Julie reside and run a music school. This festival includes a piano competition for young musicians, a series of masterclasses, private lessons, lectures and concerts by an international panel of pianists.

Meet The Maestros at Singapore’s Inaugural International Piano Island Festival

December 18, 2017

Globally in-demand musicians and master teachers are set to grace the stage and public masterclasses of Singapore’s first International Piano Island Festival.

New musical blowout is coming to town. The International Piano Island Festival is a classical music festival, bringing a stellar line-up of renowned international maestros and highly gifted performers to Singapore from January 9-15, 2018, with concerts every night.

Performers include young pianist from Portugal, Vasco Dantas Rocha; Moscow-born, New York-dwelling Michael Bulychev-Okser; and Korean Dr Kim Bo-Kyung plus Malaysian Dr Nicholas Ong, presenting a special four-hand piano recital.

Piano Island Festival joins Argerich Alink Foundation (AAF)

October 26, 2017

Alink-Argerich Foundation (AAF) offers the most complete details on music competitions ever compiled. The AAF shares information, assistance and advice to musicians and competition organizers. The Foundation maintains a unique collection of competition related materials such as application brochures with the rules and conditions of music competitions and competition program books. It is in this respect that AAF tries to make a difference, to help and assist, by offering clear and useful information.

The International Piano Island Festival is a proud member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation.

Piano Island Faculty - Eliane Reyes

September 25, 2017

Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature, one of the highest distinction given in France. She is the first Belgian pianist to be honored by this prestigious French award which is bestowed to those “who have distinguished themselves through their creativity in the arts or literature as well as the contribution they have made to the cultural radiance of arts and literature in France and throughout the world"

« Un merveilleux talent pour la musique » Martha Argerich
« In the last few years, nobody has impressed me as much as this young pianist, she is already a real artist and deserves all the help to establish herself publicly » Vladimir Ashkenazy
« Eliane Reyes travaille magnifiquement sur les timbres grâce à la souplesse d’un jeu qui sait raconter » Stéphane Friederich (Piano magazine)
« Reyes performs with poetic sensitivity and deftness » Jack Sullivan (American record guide)
« Eliane Reyes, a young and wonderfully gifted pianist, takes a different view and her performances are memorably refined, dextrous and committed » Bryce Morrison (Gramophone)

Jean-Paul Sevilla Withdrawal

September 19, 2017

We regret to inform you that due to a recent health set-back. Maestro Jean-Paul Sevilla has been withdrawn from the Piano Island faculty.

First prize winners of the Piano Island Piano Competition will be offered a week of Masterclasses with Jean-Paul Sevilla in Normandie.

As suggested by the maestro, Belgium pianist Ms Eliane Reyes will come in his place. Here at Piano island, we express our deepest apologies to students who registered for Sevilla's masterclasses and we wish Maestro a speedy recovery.

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