By Samuel Foo (19A01A), Chairperson
Calling all budding pianists:
Ever felt lonely slogging away in the practice room, with only the keys for company?
Seated onstage, ever felt like a whole new world was opening at your fingertips, yet wished for someone beside you, to share in the same moment of musical magic?
Ever wished for more friends with whom you can marvel at the fragile beauty of a Chopin Nocturne, bewail the difficulties of a Liszt etude, or share your newest musical exploits?
If your answer to any of the previous questions is ‘yes’, then joining Piano Ensemble (or RIPE for short) might just be the remedy for you!
Here at RIPE, we seek to expand the horizons of aspiring pianists beyond the one-dimensional world of solo pieces, and the stuffy confines of the old and overbeaten ABRSM exam repertoire, setting pianists free to explore the rich world of music for four, six or even eight hands, ranging from the works of the classical masters to original arrangements of your favourite contemporary tunes. At this point, despite what may come to mind at the mention of the word ‘ensemble’, we express our obligatory regret to inform those who may be excited at the prospect of witnessing umpteen pianos being thumped upon that we usually only have no more than 2 pianos and 4 pianists on stage for each piece. Yet this does also give us the flexibility to try out various groupings and different possibilities with different CCA mates!
Though the process of musical development for many pianists may all too often be a slow and solitary one, we seek to liven up this journey by building up a community of committed pianists who can accompany each other (literally) on this path, spurring one another on and bonding over our shared love for the instrument. In line with this goal, we take pains to make the most of CCA sessions to promote the personal growth of each pianists. Held on Tuesday from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, CCA sessions feature masterclasses and workshops to hone our skills in performing, composing or arranging, and coaching sessions to help us take the next steps towards musical excellence. But don’t be afraid that you’ll sign up for nothing but a soulless piano bootcamp: we also make sure to mix in elements of fun and laughter along the way, so that our CCA experience can be fulfilling and memorable in more ways than one!
Every year, the combined efforts of our pianists culminate in our annual concert, where the diverse musical interests of our members converge into an epic musical extravaganza. Check out the Press review of our 2018 concert, The Missing Piece, right over here. While our concert serves as a great way to showcase your talents to family and friends, and celebrate all things pianistic, more ambitious spirits amongst you may want to pit your skills against those of competitors other schools at the annual Vivace Piano Competition, the pianistic equivalent of SYF. Our vivace results have been encouraging in the past few years, with teams consistently winning gold accolades or higher, and we are looking for the next generation of talents to lead us on to greater heights!
Aside from those two milestones, batches enjoy quite a lot of flexibility to set the direction for the latter half of the J1 year: you could choose, as many batches have done, to embark on CIP projects, performing for the elderly or teaching music to children, or you could even have another year-end concert to gain even more performance experience! Or you could just use the time to chill and warm up for the year ahead, of course.
So if you find yourself pulled by the prospect of musical meddling and keyboard cavortings for the next one and a half years, do drop by our open house booth and attend our auditions! We aren’t just looking for technical tornadoes who gobble up transcendental etudes like chiffon cakes, or musical maestros rattling off Beethoven sonatas from memory, but are willing to welcome anyone who are inspired to improve themselves and can contribute their all to the growth of RIPE as a whole. Our auditions will comprise the playing of a short piece, a sight reading segment and a brief interview. Do note that all interested applicants should have at least attained ABRSM Grade 5 Practical. Our auditions will comprise of 3 segments – the playing of a short piece, a sight reading segment and a brief interview.