Mervyn Lee, an 18-year-old Year 3 student from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) has been awarded the title of Young Steinway Artist on 1 October.
Mervyn is the second National University of Singapore (NUS) student to be conferred with the award, following YSTCM alumna Abigail Sin in 2010.
Mervyn on receiving the award, said, “I feel incredibly honoured and grateful to be conferred the title of Young Steinway Artist, and I am especially thrilled to be a part of the roster of internationally acclaimed young pianists from all over the world.”
The Young Steinway Artist Award objective is to recognise and nurture young and exceptional concert pianists. It is granted by Steinway & Sons, a premier manufacturer of exceptional pianos.
Mervyn started learning the piano at the age of five, and he attracted Professor Thomas Hecht’s attention 10 years ago when he listened to the child play.
Prof Hecht shared that even at that young age, he could see ‘a wonderful disposition at the piano and that his potential was deserving of a special sort of mentorship’.
Under Prof Hecht’s guardianship Mervyn took part in many performances some of which are:
- Public debut during the 2008 Steinway #1 Road Show hosted by the Conservatory,
- The President’s Young Performers Concert 2009,
- ChildAid 2009,
- A Celebration of Keyboards in 2014.
It was his debut performance with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at the President’s Young Performers Concert 2009 which confirmed his decision to become a concert pianist.
Mervyn had to manage his secondary school studies with his participation in the Young Artist Programme at YSTCM for several years; he said, “I often found myself having to prioritise one above the other, only after being admitted to the Conservatory as a full-time student, did I have the time to fully concentrate on my craft and develop it further.”
Mervyn accounted his success to ‘two greatest pillars of support’: his parents and Prof Hecht.
“My parents were understanding enough to continue supporting my decision to pursue music throughout the years up until now,” he said.
And of Prof Hecht’s influence to his musical life and craft, he said, “His mentor ship over the years, as well as his support for my musical aspirations, has contributed to most of my successes throughout my pianistic career.”
Prof Hecht is also proud of his student’s achievement; he said, “His extensive musical knowledge is exceptional, and his performances are nothing short of electrifying.”
The Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) at the National University of Singapore is the first conservatory in Singapore that offers full-time major studies leading to a Bachelor of Music (Honours) Degree and the Master of Music Degree. Renowned American pianist and pedagogue Thomas Hecht is the founding Head of Piano Studies at the Conservatory.