She is all keyed up as she speaks about her experience sharing the stage with international celebrity Wang Lee Hom. Who wouldn’t be? After all, how many 16-year-olds can put a tick in that check box that says “performed alongside a superstar”?
Violinist Lai Yi Xuan, first prize winner of the Young Musician Competition (Singapore) in 2011, recounts her encounter with the superstar of Mandopop.“It feels really good to be on the same stage with someone who is a very talented artiste. It’s such an honour,” she gushes, before breaking out in peals of laughter. “I was looking forward to meeting him, so excited to meeting him. It motivated me to practise…He’s very friendly and encouraging. He told me to just go for music.”
Apart from being on the same stage as Wang Lee Hom, Yi Xuan
has also performed with Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah.
Music has been very much a part of Yi Xuan’s life since she started learning playing violin and piano when she was 6. A student of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (School of Young Talents), she is currently training under Alexander Souptel, an honoured musician in Russia and a renowned professor at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. She is all praise for her mentor whom she credits for stretching her musical dexterity. “He’s a world class teacher. He doesn’t just focus on technicalities. He likes to look beyond, go deeper and play with the imagination. Lessons with him are very exciting. It feels like I’m transported to another world.”
The precocious girl from Raffles Institution spends five hours a day refining her artistry in the musical instrument while juggling her school work. “It’s a lot of time and commitment. I just go through it,” she says it in a sanguine, matter-of-factly way before breaking out in laughter again. “I don’t think there’s a way. I think it’s just putting your mind to it.” Her steely resolve makes you feel she is all grown up — until you ask her about her penchant for Hello Kitty. And a girly school-goer gives her rejoinder. “I just feel that it’s very cute and I like to be surrounded by it. Her stash of Hello Kitty collectibles includes clothes, jackets and key chains.
She has dreams of collaborating with Stevie Wonder one day as “he’s such a legend”. She proffers: “It’s just very infectious the way he plays the piano and the way he sings.” Speaking of infectious, she will be “infecting” everyone with her music as she performs “Beethoven’s Virus” during Singapore Day 2012. She enthuses about the tune she will be playing: “It is a virus that is very infectious and everyone’s going to catch it.” After Siow Lee-Chin and Min Lee, we see the making of another Singaporean violinist who could make it big on the international stage.
Did we say she is all but 16?
By Yee Wei Zhen