Daniel Kiang first started out playing the Trombone.
At the age of 14, he picked up the Tuba while studying at Xinmin Secondary School. In 2001 he was appointed as the band’s drum major and band advisor in the following year. After graduation, he continued to pursue his interest in the Tuba, where he obtained a Diploma in Music from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2006.
Daniel has studied the Tuba under Gao Yue, Tim Buzbee, David Kutz, Alex Hurst, Jacomo Bairos and Hidehiro Fujita who were all previous and present principal tubists of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He has also participated in master classes conducted by world-renowned teachers, most notably: Patrick Harrid, Principal Tuba of the London Symphony Orchestra; Dennis Wick, ex-Principal Trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra; and Steve Rosse, Principal Tuba of the Sydney Symphony.
In 2009 Daniel attained his BA (Hons) in Music at the University of Wales. He is also an active member and the Principal Tuba of the Philharmonic Winds and the Philharmonic Orchestra. Daniel was also a member of the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band during his National Service tenure.
Daniel is currently the music director of X-Windz and Fajar Symphonic Band, assistant conductor of Hwa Chong Institution Band and Xinmin Secondary School Symphonic Band. He is also a Tuba tutor and brass instructor in MOE’s music talent development programme, several secondary schools and junior colleges.
Let’s start from the inspirations in your career. Who were your teachers, and who are the figures in the scene that have been of great influence to you?
I was first inspired to pursue music by my school band conductor, Ms Tan Yiang Hoon, when I was studying at Xinmin Secondary School. It was her rehearsals which captivated my interest and made me decide to study music when I was finishing my secondary school.
Then in 2001, I joined the Bugis Village Brass Band and met Mr Richard Adams. He encouraged me to audition for the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). I began my formal music training and was fortunate to have been tutored by esteemed tubists including Gao Yue, Tim Buzbee, Jacomo Bairus and Hidehiro Fujita. I was privileged to have Tim Buzbee as my tutor since Secondary 5 level as he played a pivotal role in my development. He is a fantastic tubist who changed my concept of a tuba sound and broadened my knowledge of tuba repertoire.
We understand that you intend to further your studies in the near future. Where would that be and why?
Yes, I am intending to do my masters in the United States in a year or two. I intend to study at the University of Georgia because I want to study conducting with Dr John Lynch.
What are some of the tuba repertoire (method books or scores) to recommend for a secondary school level player?
I would first recommend the Roger Bobo book, as it covers mostly on fundamentals of playing, breathing and simple but effective exercises that strengthens what it teaches. As for slightly more advanced players in Secondary 4 levels, I would recommend Vladislav Blazhevich 70 Studies Volume I and Marco Bordogni 43 Bel Canto Studies for Tuba. Both books can be purchased online from Robert King Music.
Do you believe that a good instrument makes a better player? Why?
A better instrument does make a player sound slightly better on the tuba but it does not make you a better player in terms of music capabilities. To be a better player, you will require a lot of practices, which you have to listen to recordings or concerts of solo and orchestra Tubists.
Do conducting and educating the younger generations give you more inspirations towards your playing?
Yes definitely. Before I started conducting, my playing was very microscopic. However, after I started teaching bands of different levels throughout the years, my analysis and interpretation of music evolved to be more macroscopic.
Being microscopic with your playing is good as you would be more meticulous in aspects such as note accuracy, note values, intonation and tempo. This is what we as players are trained to do and we always strive for perfection. However, being macroscopic lets you focus on the phrases and the musical direction or ideas, which you want to tell the listeners about your performing piece.
What advices do you have for a young tuba player who hopes to pursue a music career?
Always dare to dream and dream big! When you know that you want to make music as your career, go for it. It was this sentence that made me pursue music and till now, I have not given up. My career has always been my dream and passion.
Tell us about the upcoming projects that you will be playing in.
I will be performing in the concert, Sounds of Japan 2, with the Philharmonic Winds on 16th December at the Esplanade. Tickets are already on sale at SISTIC.
What do you do during your free time apart from music?
I like travelling and watching movies. For the past few months, I have also started prawning and cycling as a hobby.