Kang Chun Meng, a young rising Euphonium player, will make his debut with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) in the upcoming President’s Young Performers Concert on 29 September.
He is currently a Besson artist, performing on a Besson Prestige Euphonium with an Alliance DC3 mouthpiece.
The Band Post interviews him on his thoughts about being a soloist and the SSO concert, and his practice routines and tips for young players.
Did you always know that you wanted to become a Euphonium soloist from the start, or did you intend to explore different options for the instrument, such as playing in a section of the wind band or brass band?
Actually at the start I didn’t give it much thought, as I only wanted to play the Euphonium and perform music. However only until halfway through my years in NAFA, I realised what I wanted was to really express myself freely, tell my own story and share the joy of music with everyone. I’ve enjoyed every moment of performing be it solo, brass band, ensemble or wind band to date.
You will be featured in the upcoming President’s Young Performers Concert with the SSO. What can you say about this opportunity?
I’m very grateful for this opportunity; it was actually a very pleasant surprise. You rarely get to see a Euphonium soloist perform with a professional orchestra or if not none at all and this is really a huge milestone for the instrument in Singapore. It also fulfills one of my goal which is to bring the Euphonium into the orchestra setting locally and I’m very thankful for that.
Why did you choose Wilby’s Euphonium Concerto for the concert? Do you feel pressured considering that this is a Singapore Premiere?
Wilby’s Concerto for Euphonium is quite a popular work as it really brings out the full potential and the many characteristics of the instrument be it its beautiful singing sound or extremely fast moving passages. There is definitely a certain amount of pressure to it considering it’s a local premiere but I really enjoy playing this piece of music and I’m sure everyone will love it as well after hearing it.
You are currently the principal Euphonium player in the Lion City Brass Band. How are excited are you to be on this setup?
I’m extremely excited and it is really an honor to be sitting in my former teacher’s seat (shoutout to Mark Glover) as he was such a huge inspiration to me. I really enjoy playing in a brass band as the style and music is very different for someone like me who grew up with a wind band background, and there are plenty of things for me to learn and explore.
What is your practice routine like? What do you do in your free time?
“Practice what you can’t do and perform what you can, not the other way around“.
I always push myself to make the best out of all my practice sessions. I do quite a bit of technical training as it’s one of the main challenges of learning the Euphonium and I also frequently make sure I am on form with my fundamentals. On my break days I’ll usually go out with my friends and family, eat some good food. I very much enjoy travelling and I love taking walks with my dog!
What are your tips for young Euphonium players trying to start a career in music?
I always like to say “Dare to dream, put in your maximum effort and never give up, the sky is the limit and you never know what you are capable of” The journey may be tough but the results are worth all that hard work.
Also, maybe learn a little bit of conducting too … hehe.