JUDGE ADJUDICATORS

CHIEF ADJUDICATOR

PROFESSOR ARMEN BABAKHANIAN

Armenia

A prize-winner at several of the world's most prestigious international piano competitions including the Leeds, the Van Cliburn, the Guardian Dublin, the William Kappell, the Gina Bachauer, and the World Piano Competition, Armen Babakhanian has captured the imagination of the audiences and the critics alike through the intensity and honesty of his performances. Mr. Babakhanian has given recitals in the USA, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Spain. He has appeared as soloist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Irish National Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra (USA), Dallas Symphony, Utah Symphony, with Saint Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov, with Moscow Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra under Yurovsky, Slovenian Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic among others. Festival appearances include the Aspen, Interlochen, Santander and Baalbec Music festivals. Babakhanian’s performance of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet with the Takács Quartet during Santander Festival in Spain was named the best chamber music performance of the festival. Mr. Babakhanian has recorded for the ASV, Real Sound and Sigmund Classics labels. His performances have been

broadcast on BBC, PBS (USA), ORF (Austria) and RAI (Italy) television networks. His recording of the Tchaikovsky piano sonatas has received rave reviews in the European press. Mr.Babakhanian’s recent recording of Complete Piano Works by Aram Khachaturian awarded the “Best Classical Album of the Year” at the Armenian Award 2007. In addition to his performing career, Mr. Babakhanian has served as jury member for several international piano competitions, including the Gina Bachauer, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Khachaturian, Maria Callas, “Armenia”, Putra and most recently Brescia International Piano competitions. He has taught numerous master-classes in Russia, United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Iceland and the United States. Mr. Babakhanian is currently Professor at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, where he also received his musical education under Professor Anahit Bogdanyan. In 2012 Armen Babakhanian became Dean of Piano Department at Yerevan State Conservatory. In 2013 Mr.Babakhanian became Founder and Artistic Director of “Meknark” State Target Program of Talent Developing for Armenian young extraordinary musicians. He recently has been launched historical recording project “Anthology of Armenian piano music” which includes more than 60 CD’s and covers almost entire heritage of Armenian piano music within two centuries. During last concert seasons Mr. Babakhanian has been scheduled to perform recitals and concerto appearances as well as give master classes in Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, Finland, Lithuania, Mexico, Guatemala, Ukraine, Russia, U.S.A, Thailand and Malaysia. In 2008 Armen Babakhanian was awarded Gold Medal by Ministry of Culture for great contribution in Spyurk-Armenia relations. In 2009 Mr. Babakhanian was awarded Artist Emeritus from the President of Republic of Armenia. In 2020, for the first time in Armenia Mr. Babakhanian launched "1st Harmonium OnlinePlus International Music Competition," being in a role of Artistic Director.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & ADJUDICATOR

PROFESSOR LEE YIN HWA

Malaysia

A native of Malaysia, Lee Yin Hwa, obtained his Bachelors and Master's from Western Illinois University, and a one-year post-graduate study at Boston University under the Dean’s scholarship. Yin Hwa was the 3rd prize winner at the 1st Brevard Music Festival piano competition in North Carolina and concerto competition winner at Western Illinois University. Among his principal teachers include Prof. Anthony Di Bonaventura, Prof. Dr. Michael Campbell, James Magsig, Rickie Oui and Serena Chow.

 

Yin Hwa has worked with international musicians such as Andre Watts, Aldo Mancinelli, Jerome Rose, Bruce Murray, Florence Kirsch and the Ying quartet. He has collaborated with the WIU concert choir, University Orchestra and WIU wind ensemble. He has also been invited to perform in the Asia Grand Piano Concert held in Seoul, Korea. 

 

In Malaysia, Yin Hwa appeared regularly as a soloist on music festivals and concerts. He is also an avid chamber musician and has collaborated with MPO chamber groups. Together with two other

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distinguished local musicians Dr. Joanne Yeoh and Dr. Yew Yoong Chong they have founded the Mutiara Piano Trio. Besides, Yin Hwa collaborates regularly with his wife Hee Jung Choi as a piano duo in concerts. He is also a well sought after clinician and adjudicator. Most recently, he was invited to adjudicate regional and international competitions such as The Asia Music Competition (Taiwan) and HKYPAF; The Symphonia’s and Star Quarto’s Music competitions in Indonesia. Currently, Yin Hwa serves as a member of the piano faculty of UCSI.

ADJUDICATOR

PROFESSOR DR. P’NG TEAN HWA 

Malaysia

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A native of Petaling Jaya, P’ng Tean Hwa is currently Professor and Director of the Institute of Music at UCSI University in Kuala Lumpur, where he has served since 1997. At UCSI University, he is a long-standing member of the University Examination Board, a member of the University Council in 2016–2020, and has served as the Chair of the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee in 2007–2010. He has played an active role in establishing UCSI University’s International Piano Festival and Competition (serving as the chair of the judging panel for the Finals round) as well as the Piano Pedagogy Conference, which are held biennially in alternate years since 2014.
Alongside his teaching duties and leadership roles at the university, Tean Hwa has been actively involved with performances, both locally and abroad. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous public concerts as a soloist as well as collaborative pianist in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Hungary, and the USA. As a clinician, he has presented numerous lectures, workshops, and seminars to both piano teachers and the general audience, and conducted many piano masterclasses nationally and internationally. He is frequently invited to serve as a guest examiner

and also to adjudicate competitions, including the 2nd Thailand Mozart International Competition, the Ars Nova Competition in Singapore, the Asia International Piano Competition in Taiwan and in South Korea, and the 5th German Irmler (Qingdao) International Piano Competition in Qingdao, China. He has also been invited to contribute as a blind peer reviewer for several music journals.


Tean Hwa holds a doctoral degree in piano performance and literature from West Virginia University, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in piano performance from Western Illinois University, and the FTCL and LTCL diplomas in piano performance from Trinity College of Music. His principal piano teachers include Mdm. Lucy Loong, Mr. Eric Leong, the late Dr. James Vadiveloo, Mdm. Margaret Yoong, Prof. Emeritus Dr. Michael Campbell and Prof. Dr. Peter Amstutz.


In addition, Tean Hwa also holds a chemical engineering degree from Universiti Malaya and a Postgraduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching from UCSI University. He is a life member of the national scholastic honor society of Phi Kappa Phi in the USA.

MORAG YONG

Malaysia

Morag Yong was born in Kuching, Malaysia. She entered the Royal College of Music (RCM), London to study with Peter Element. After graduating with First Class and also obtaining the ARCM Teaching Diploma, Morag continued at RCM to obtain the Master of Music degree in Performance Studies. Whilst at college, she won numerous prizes including the Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Prize for the most outstanding Graduation Recital. Her education in London has been made possible with the generous support of the Sarawak Foundation, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and The Charles Napper Trust.

Morag has considerable experience in solo, accompaniment, and chamber music performances. Since returning to Malaysia, she has devoted her time to music education, having taught at Yamaha Academy of Arts & Music and University Malaya. She teaches privately, besides examining and conducting masterclasses. She has also been invited to adjudicate in competitions including the 2018 Yamaha Piano Prize, The 2018 Hong Kong Asia Pacific  Piano Competition, and The 2019 Malaysian Piano Competition. Morag is currently adjunct lecturer at UCSI University.

KENNETH TEH KIEN HUAT

Malaysia

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A native of Petaling Jaya, Kenneth is a graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory named after Tchaikovsky, where he studied under Professor Natalia Trull. Whilst in Russia, he performed regularly in Moscow and St Petersburg. He collaborated in various ensembles with musicians from the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) and the chamber orchestra “Moskoviya”, and also made appearances on stage with singers and soloists from the Bolshoi Theatre, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre, Novaya Opera Theatre, and the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre. 

After graduating in 2010, he made his Malaysian debut at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas where he performed with the Prima Vista String Quartet (Poland) at the Gala Opening Ceremony of the 4th ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition. Since then, he has been actively performing around the country as a soloist, chamber pianist, and accompanist. Kenneth is currently a part-time lecturer at UCSI University.