JUDGE ADJUDICATORS

CHIEF ADJUDICATOR

DR. RAUL M. SUNICO

            Raul M. Sunico graduated from the University of the Philippines with the degrees of Bachelor of Music (cum laude), Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and Master of Statistics. A scholarship from former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos through the Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines enabled him to finish his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, major in Piano Performance from the New York University. In 2005, he was also conferred a Doctor of Humanities degree (honoris causa) by the Far Eastern University.

 

            Sunico won the silver medal in the 1979 Viotti International Piano Competition in Vercelli, Italy, was a finalist in the 1979 Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy and received the Henry Cowell Prize in the 1980 University of Maryland International Piano Competition in the United States. He has also served on the juries of the Bergen Philharmonic Competition in New Jersey, Isidor Bajic Memorial Piano Competition in Novi Sad, Serbia; Piyabhand Sanitwongse Piano Competition in Bangkok, Thailand; the Manila Symphony Competition, the Jeffrey Ching Piano Competition and the Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines Competition in Manila. 

            A TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines) Awardee for Music in 1986, Sunico was likewise conferred a 1996 PAMANA Presidential Award for Overseas Filipinos, and received the 1995 Ceres Alabado Award for Children’s Books, 1998 UP Professional Award, 1998 Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award, given by the City of Manila, 1999 KATHA Award for Best Solo Instrumental Recording, given by the Philippine Recording Industry, 2003 Diamond Jubilee Award by the U.P. Chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society, 2005 Aliw Award as Best Male Classical Instrumentalist, 2006 Awit Award for Best Instrumental Recording, 2008 UST Dangal Outstanding Artist Award, 2012 Outstanding Bulakeno Award, 2013 SM Global Pinoy Award, 2014 Quezon City Diamond Jubilee Award, 2015 Presidential Order of Merit, and the FCCP Award for Excellence in Music from the Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines in 2017. He was also conferred the Commendatore Award (Order of the Star of Italy) by the President of the Republic of Italy in April 2017.  He has also recently been conferred as a Steinway Artist.

 

            Sunico has given solo recitals in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Kosovo, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Indonesia, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Qatar, Sweden, England, and the Philippines. He was the soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Transylvania Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), Ottawa Chamber Orchestra (Canada), Towson Community Orchestra (Maryland, USA), Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Normal University Wind Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonia, Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and most major Philippine orchestras.

 

            Sunico has recorded around fifty compact discs, including his piano transcriptions of Filipino folk songs and kundimans, concertos by Grieg, Saint-Saens, Ravel, and Lucino Sacramento; solo classical pieces; popular American songs set to piano; chamber and duo piano music, and original compositions. He had written piano arrangements of Philippine songs inHimig and “Mga Awit ng Himagsikan”, and is currently the music author of the textbook series “Musika at Sining” for grades 3 to 6 used in public schools. He had played the world premiere of the two piano concertos of Lucino Sacramento and a number of compositions of Jeffrey Ching. He holds the singular distinction of being the only pianist in the world to perform the four piano concertos of Sergei Rachmaninoff in a single evening on two occasions (2003 and 2019), as well as the three piano concertos of Tchaikovsky in a similar setting (2015).

 

            Sunico was the President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) from 2010 to 2017, in which capacity he had also sat in as the head of the Philippine delegation to the ASEAN Senior Officials Meetings on Culture and the Arts (SOMCA), Board Member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA). He is currently the Chairman of the Doctoral Studies Program of St. Paul College of Music and the Performing Arts, Governor of the Federation for Asian Cultural Promotions (FACP), President of the Klassikal Music Foundation (KMF), Board member of the Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines (FCCP), Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines (JSSP), Philippine Italian Association (PIA), Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT), Society for Cultural Enrichment Inc. (SCEI), Performing Arts and Recreation Center (PARC) Foundation, Sunico Foundation for Arts and Technology, and is a faculty member of the  University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music where he was the Dean from 2002 - 2016.

Philippines

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

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.

ADJUDICATORS

DR. SYLVIA WANG

Malaysia / U.S.

Sylvia Wang has performed as soloist and collaborative pianist across the U. S., Europe, Asia, Central America, Australia and Argentina. She has also recorded for the Newport Classic, CRI, Boston Records and Northeastern labels and been a winner and finalist for numerous awards and competitions. These include the Royal Overseas Music Festival in London, the AVANTI award leading to a debut in London's Purcell Room, Chamber Music Yellow Springs in Ohio and the J. S. Bach International Piano Competition in Washington, D. C. 


Ms. Wang is currently on the faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and has served as adjudicator, guest teacher or clinician for such organisations as the Music Teachers National Association in the U. S., the Central Conservatory in Beijing, China, the Centre for Young Musicians in London, the Chautauqua Institution in New York and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia. She has also taught at the Vianden International Festival in Luxembourg. Her students and former students have won prizes and awards at competitions such as the Tokyo International Piano Duo Competition (Grand Prize and bronze medal) the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition,

the Shostakovich Piano Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Carnegie Millennium Book Project and the Concert Artists Guild. Her former students also occupy teaching and accompanying positions at many institutions across the United States. 

 

Her educational background spans 3 continents, starting in Penang, Malaysia, where she was born. At the age of 17, she embarked on formal studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London as a recipient of the prestigious Associated Board scholarship. At the Academy, she earned the highest award in solo performance, the Recital Diploma. Thereafter, she attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where she graduated with the M. M. and D. M. A. degrees with top honours. 

She is also the recent author of Memorisation and Music, published through iTunes, as well as its Kindle counterpart, Memorisation and the Pianist. In recognition of "distinction in the field," she was conferred an honorary Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

ARYO WICAKSONO

Indonesia / U.S.

Hailed by the SF Examiner after his San Francisco recital debut as a "virtuoso talent, offering an excellent combination of solid technique and sensitive expressiveness," pianist Aryo Wicaksono has performed as a featured soloist and chamber musician in venues and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe - and was the first Western classical music artist to hold a visiting artist-in-residence position at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.  Recent highlights include the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto with Indonesia’s Nusantara Symphony Orchestra, under Hikotaro Yazaki; Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto with United Arab Emirates Philharmonic Orchestra, under Philipp Maier; Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto with ISI Yogyakarta Symphony and Kanako Abe; Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto, in a sold-out orchestral debut with Russia’s St. Petersburg State Symphony; Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto in Tucson with Civic Orchestra of Tucson; Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with QUO Orchestra NYC under Julie Desbordes; Liszt’s Totentanz S. 126 for piano and orchestra with Surabaya Symphony Orchestra and Litha Symphony of New York; and a 10-city tour of the U.S. East Coast with Dance Theatre of Harlem. 

He was recently invited on a panel at the World Bank (Washington DC) to speak to emerging leaders, thinkers, and diplomats about the role and relevance of arts-education in the sustainable 21st-century society. 

 

He served on the jury for the 2nd Thailand Mozart International Piano Competition (June 2012), 20th Serbia International Competition for Young Pianists (March 2016), and Bali Open International Piano Competition (September 2019). As an educator, his former students have been accepted with full scholarships into prestigious institutions such as the Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory - Johns Hopkins University, Yong-Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, and University of British Columbia Vancouver. As a US State Department Artist Grant Recipient, he performed concerts – masterclasses – lectures in four cities in Serbia (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sremska Mitrovica, and Sabac), in collaboration with Multikultivator Serbia and various conservatories. 

 

A grateful and thankful graduate of the Colburn School and the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and Dance, he recently received the 2016-2017 Honors Excellence in the Arts Award and also a New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow Recipient. He was the Music Director of Improv Asylum NYC, and also worked in the corporate law world, as part of Morgan Lewis.

LILY CHIAM

Brunei

Lily Chiam, Musical Talent, Composer, Educator, Entrepreneur and Event Producer, brings passion, energy & excitement to all her projects. An accomplished Pianist, Lily has performed in Canada, United States, UK, China, Japan, India, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. She is a music composer of 4 albums and the author of the highly effective EMGenius&Fun Fast-Track Toddlers Development Programs.

 

Lily is the regional representative of the South East Asia Directors of Music (SEADOM) and a Music Consultant to many music institutions. She has also served as an adjudicator for many international music festivals and is often invited by Corporate Firms as an Event Producer and Motivational Speaker. Currently, she is the Director and founder of Expression Music Academy in Brunei (3 branches: Kiulap, Airport Mall and Kuala Belait) and Expression Music Inc at Makati, the Philippines as well as License Provider to another music establishment in Serangoon Gardens in Singapore.

She is also the Manager of Shian Li Chiam, ‘Junior Grand Champion Instrumentalist of the World’ at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California in 2014) and Eden Chiam (Top First Place of the Pop Adult Voice at the 4th Hong Kong International Music Festival). 

 

In 1992 Lily went to Canada to North America Baptist College. She became one of the personal students of the famous late pianist Dr. Lejano in Edmonton and did her Bachelor of Arts in Music at University of Alberta, Canada. She successfully obtained a double degree in AAR Music and BA. Lily started performing tours in both North America (Canada and the USA) as well as Asia.

CHOI HEE JUNG

Republic of Korea

Hee Jung Choi, a Korean pianist residing in Malaysia, obtained her Master's Degree from Western Illinois University where she was awarded the Graduate Assistant Award. While at WIU, Hee Jung has won the concerto competition as a soloist one year and as a trio ensemble in the year after. Subsequently, she was admitted into the University of Iowa post-graduate program as a recipient of the prestigious John Simms Piano Award and Graduate Assistantship. Prior to that, Miss Choi also has extensive performing experience as a soloist as well as a chamber musician. While studying at WIU, Hee Jung was chosen to go on tour with the University Wind Ensemble performances. She was also the official Suzuki collaborative pianist for the Western Illinois area in its Centennial Celebration Concert.

 

In Malaysia, Hee Jung has collaborated with many local musicians and participated in the 1st Asia Grand Piano Concert held at KL Convention Center and UMIMC Concert. She has also been invited to adjudicate many regional piano competitions namely The Asia Music Competition, Hong Kong Youth Performing Arts Festival held in Malaysia; The Symphonia's, Star Quarto’s and Elyon’s Music Competitions in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Besides performing, Miss Choi has a great passion in the area of teaching as well. In Malaysia, Hee Jung is a much in demand piano tutor where she has taught in UM and UPSI. Currently, she is an adjunct lecturer at UCSI University. Many of her students have been award winners in local as well as international competitions. Hee Jung’s principal teachers include Dr. Michael Campbell, Dr. Uriel Tsachor, Hyung Ja Kim, Joong Won Koh and Hyo Sil Kang.

KOK KEE BOON

Malaysia

Kok Kee Boon was known for his aptitude to collaborate well with other musicians. He has performed in recitals and music festivals in Malaysia, China, USA and many other countries. He was the winner of the 1999 Malaysia Top Ten Outstanding Youth Culture Awards, winner of the Sydney Conservatorium Piano Competition and the Governor of the Asian Cultural Promotion Association Malaysia. 

 

Kee Boon has 35 years of acting career in production, performance, artist brokerage, art management with extensive experience in the production of opera, stage plays, concerts, art festivals, etc. He was the first Malaysian producer to premiere shows in Singapore Esplanade, Beijing Poly Theatre, Bangkok Siam Paragon, Kuala Lumpur National Theatre, Twin Towers Plenary Hall, Taipei Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Genting International Ballroom, Manila ALIW Grand Theatre, Indonesian Hailey Theatre, etc. These theatre projects have successfully presented a box office full of rave reviews.

In addition, Kee Boon has actively involved in performing arts for 35 years in Southeast Asia and won numerous awards. Production includes Carmen Opera, Butterfly Lady, Merry Widow, Bat Light Opera, Camellia, Tosca, Mozart DON GIOVANNI, etc. As he introduced Beijing Peking Opera, Jiangsu Kunqu District, Shanghai and Henan Acrobatics, Hebei Song and Dance Troupe and other Chinese performing arts to perform in Southeast Asia. Kee Boon has contributed on leading European and American art groups to tour Southeast Asia including the American Philadelphia Symphony, the Boys Choir, the Nordic Symphony, the Spanish Choir, the Portuguese Choir, the Czech Chamber Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Dance Group, the Broadway New York Men's Ballet, and the Broadway Musical Sisters, etc.

SEK THONGSUWAN

Thailand

Sek Thongsuwan, a Thai pianist who grew up in Phayao, the northern province of Thailand, in the agricultural family. At the age of 17, he received a full scholarship from AFS Thailand to participate in a 1-year exchange programme in Russia. Before the completion of the program, he was given an audition opportunity for the Musical Institute that was named after Sobinova. Being able to pass through the audition, he went back to Russia for a month after his exchange programme to pursue his musical studies. Sek graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Classical Piano 3 years later. After his degree programme, Sek went for the entrance competition of the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, the finest and oldest music academy in Russia named after Rimsky-Korsakov. 

 

Under the tutor of his mentor, Professor Tatiana Mihailovna Zagorovskaya, a winner awarded pianist and honoured artist of Russia, Sek graduated from his postgraduate degree (SPECIALIST) in classical piano at Petersburg Conservatory N.A. Rimsky Korsakov, Russia. Sek was also awarded the best pathology in music and pianist award in Russia. He then returned to Thailand to visit his family and friends as well as giving performances in classical music concerts. He is the first Thai to be accepted at the illustrious music repository. 

His latest highlights include the performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 for Her Royal Highness, Princess Chulabhorn, the Princess Srisavagavadhana of Thailand with the invitation by Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. Sek has also been invited to perform in a special concert in Auckland, A Tribute to the Golden Anniversary of KM King Rama 9, during Thailand's visit to New Zealand. Audiences from both Thailand and New Zealand were much impressed by Sek's performance and his interpretation of the Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff's masterpiece, Piano Concerto No. 2, following by an encore of his improvisation on a New Zealand's traditional Theme, "Pokarekare Ana". 

 

A life turning point of Sek's musical career begins here as his reputation spread across Thailand's classical music scene, as well as in the Jazz-Blues piano music field. He later received scholarships from different organisations in Thailand, seeing this as a chance to flaunt his talent to a broader range of audiences. Besides his performance career, Sek has a passion for music teaching. With all his experiences in performing and education, Sek is highly demanded in Thailand as a piano teacher where he had been teaching at Mahidol University. 

 

Currently, Sek is a Yamaha artist who consults by giving masterclasses to the piano teachers in Thailand. He served as the jury for YTMF (Yamaha Thailand Music Festival 2015) and Preliminary Round for Hong Kong International Music Festival (2019). As an educator, his former students have been accepted with full scholarships into prestigious institutions such as The Mozarteum University, San Francisco Conservatory of music and Young-Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore. In addition, many of Sek's pupils are winners awarded in local, as well as international competitions, for instance in America, Japan, China, England, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, etc. 

KENNETH TEH KIEN HUAT

Malaysia

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 4thASEAN 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.

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 performance. 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 an adjunct lecturer at UCSI University.

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