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Classics Rule The Night

31 Jul


THE Actors Studio Bangsar presents Classical Twist, a classical music extravaganza featuring three of the finest exponents of the genre in Malaysia. They are acclaimed violinist Joanne Yeoh, pianist Dr Lim Pei Sien and cellist Dr Chong Yew Yoong.

The trio will perform, among others, Piano Trio In C Major KV548 by Mozart, Reverie by Claude Debussy, Trio by Charles Ives and La Muerte Del Angel by Astor Piazzolla.

Chong, who studied in the United States and Hong Kong as well as Canada and Italy, was principal cellist in the Venice Symphony, Hong Kong Symphonia, Meridian Symphony, Southern Illinois Symphony and Penang Symphony Orchestra.

Apart from being the music director for orchestras such as the Winter Haven, Lake Region, Winter Lake and Polk Orchestras in the United States and the Lam Woo Orchestra in Hong Kong, he has been featured in an American television programme Pianist At Work and collaborated with pop stars such as the late Lydia Shum Tin Har and Anita Mui Yin Fong of Hong Kong.

He also worked with classical artistes Yo Yo Ma, Orlando Cole, Stephen Hough and the Brodsky Quartet.
Chong is also a lecturer with the music faculty of University of Malaya.

Lim is a graduate of West Virginia University (WVU) in the United States, with a doctorate in Musical Arts. Her achievements include winning Pittsburg Concert Society’s 2002 Major Audition and WVU Young Artiste Competitions in 1998 and 2000. She is also the Outstanding Music Student of the WVU Music Alumni Association.

From 2001 to 2004, she served as an accompanist at American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria and Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, the United States. She is a lecturer at University College Sedaya International in Kuala Lumpur.

Yeoh obtained a First Class honours in music from Middlesex University, Britain in 1998. She was awarded a Luther And Ernest Gaunt Scholarship For Strings to study at University of Leeds.

During her studies, she also had a Foreign And Commonwealth Scholarship, in association with the British Council and University of Leeds.

While in Britain, Yeoh participated in various musical events, including the Aberswyth Music Festival in Wales and the Edinburgh Summer Festival and Aberdeen Music Festival in Scotland.

She was awarded the Outstanding Malaysian Award in 2004 and more recently Martell’s Rising Personality Award 2008.

In 2000, she participated in the prestigious Asian Youth Orchestra, travelling to Vietnam, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Two years later, she performed with Hong Kong pop king Jacky Cheung in his Music Odyssey Tour covering Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Brunei, the United States, Britain and Canada.

In 2003, she performed with Taiwanese singer David Tao in his Soul Power Tour. She launched her album Pulse Of The Metropolis in 2005.

Yeoh lectures at the music department of Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang and also sits in the panel of examiners for Trinity Guildhall London.

Venue: The Actors Studio in Bangsar Shopping Centre, Jalan Maarof, Kuala Lumpur. Time: 8.30pm on Aug 7. Tickets: RM78, RM68 and RM48. Call 03-2094-0400 or 012-365-8223.

New Straits Times

ORIENTAL WHIRL: From The Asian Grapevine

20 Apr

Takeshi's face is insured for a whopping RM11.2 million.
Takeshi’s face is insured for a whopping RM11.2 million.

Gossip doing the rounds in the Asian entertainment scene is as addictive as that in Hollywood.

Rain makes waves in Hollywood.
Rain makes waves in Hollywood.

WHAT’S hot and happening on the Asian entertainment scene? Easy, just trawl the World Wide Web or, if you are able to read Mandarin, peruse the colourful pages of our Chinese Press. A greater challenge would be to separate fact from fiction, gossip from malicious talk, even hearsay from neighbours. Here are some of the stories making their way around the Internet and elsewhere:

Hunk Takeshi Kaneshiro was recently paid a hefty sum to continue as a cosmetic brand’s spokesperson. Think eight figures. The advertiser, concerned that Takeshi’s long exposure to spotlights while filming some advertisements could damage his skin, also paid US$3.5 million (RM11.2 million) to insure his whole face.

Takeshi, who is of Japanese-Taiwanese parentage, will soon be seen in Japanese flick Sweet Rain. He had previously involved himself in a string of Chinese movies (including the mega-budget The Warlords and Red Cliff).

He plays a god of death who takes human form and spends time with people who only have a week left to live.

Hugely-popular Korean pop star Rain is basking in the Hollywood limelight. He’s been cast in Speed Racer, a live action film by the Wachowski brothers; of The Matrix trilogy fame. Apparently, they liked him so much in Ninja Assassin, which they also helmed, that they have given him a supporting role in the new flick.

Speed Racer will be released on May 8 and is based on Mach Go Go Go, the 1960s Japanese animation series by Tatsuo Yoshida.

His co-star in this fast-paced film is apparently Matthew Fox.

Rain will also be going all over the world to promote Speed Racer. He will be in Hong Kong on Wednesday, then Los Angeles (May 9), Berlin, London and Tokyo at the end of June.

It’s sad but Anita Mui still cannot rest in peace. The mother of the late Cantopop singer and actress has started a court battle to gain control of her daughter’s fortune, estimated at HK$100 million (RM41 million).

Tam Mei-kam, 84, is challenging the validity of the will – in which she gets HK$70,000 a month – that was executed on Dec 3, 2003, less than a month before Anita succumbed to cervical cancer at the age of 40.

The will left two properties to her close friend, designer Eddie Lau, and set aside US$130,000 for her nephews and nieces’ education. It also left money for a Buddhist association.

The singer’s mum wants the High Court to declare the will void and allow her to be the sole beneficiary of the estate.

Is Anita’s brother behind the old lady’s move? From what I have read, Anita did not want the bulk of her money to fall into his hands, preferring her mum to receive a regular monthly income instead of the millions she left behind.

Her sibling had apparently been a cause of much grief, borrowing from loan sharks and getting her into much trouble when she was alive.

The Beijing Olympics will seem incomplete without some input from our Eastern singing stars. Jacky Cheung, Hong Kong’s “God of Song”, girl band S.H.E. and Wilber Pan have apparently different versions of the Games’ theme song, Hong Bian Quan Qiu. Expect a hip-hop version from Pan!

Taiwan supermodel Lin Chiling is the sexiest. This, according to a recent issue of Taiwan FHM magazine, which kept a close watch on 100 curvy belles in the region. Hong Kong actress Carina Lau, 41, got 81st place.

Korean actor Lee Dong Gun has apparently gotten over the tragic loss of his brother – murdered Down Under last month – and will start filming a new drama serial titled Every Day Every Night. According to the grapevine, Lee will also be releasing a single in Japan titled Tsuki Akari.

If you have seen and enjoyed My Boyfriend is Type-B, which also stars his ex-girlfriend Han Ji Hye, then you would feel for him (more so since they dated for three years and the break-up happened just recently).

And of course, you want to read about the notorious Edison Chen, right? Well, he may have opted out of the Hong Kong entertainment industry after his sex photo misadventures but singer-actress Josie Ho Chao Yi (she’s casino tycoon Stanley Ho’s daughter) has a new MTV – with Edison in it.

Ho’s new music album is titled Elastic Rock and the MTV was apparently recorded last December. It was not released earlier due to the bad publicity generated by the Edison incident.

In the MTV (the song is titled Repay – how ironic), Edison plays a clown puppet and Josie Ho has to kiss him!

Meanwhile, Edison, according to one online story, may even be coming to Singapore to film a movie, with sultry Shu Qi no less.


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Jacky Cheung Sings, Dances, Acts; But He Is Above All A Father

7 Jun

Jacky Cheung may be known for his mild-mannered ways, but his eldest daughter, Yiu Wah, seems just the opposite – she’s one tough cookie.

When a call was made to Jacky’s home, his maid answered and put the caller on hold – only to have Jacky’s four-year-old daughter pick up the phone suddenly.

“My daddy is having an interview,” she said in fluent English. She was a young girl, but she spoke in a tone that was almost fierce.

“If you know my daddy, I’ll know you!” she concluded, before hanging up.

This was all rather unusual for a celebrity figure. It’s overprotective publicists – not overprotective daughters of pre-school age – who usually run their affairs.

The journalists from the local press present at the group conference call were, frankly, bemused.

But if this is what Jacky’s life is like, then the 43-year-old entertainer – who will be here on Sept 16 to perform in his hit musical, Snow.Wolf.Lake – is one grounded, down-to-earth celebrity.

The second attempt at calling Jacky proved more successful. The voice that said hello sounded friendly and familiar – it was, after all, the same voice that had belted out so many Chinese pop favourites.

“That was my older daughter. The younger one can barely speak,” said Jacky.

Yiu Qing, his second daughter with wife, former actress May Lo, was born earlier this year. The pregnancy had been kept secret from the media.

“Yiu Wah is at that curious stage now. If she’s offended any of you, please forgive her,” he said with a laugh.

Eight years ago, Jacky was in Singapore for the Cantonese version of Snow.Wolf.Lake. Back then, Nnadia Chan played the lead character, Snow, and Singaporean songbird Kit Chan was in the supporting role of Yu Feng.

It will be a different Snow.Wolf.Lake this year. Not only will it be in Mandarin, but Kit has also bowed out of the musical. Taiwanese sweetie pie Evonne Hsu will take over the lead role, while Nnadia will replace Kit.

Said Jacky of the changes: “When we knew Kit was going to leave the cast, it wasn’t just me who was sad.

“Actually, I wasn’t merely sad – I also had a headache deciding who could replace Kit. There were a lot of criteria.

“We had been rehearsing for quite long, so we needed someone who could just jump in and assume the role very quickly. We had to find someone who could hit the notes that Kit could, otherwise there would have to be a lot of changes made in a short time.”

Jacky said he was happy with the choice of Nnadia – “finding her was our luck” – but declined to say which other actresses had also been considered for the role.

Asked how similar the old and new versions of the musical might appear to the audience, he said: “In terms of image and the feel, there are differences. The music is also different.

“It’s been eight years already, so if people are still fixated with the version they first saw, their memory must be very good.”

His Snow.Wolf.Lake commitment aside, Jacky has just finished filming the movie-musical Perhaps Love, directed by Peter Chen and starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and China actress Zhou Xun.

And next on Jacky’s agenda – to his daughter’s delight: An appearance at the opening of Hong Kong’s Disneyland on Sept 12.

“Half of the reason I agreed to perform at Disneyland is my daughter. She’s a little too young to appreciate my films and concerts,” he said.

“Hopefully, there will be discounts on the rides for her!” –

Channel News Asia