A Symphony of Passion: Jun Hong's Musical Journey with Gramercy Music

A Musical Beginning

“Music has always been a part of my life,” begins Jun Hong, a distinguished violinist from Singapore. “Like many Singaporean children, my parents believed that learning music was essential for developing various skills such as expression, communication, discipline, and focus. They started my older sister on the piano, and I took up the violin so we could play together. I began my violin lessons at the age of seven, which is relatively late compared to many of my peers. However, my competitive nature drove me to progress rapidly, and I soon found myself at the NAFA School of Young Talents (SYT).”

Learning Through Challenges

Jun Hong’s musical journey was not without its challenges. He recalls a particularly vivid memory from his practice sessions: “I remember this one time when I was practicing a difficult section, and my mum kept stopping me, saying it sounded weird and needed fixing. I was stubborn and frustrated, insisting that it was supposed to sound like that. It wasn’t until I worked on it with my teacher for several weeks that I finally got it right. This experience taught me the importance of self-reflection and valuing others' opinions, realising that there's always room for improvement.”

Guided by Great Teachers

Reflecting on his mentors, Jun Hong acknowledges the significant impact they’ve had on his development. “I’ve been fortunate to study under some remarkable teachers, including Qian Zhou, Glenn Dicterow, Joseph Lin, Sylvia Rosenberg, Yap Shu Mei, and Michael Loh. Their guidance has been invaluable.”

Tackling Tchaikovsky

One of the most challenging pieces Jun Hong tackled in his early years was Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. “I was 16, and it was both technically demanding and required a nuanced, emotional expression. Loving the piece was key for me. I had been looking forward to playing it for years, and when my teacher finally said I was ready, I immersed myself in it. I listened to it constantly and practiced slowly and deliberately, analysing each difficult section. It was a rigorous but rewarding process.”

Advice for Aspiring Musicians

When asked for advice, Jun Hong offers, “Aim high and believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one else will. And every once in a while, remember why we are in music.”

Sources of Inspiration

Jun Hong draws inspiration from listening to great music and performers. “Great art takes us beyond our everyday lives. Experiencing the work of other great artists inspires me.”

Connection with Gramercy Music

Recalling his connection with Gramercy Music, Jun Hong shares, “Since young, I would get my violin strings at Gramercy. I remember visiting the Katong branch to stock up on accessories. More recently, Gramercy sponsored the bow prize, which I won at the Singapore International Violin Competition. It's a beautiful bow, handcrafted with numerous pink diamonds at the base.”

Aspiration and Impact

Jun Hong’s aspiration since graduating from Juilliard in 2013 has remained consistent: “To inspire more people to discover the joys of music, whether through performance or teaching.”

A Noteworthy Project

One of Jun Hong’s standout projects was a multi-art collaboration during COVID-19. “We worked on a series called More than Music with Jonathan Shin, creating new music synchronised with a reading of Haruki Murakami’s short story, ‘On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning.’ We brought in Singaporean actor Tim Wan to narrate, workshopped the music with Jonathan, recorded the audio, did a video shoot, and collaborated with animators to create visuals. It was an incredible experience, enhancing a script into an animated short film with music.”

The Future of Music

Looking ahead, Jun Hong sees the importance of social media for artists. “Many artists are increasing their reach and fame through social media rather than traditional competitions and artist management. This trend will only grow stronger.”

National Educational Developments

On the national educational front, Jun Hong notes, “The SSO’s recent collaborations with schools, where every student gets to experience a world-class symphony orchestra live at the Esplanade, is a fantastic development. Our national arts education is evolving to include more experiential learning.”

Accessibility in Concerts

Jun Hong is also encouraged by the trend of making concerts more accessible. “Performers are introducing music more often, and presenters are experimenting with new collaborations to enhance audience experiences. Learning from the entertainment industry is quite promising.”

Jun Hong's journey with Gramercy Music showcases not only his personal achievements but also the impact of a supportive community. His advice, inspirations, and future aspirations highlight the importance of believing in oneself and the transformative power of music. Join us in celebrating Jun Hong’s remarkable journey and the many other talented musicians within our Gramercy Music community. Through these stories, we aim to shine a spotlight on their dedication, passion, and artistry. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories that celebrate the heart and soul of our musical family.

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