Lim Soon Lee | Advisor
Lim Soon Lee was appointed the Music Director/Resident Conductor of the National University of Singapore Concert Orchestra in April 1994. Since then, he has managed the Orchestra of approximately 100 members, comprising undergraduates, alumni, staff and friends. Under his leadership and drive, the Orchestra was inaugurated as the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra in September 1995.
The Orchestra's overall performance level and its successful concerts can be attributed to Soon Lee's labour and love for music. His association with NUS Centre for the Arts (previously known as the Centre for Musical Activities), dates back to 1980 when he assisted the violin section of the then Concert Orchestra. As a violin tutor from 1980 to 1983 and again from 1987 to 1990, he helped lay the foundation of the Orchestra in its early formative years.
Soon Lee's musical journey began at the age of eight with the piano and violin under the tutelage of Singapore musicians and instructors: Goh Soon Tioe, Tan Kah Chin, Tan Kian Seng, Moses Wang, and Vivien Goh. He obtained his Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music for violin and viola in 1981 and in the same year, was awarded the First Prize in the Viola Open Section at the Singapore National Music Competition.
In 1983, under the Public Service Commission/Singapore Symphony Orchestra Scholarship, Soon Lee graduated from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, New York, with a Bachelor of Music (Distinction). He studied the viola under the world-renowned violists, Atar Arad and Francis Tursi, and completed a two-year conducting course with Professor David Effron and Professor Donald Hunsberger. In the summers of 1984 and 1986, he served as Principal Violist at Germany's Heidelberg Music Festival and was awarded a scholarship to study the viola under Kim Kashkashian at the Lausanne Academy of Music in Switzerland for his summer programme in 1986.
Soon Lee was with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) from 1987 to 1997, during which he served as the Sub-Principal Violist from 1989 to 1997. He was Singapore's only representative member of the 1988 World Philharmonic Orchestra in Montreal, Canada. He was the Assistant Conductor of the Singapore Youth Orchestra (SYO) from 1990 to June 1997 and was also responsible for the SYO Training Ensemble.
In 1983, he conducted the SSO at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 17th SEA Games at the Singapore National Stadium as well as at the SSO's Family Concert and open-air concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. In 1996, he conducted the SSO at the World Trade Organisation First Ministerial Conference's Farewell Concert for 4000 delegates at the Sentosa Musical Fountain. He conducted the Asian Youth Orchestra during the National Day Parade at the National Stadium in August 1997.
In 1995, Soon Lee was awarded the Jean Frederic Perrenoud Prize with Certificate of Distinction in Orchestral Conducting at the 4th Vienna International Music Competition. He was also the finalist for the Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award conferred by the Orchid Jayceettes of Singapore in recognition of his contribution to the social development of Singapore.
Soon Lee was invited to conduct the New World Symphony Orchestra at Miami in April 2000. He also conducted the Mozart's Requiem at the Dennis Keene Choral Festival, 27 July to 7 August 2000, with the Keat Singers in Kent, Connecticut.
In October 2001, Soon Lee was selected to conduct the Plyzen Radio Symphony Orchestra (of the Czech Republic), to perform works by Jean Sibelius at the RSO Concert Hall during the International Sibelius Symposium Masterclass with Finland's renowned conductor Jorma Panula.
In 2005, Soon Lee was appointed conductor of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.