Jazz in July: The Simplicius Cheong Quartet

Jazz in July: The Simplicius Cheong Quartet

9 July 2017
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Simplicius Cheong and his quartet pay tribute to his music heroes—the swing era pianists Errol Garner, Oscar Peterson and George Shearing.


Simplicius Cheong

Sydney composer and pianist Simplicius Cheong became a professional jazz pianist at 18, playing in various jazz venues in Singapore. He studied composition at the University of Western Australia (B. Mus) and graduate studies in music and education at the University of Sydney (M. Mus and M. Ed). He also read aesthetics at Macquarie University (MA).


A producer of music programmes at Radio & Television Singapore, and also at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Cheong has composed works for the ABC, including his Symphony no 1, three flute sonatas and various chamber works. His Movement for 6 Instruments was premiered live over the Minnesota Public Radio in 1982 by the Australian Chamber Ensemble and his recent composition Jazz Movement for Flute & Piano was given its world premiere in London at the Purcell Room. As an educator, Simplicius has conducted courses in jazz, composition and aesthetics in various tertiary institutions including the University of New South Wales. Turning 75 soon, Cheong now divides his time between music and a daily swim in the ocean near his home in Sydney.


Rit Xu

Rit Xu is a Singapore-based award-winning flutist, composer, educator and recording artist. Xu has emerged as a leading jazz musician of his generation and is gaining international recognition for his lyrical, thoughtful and introspective musical voice on the flute. He was recognised for his finesse as a jazz improviser by winning the NFA Jazz Artist Competition, the first Southeast Asian to win a solo jazz competition in the US. Xu is an Honours graduate in classical flute performance form the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at National University of Singapore and is equally at home in music ranging from Back to the Blues and beyond. He is an active jazz musician and an integral sideman with Jeremy Monteiro’s band and other ensembles. He played all the flute solos of the soundtrack of the epic Taiwanese movie Warriors of the Rainbow, which won the 48th Golden Horse Award for best original film score.


Felix Phang

After graduating in Jazz Composition from Berklee College of Music, Felix Phang continued to explore and compose music in a wide range of styles. His education in America opened the doors to a whole new dimension in the classically trained violinist’s mind, prompting Phang to propagate the exciting and boundless world of jazz as part of this personal creed. Now based in Singapore, Phang has played for diverse groups including world music outfit Qilin Group and European jazz-inspired quartet FRED. As an educator, band conductor and music tutor, Phang hopes to influence the next generation to appreciate, enjoy and play music as an outlet of expression and skill to be valued. He is working on the Freedom String Movement with Kailin Yong to help classically trained string players make music “outside the box”.


Tama Goh

Apart from being an outstanding percussionist for all kinds of music from jazz, Latin, classical to contemporary, Tama Goh is also a producer for major concerts, Singapore TV stations, music festivals and special events. He has performed with Jeremy Monteiro, Sandy Lam, Francis Yip, FIR, Laura Fygi, Ronald Keating, Chris Brubeck, James Moody, Ernie Watts, Carmen Bradford, Eric Manriental, Eldee Young, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra and the Singapore Festival Orchestra. In addition to his role as music advisor to Mus’Art Wind Orchestra and Mus’Art Percussion Ensemble, Goh also mentors young artists and aspiring teachers in music performance and visual arts.