Guitar Virtuosity

Postcards from Home – Kevin Loh @ Esplanade Concourse

Kevin Loh (Guitar, Solo)
Josephene Teo (Piano)
Rit Xu (Flute)

Esplanade Concourse

“1st Half”

J.S. Bach
1st Cello Suite in G Major: Prelude

Malcolm Arnold
Serenade for Guitar and Strings
with Pianist Josephene Teo

Roland Dyens
Fuoco (3rd Mvt) from Libra Sonatine

Astor Piazolla
Histoire du Tango: Mvts 1 (Bordel 1900) & 3 (Nightclub 1960)
with Flautist Rit Xu

“2nd Half”
J.S. Bach
3rd Cello Suite in C Major: Prelude

Malcolm Arnold
Serenade for Guitar and Strings
with Pianist Josephene Teo

Paulo Bellinati

Astor Piazolla
Histoire du Tango: Mvts 2 (Cafe 1930) & 4 (Concert d’aujourd’hui)
with Flautist Rit Xu

Quique Sinesi
Cielo Abierto


It is not every night when the featured artiste of the Esplanade Concourse Performance prepares a different programme for each of the two timeslots (7.15pm and 8.15pm), or, as Kevin Loh put it, the 1st and 2nd halves. For one clueless about guitar repertoire, the opening piece of Bach was a familiar welcome before the unleashing of the 6-stringed fireworks.

Lauded on paper (or concert-quality cardboard) as the youngest Grade 8 recipient, 2010 HSBC Youth Excellence Award, and last-but-certainly-not-least, one of the elite few students in the Yehudi Menuhin School (this is classical guitar, to boot), Kevin Loh assumes the concert bravado, but maintains the boyish charm, of the 14-year-old that he supposedly is. Lesser mortals like this author can hold no claim to such a stage presence. Technically, there is nothing much to comment on – just as a silent customer at a restaurant is too busy eating to complain. Apart from a few slips (I’ve tripped more on my feet than that in a day walking on flat ground), there were 3 flaws that stood out.

Firstly, the transitions and timings sometimes seemed a little hurried, although understanding that would come with time, and time is on Kevin’s side – perhaps one must experience enough time passing before one can truly grasp its significance. Taking breaths and taking time is something a musician (and anyone else, in fact) has to learn to do naturally, especially in front of a crowd or an audience, whereby one unapologetically trades in the time (of all these attentive people) for the (rich but indefinable) return of  the elusive temporal magic that only a live performance can deliver.

Secondly, the pianist and the guitarist needed to be able to see each other. This can solved by stage hands.

Lastly, the flautist probably had to have his microphone slightly further away (his articulation was a little too amplified).

(Yes, this author is trying to be a little bit funny with the last two lines.)


Off the stage, Kevin was friendly and personable, and I say this not just because he hand-wrote the following (titles of the pieces which I couldn’t catch)

He even suggested a guitar trio piece for listening – Baiao de Gude


on a postcard I picked off a rack in NUH earlier today:

That’s my wife in the background























because I had no spare writing paper and my phone battery was dead. The only thing that was lacking on it was his autograph. I’ll get it someday (when I actually pay to see his performance, or something).

Interestingly, (and kudos to the Suzuki Method), Kevin’s father taught him from a young age (~5 or 6 years old) using the Suzuki method, as I gleaned (I hope accurately) from the bits of conversation that was floating around.

Long story short, I hope to see more of Kevin, whether in the concert hall, in small-scaled recitals, or online.

As for the latter, he is already on youtube.


Kevin also has a blog. His latest post features Cielo Abierto by Quique Sinesi.



Edit on Aug 19:

Addendum: I found out belatedly that the concert was titled, aptly on hindsight, Postcards from Home
Errata: Musician names were corrected


About jfkwt

A little person on a little island in a little planet

Posted on August 16, 2012, in Concert Review, Music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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