Chen Ning joined Ding Yi Music Company as a part-time musician before transitioning to a full-time position in 2022, excited by the prospect of exploring a diverse range of musical repertoires and learning from more experienced colleagues.
She started learning the erhu at the tender age of 10, under the tutelage of Xu Wenjing. Her keen interest in the instrument led her to join the Chinese orchestras in Nanyang Primary School and, subsequently, Nanyang Girls’ High School, where she was appointed sectional leader and concertmaster.
Chen holds a Diploma in Erhu Performance awarded by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and the Central Conservatory of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from NAFA.
She has performed with various ensembles and orchestras over the years, including the Toa Payoh West Community Club Chinese Orchestra and the Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra, where she was the Zhonghu Sectional Leader until 2023.
“I’ve always felt the sound produced by the erhu is very similar to the human voice. Once, when I felt down, I took up my erhu to play and felt it really captured the emotions I felt. It made me feel so much better after,” she shares.
She enjoys exploring classical music from the Romantic and Impressionist periods, as well as Mandopop songs. “I enjoy listening to different genres of music, as this ensures that my knowledge does not only end at Chinese chamber music,” she says, adding that Jay Chou’s songs and others in the Chinese style or 中国风 suit the erhu well.
Chen also has a professional-level DipABRSM in piano performance and is currently pursuing her LRSM in advanced performance and teaching.
“Music should always be sincere and come from the heart,” says Chen. “Playing without sincerity will not be able to touch the hearts of our audiences, and I feel that will be deemed an unsuccessful concert.”