Soh Swee Kiat was a young self-taught sheng musician while serving as the sectional leader in the Chinese orchestra of Po Chinese High School Batu Pahat in Malaysia.
In 2012, he ventured to Singapore to pursue his studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and became the pioneering sheng major in the Diploma in Music Performance programme. Under the tutelage of Mr Guo Chang Suo, he earned his Bachelor of Music (Honours) in Sheng from NAFA in 2017.
Soh’s exceptional talent was recognised when he participated in the 2014 National Chinese Music Competition (NCMC), where he clinched the first prize in the solo open category and the third prize in the ensemble category. This achievement earned him an invitation from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra to perform a solo concerto at the prestigious NCMC Prize Winner Concert.
Soh has represented Singapore at esteemed events such as the International Music Festival Sharq Taronarali in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the ASEAN Youth Music Camp in Sagada, Philippines. In 2016, he captivated audiences with the premiere of Fantasia of Two Brothers during the concert Shengscapes at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.
Soh’s association with Ding Yi Music Company commenced in 2015, and he became its sheng musician in 2017. He is also the resident bass-sheng musician in Resonance, a semi-professional sheng ensemble that’s one of its kind in Southeast Asia.
With a rhythmic and cheerful demeanour, Soh aims to always perform with boundless joy and an infectious love for the art on stage. “Music should be accessible to others, not just confined to the musicians themselves,” says the ardent believer in the power of music to resonate with diverse audiences.
The self-professed “video game nerd” credits Nobuo Uematsu – the renowned Japanese composer and musician best known for his orchestral arrangements in the Final Fantasy series – for his love for video game music.
Soh enthuses: “The Final Fantasy: A New World was a live orchestral concert series of iconic music by Nobuo Uematsu and other composers from the video games. I would love for Ding Yi to try this genre some time!”