Energy is Ng Pei-Sian among strangers. The cellist strides into the studio, with sunshine smile and gangly gait. But the room hushes when he performs on his 1764 Giovanni Antonio Marchi from Bologna and the air dances to the sonorous ambience of Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 in G Major.
“A million and one things cross my mind when performing on stage. Why are the lights so bright? Why is the conductor not using a score? The music is so beautiful, I want to cry...but sometimes, all I am thinking about is what to eat afterwards,” Ng jokes. “I feel incredibly lucky to live and breathe music for my life’s work. It is a blessing to be able to share music and give greater meaning to the lives of the people in our community, travel around the world and also educate our next generation of young musicians.”
Born in Sydney, the Commonwealth Musician of the Year 2007 and principal cellist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra performs every week in Singapore or other parts of the region. He is undoubtedly a prodigy, but Ng reckons it is the “sibling rivalry” between him and twin brother Pei-Jee (also a cellist) that motivated him to spend a lot more time practising. All that effort paid off for Ng, who performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma in 2016.