At the 4th National Music Competition in Singapore (1983), Singaporean violinist Foo Say Ming walked away with the 1st prize of the Violin (Open) Category, the 1st prize of the Ensemble (Open) Category, and the grand prize of the competition: the Best Performer Award unanimously awarded by the judging panel, a feat which has yet to be equaled in the history of the country’s music competition.
Under the tutelage of his mentor Ho Boon Thiam and the former concertmaster of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra Pavel Prantl, he was awarded a PSC-SSO scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music (London, UK) with Rodney Friend, a former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was later accepted into the Conservatoire de Lausanne (Switzerland), to study with French violinist Pierre Amoyal, a protégé of Jascha Heifetz. He was conferred Virtuosité (Premier Prix avec Félicitations du Jury).
Say Ming has since performed with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) as soloist on several occasions, and is an avid chamber musician and recitalist. He was featured as soloist and director in a concert with the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, performing Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and the Singapore premiere of Piazzolla-Desyatnikov's "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires". He was soloist with the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) on its successful tour to Scotland at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland) in 2005 performing the "Butterfly Lovers Concerto". His performance was described as:.
"... never faltered in his interpretation, weaving through the dramatic score
like a beautiful silken thread."
(The Press And Journal, Aberdeen, Scotland, Aug 2005)
"... supreme tenderness from soloist Foo Say Ming."
(Evening Express, Aberdeen, Scotland, Aug 2005)
Say Ming works closely with young aspiring musicians in Singapore, along with many young musicians from the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, NUSSO, and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He is also assistant conductor of the NUSSO. In 2011 he conducted the NUSSO in the premiere of promising young Singaporean composer CHEN Zhangyi’s “Rain Tree”, and the Singapore premiere of Sculthorpe’s Piano Concerto with British virtuoso, Geoffrey Saba. He also conducted and led the Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) Orchestra in SLO’s 2011 production of Lehar’s “The Merry Widow”
Say Ming leads and directs "re: mix", a unique chamber orchestra from Singapore. This ensemble boasts of an eclectic repertoire ranging from John Adams to ABBA, Bach to Beatles, Mozart to movies, Schoenberg to Salsa! re: mix has been responsible for the creation and championing of a host of uniquely Singaporean works for this genre through its collaborations with many of our top local composers and arrangers. Of note was the premiere of Singapore Cultural Medallion recipient Kelly Tang’s “Two Contrasts for Violin and String Orchestra”, Chen Zhangyi’s “Drei Gesänge der Chyi Yu”, and the highly anticipated re-working of Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 by another Singapore Cultural Medallion recipient Iskandar Ismail, “Samba No.5!”. Within its very short history since its inception, together with its wide and daring repertoire, re: mix’s unique voice has not only been heard by local audiences, it has already taken the ensemble to regional audiences in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.