Celine Leong - Conductor
At the start of this term, Fingal Youth Choir welcomed an Assistant Conductor to the team. Malaysian conductor Celine Leong has been building her reputation in Dublin as a choral director since moving here from Hungary.
Having graduated from high school in 2015, Celine Leong has completed her Diploma programme in Music Pedagogy and Bachelor's Degree in General Music Studies at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.
Celine was awarded the Sarolta Kodály Scholarship by the International Kodály Society. The degree focuses on solfege and music theory along with a specialisation in advanced choral conducting. During the time at the Kodály Institute, Celine gained experience in Kodály’s pedagogical methodology and other musical approaches.
She has commenced her Master's studies at Maynooth University, majoring in Creative Music Technologies fusing her skills as a classical musician with her craft in music technology. As of this term, Celine is the new Assistant Director for the prize-winning Fingal Youth Choir.
We spoke to Celine about the early stages of her professional musical career.
Can you tell us your musical journey before you arrived to Ireland?
I have been playing the piano and singing in choirs in my home nation of Malaysia from a young age. When I finished school, I decided to explore the offerings of music education in the West, so I left Malaysia and moved to Hungary. I completed both a Diploma in Music Pedagogy and a Bachelor's Degree in General Music Studies with a Kodály Emphasis, alongside a specialisation in advanced choral conducting at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.
Could you tell us about your experience of the Female Conductor Programme at the National Concert Hall so far?
I have had 2 weekend workshops so far and it has been such an empowering and inspiring experience. Everyone involved in this programme is so supportive of each other and it creates such a safe place for those of us who are new to take the first step into the world of orchestral conducting. Both Alice Farnham and David Brophy are wonderful conductors, and I have already learnt and benefited so much from the advice, guidance and experience that they have given in such a short period of time.
The highlight from the workshop so far for me is the way Alice Farnham and David Brophy teach us to bring the repertoire to life in the most exhilarating, truthful, and professional way possible. I also love that myself and eleven other female conductors all hail from distinctive musical backgrounds and play different instruments, which allows us to learn from each other. I have so much joy learning and I look forward to the rest of the programme!
I have only conducted choirs, but the closest I have gotten to working with an orchestra was as a member of a Symphonic Chorus. Conducting an orchestra is somewhat a foreign concept to me, but I am excited to develop myself and be challenged, and to make music together. This is going to be a great opportunity for me to break down the barrier and overcome some of the intimidating preconceptions surrounding orchestral conducting.
What I'd like to achieve is to open doors for more professional conducting opportunities in the future and also inspire others to take up the baton.