Flautist Rit Xu’s music is resonating beyond Singapore’s shores. The First Year student at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) played the flute for the soundtrack of Taiwanese movie “Seediq Bale” which won the Golden Horse Award for Best Original Film Score.
Rit is on a full Conservatory Scholarship, which is supported by a generous gift to YSTCM from the Yong Loo Lin Trust. The Scholarship is given to talented students at the school and covers tuition and miscellaneous fees, as well as a stipend and on-campus housing.
Music has always been a part of Rit’s life. His late father was a pianist. Rit started playing the flute in primary school after listening to legendary flautist Paul Fried’s rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “The way we were”. His father had brought home the album and the young Rit fell in love with the instrument. Rit says, “It had been difficult for my father to use his music to feed the family but he did it anyway.” His father’s passion inspired Rit, despite the financial challenges, to pursue higher education in music.
The flautist says, “The Scholarship has given me the opportunity to pursue my dream without putting financial stress on my mother.”
Today, the 23-year-old is no stranger to prestigious awards. He came first at the Thailand International Jazz Conference Solo Competition – Junior Division, and was the first South-East Asian to win the annual United States National Flute Association’s Jazz Flute Masterclass Competition. He also performed at the Chingay parade and the inaugural Youth Olympic Games 2010.
With multiple achievements under his belt and a debut album on the way, Rit has big dreams for music in Singapore. He says, “My hope is for Singaporeans to appreciate the importance of Arts in the development of our society.”
Looking ahead, Rit says, “I would love to stay on in the Conservatory after graduation to educate the next generation of musicians.”
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