“I hope that with the guitar, I can help contribute back to society by raising funds for good causes and at the same time raise awareness of the classical guitar”-Kevin Loh


Kevin Loh is a UK-based, Singapore classical guitarist and an HSBC Youth Excellence Award Recipient. At the age of twelve, Kevin was talent scouted by The Yehudi Menuhin School via his YouTube Channel
and was awarded a grant by The Rolling Stones to study at the prestigious school. Since then, his extraordinary musicality has won him international accolades and attention. In 2012, Kevin became the first Singaporean to compete and win the first prize at the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Youth Competition. In 2013 he premiered Bernard Tan’s Guitar Concerto with Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Most recently in 2014, he was also awarded the first prize at Andres Segovia International Youth Guitar Competition in Germany, among fifty participants from more than thirty countries.Besides actively performing in Europe and Asia, Kevin is also passionate about community work. He started fund raising through his music at the age of nine, and has since performed in numerous national charity events and helped to raise funds for the Arts Community in Singapore. Abhijit Ganguly spoke to Kevin on the sidelines of CALCUTTA International Classical Guitar Festival & Competition.

Your instrument, classical guitar—what specialty made you picks it?

The guitar actually came second in line, after the violin. I had started the violin when I was 4, for three months, before I was kicked out of class because of inattentiveness. Apparently, I was fidgeting a lot in class! I was learning the violin under the Suzuki method at the time, and since then my dad decided to teach me the guitar himself instead, using the contents of the Suzuki method designed for guitar. Initially, the primary view was just to have fun making music with family and bond with each other. Only later, roughly from when I was 9 or 10 years old did I decided to take it seriously, and I have not looked back ever since.

Which prejudice regarding the classical guitar would you put away?

Just because the guitar is a popular instrument, the fact it is ‘classical’ doesn’t make it anyway boring. In fact, once you get the hang of classical guitar technique, you can apply that to other forms of guitar playing. It is the fundamental base which any guitarist would find useful.

How was your experience at the Yehudi Menuhin School?

The Yehudi Menuhin School has been a great experience for me, having the opportunities to expose myself to so many new things and to further improve on the skills that I’ve been working on. The music
side has been great, having met so many other young talented musicians along the way, and to be able to work with them as a family has been a privilege. Also, the professors have really helped us with their
guidance to better understand music, which has changed my approach towards music.

Besides actively performing in Europe and Asia, you are also passionate about community work. What kind of activities you have undertaken? What motivated you to undertake fund raising activities?

At the start, I used to perform a lot of duets as a kid with my father at many charity events all over Singapore, including many small charity shows for local communities, blood donation drives and at elderly care homes. One particular example would be Child Aid Singapore, where talented children get together to perform and raise funds for other less privileged children so that they can pursue and develop their own artistic talents. This is one of my favourite fundraising concerts. Recently, it has started to develop out of Singapore into other countries in Asia. I was in Child Aid Malaysia in2013, and coming up I will be in Child Aid Japan in January 2016. This is a great step forward, as we have the opportunity to work and collaborate with youths from other countries, and together we help raise funds for the communities there. I feel really happy to move across borders and be able to help others from different countries. We were also trying to spread the word more about the classical guitar in Singapore. More recently, I’ve tried to do more outreach work, by performing for many local students in primary/secondary schools, JCs and universities.

For me, I’ve received a lot of support from the community and I hope that with the guitar, I can help contribute back to society by raising funds for good causes and at the same time raise awareness of the classical guitar and bring the standard of playing to a higher level.

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