MEET THE ARTIST
U-EN NG | Viola da Gamba
U-En Ng was educated at Geelong Grammar School where he received an introduction to the music of Claudio Monteverdi through his teacher the late Michael Collins-Persse, as well as the basics of historically-informed performance practice via the harpsichordist Priscilla Alderton. Although deeply interested in the violin and keyboard, he chose to read for a degree in Anglo-Saxon and Mediaeval Icelandic at the University of Melbourne rather than Music—but it was during this time that he encountered the great gambist Jordi Savall and the group Hesperion XX (as it was then known) at a concert in Melbourne in 1994.
U-En fell in love with the gamba, but was unable to purchase one due to the prohibitively high price at the time. He continued playing violin in various groups and community orchestras in Melbourne before returning to Kuala Lumpur in 1998 where, inter alia, he worked as manager of the Kuala Lumpur Symphony Orchestra before going into journalism and subsequently publishing (through which he still pays the bills today). Thanks, however, to the increasing popularity and availability of new violas da gamba, he was finally able to acquire an instrument in 2014 and is today devoted to early music, particularly music for the viol family, as well as the performance practice of the basso continuo as a whole.
He is a founding member of Wicked Music People—an early music group based in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia—with which he has been privileged to play the gamba in venues as diverse as cafés, theatres, a large Taoist temple; as part of the George Town Festival in 2018, and also at Malaysia’s premier concert hall Dewan Filharmonik Petronas.