“I’m enjoying every part of it – but I’m not enjoying the winter, that’s for sure!” laughs horn player Mindy Chang, who has moved north from the warmer climes of Singapore to take part in the Shanghai Orchestra Academy in China, an intensive orchestral training program run by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Mindy Chang, Wei Zhengtao and Chen Ping-Shuo with the Berlin Philharmonic’s Stefan de Leval Jezierski. Photo courtesy of Shanghai Orchestra Academy

She has just stepped out of a masterclass with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Horn, Han Chang Chou, who is coaching the horn students – in Chinese, with some English and German thrown in – on the audition excerpts they will have to master in order to one day win a job in an orchestra.

Chang’s first exposure to the Shanghai Orchestra Academy program was through an exchange with her university in Singapore last year, she tells Limelight, and seeking further learning opportunities after finishing her undergraduate degree, she enrolled, particularly keen to learn from the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Horn Peter Solomon. “I feel like he really has a lot to give,” she says. “That was actually the main reason that...

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