About the Artist

Kam Kee Yong was born into humble beginnings in Penang, Malaysia where he grew up in a very talented and musical family. His father was a jazz clarinetist who first introduced him to the violin at a very young age. He took to the violin immediately, practising daily for hours on end sometimes even skipping school to hone his musical skills. Alongside this enthusiasm for classical music, another passion took hold of the young Kee Yong: art.

In 1960, Kee Yong entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied the violin with Fredrick Grinke and Molly Mack, chamber music with Watson Forbes and composition with Alan Bush. While he was a student there, he won the John E. West Prize for composition and the Gowland Harrison Exhibition Award for violin. At the same time, Kee Yong was also presenting art exhibitions of his own art works at the Cathay, Pugh and Carr, and Woodstock Galleries in London.

For Kee Yong, the sensations of the eye and ear are inseparable. He hears the colours of sound in his music as vividly as he sees the colours in his paintings. In both his music and art, Kee Yong draws inspiration from the Orient, Nature and Christianity. An avid researcher of ancient Chinese history, he has drawn upon this rich source to paint and compose. His music has been hailed by the Singapore Straits Times as "moving" and having "unrestrained passion and rhythmic vitality". These ancient tales of war, love, sorrow, joy and courage are told in a unique combination of lyrical melodic writing, harmonies and rhythmic drive that set his works apart as one of its kind in contemporary music. Kee Yong's music brings together an Eastern style of writing with Western instrumentation and still retains the unique qualities of each.

Over the years, as a dedicated artist, composer, violinist, and educator, Kam Kee Yong's contribution to the arts is prolific. Among his numerous proteges are many prizewinners and gold medalists in art and music competitions, including his daughter, violinist Ning Kam.

In 1984, Kee Yong was awarded the Cultural Medallion of Singapore for his outstanding contribution in the field of music.