The future of the arts is in the hands of the next generation.

As part of the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival 2016, a mentorship programme called Master + Murid will be rolled out. Five Masters, each equally respected in their own field and highly passionate about working with the young, will be sharing their expertise, knowledge, time and passion with selected pupils.

At the end of the Master + Murid mentorship programme, the pupils will have the chance to perform at the Gala Night of the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival 2016.


Dr. Joseph Gonzales' name is synonymous with the dance industry in Malaysia.

Under the Master + Murid programme for the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival 2016, one lucky aspiring choreographer / dancer will have the chance to be mentored by the Master himself. He or she will be put through at least 100 hours of contact and rehearsal time including a face to face session with the Master every three weeks.

Applications for this category has ended. Stay tuned to learn about the Master+Murid's progress!


A highly respected dance authority in Malaysia, Dr. Joseph Gonzales hardly needs an introduction. Besides an illustrous career as a performer and choreographer, Dr. Joseph was responsible for building up the Dance Faculty at the National Arts Academy (ASWARA) and has had a hand in grooming many young dancers who are making waves on the world stage.

Joseph has a PhD in Dance Studies from University of Malaya and Masters of Arts (Choreography) from Middlesex University. He is currently the Artistic Director of ASWARA Dance Company.


Syed Haziq Afiq is pursuing his Bachelor of Dance in Choreography. He has performed in the Tari Festival for Folk Dance (Zapin), Borak Arts, Jamu 2015, Seru 2016 choreographed by Joseph Gonzales, Tapestry as well as in Shanghai and Macau, China. His choreography has been staged at Gelombang Baru (Lost In Space, Aku Terima), Short & Sweet (Unpredictable), Dancing In Place (The Strip), and he conducts dance workshops regularly.


Tay Cher Siang is not only a well-known jazz pianist but a passionate jazz educator interested in grooming the next generation of performers.

Two pupils have been chosen to be a part of the Master + Murid programme for the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival 2016, Lim Lee Peng, winner of the pop and jazz category in the Roland Piano Festival 2012 and Melvin Goh, winner of the inaugural jazz piano competition held in conjunction with the Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival. They will be performing alongside Tay Cher Siang and the WVC jazz trio at the YSD Arts Festival Gala night.


With a Masters in Jazz Pedagogy, Tay is well known figure in the jazz world in Malaysia. Besides teaching at UCSI University, University Malaya, The Yamaha Music Academy and UPM, he regularly conducts masterclasses and jazz clinics throughout Malaysia. Tay has performed locally at the top jazz venues like No Black Tie as well as overseas at the Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore and the Taichung Jazz Festival in Taiwan. He toured Singapore, Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Turkey and India with Unit Asia.


Melvin Goh is an upcoming jazz pianist with a Bachelor in Contemporary Music (Piano) from UCSI’s Institute of Music. He was the winner of the inaugural jazz piano competition held in conjunction with the Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival. He has performed with Juwita Suwito at the MPO Happy Hour, KK Jazz Festival, preview of the Rainforest / Borneo Jazz Festival as well as various live music venues around KL.


Lim Lee Peng graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Music Performance) First Class Honours degree from University Putra Malaysia. She was the champion for the pop and jazz category in the Roland Piano Festival 2012. Lee Peng also performed with DUST in the 9th Penang Island Jazz Festival. Her song ‘Feel My World’ won the UPM Yinzi Song Composing Competition 2014. She joined SKAZZ band and Malaysian Jazz Orchestra as a pianist in 2015. Lee Peng was one of the finalists at the Malaysian Jazz Piano Competition 2016.


Butoh may not be a well-known to some but this Japanese art form rose to prominence in the late 1950s. In Malaysia, we do have our very own Butoh master by the name of Lee Swee Keong who has dedicated years to learning and teaching this art form.

Earlier this year, an open audition was held to recruit non-Butoh dancers interested in exploring this art form. Six pupils were recruited and will not only be put under the guidance of Master Lee Swee Keong but will have the chance of performing with him at the Gala.


Lee Swee Keong is the founder and artistic director of Nyoba Kan. As an artist of the spirit Keong uses elements of his body and movement to gain insight into life and the universe. With an initial background in fine arts, he now studies different movement techniques and philosophies including Buto, Qi Gong, Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, and Contemporary Dance. Concepts like the internal spirit, energy, yin/yang and emptiness infuse his hybrid performances and teachings.


In 2009, Liew joined Nyoba Kan’s Butoh workshop and presented her first Butoh performance “Butoh Brides”. She joined Nyoba Kan as a Butoh practitioner in 2010 and took part in “The Lost Testimony of Rashomon”, a collaboration between Butoh master, Yukio Waguri with Nyoba Kan. In 2011, she became the member of Nyoba Kan and presented her first solo creation “Beast Thought”.

Photo by PhotobyNo2


Foo Chiwei is a dance enthusiast and practitioner for the past 20 years. He studied the Graham Technique briefly under Eugenie Knox of The Dance of Life while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication at RMIT in Melbourne. He had his first taste of dancing in a production during the Spoleto Fringe Festival. Back in Malaysia, he studied Odissi under the tutelage of Ramli Ibrahim at Sutra Dance Theatre from 2002–2012.

Photo by Jiet Wong


Harith Iskander is no stranger to Malaysia's comedy scene. Endowed with charisma and energy, his gift in relaying stories, ideas and one-liners that will stir up a wave of laughter from the crowd is certainly undeniable.

One pupil will be recruited this year and will be put under Harith's guidance to learn the tricks of stand-up comedy, and will have the chance of performing with him at the YSDAF Gala Night.


Recently named "ASIA'S BEST STAND-UP COMEDIAN AWARD" by TOP 10 of ASIA AWARD 2014, Harith Iskander is referred to as the Godfather of Stand-Up Comedy in Malaysia. In October 2014, Harith became the first Malaysian Stand Up Comedian to hold a show in a stadium. ‘Harith Iskander's LAUGH MALAYSIA' saw 9,000 people fill up the Stadium Putra in Bukit Jalil. Prior to that, Harith embarked on a six-nation comedy tour titled "The Godfather of Malaysian Stand Up Comedy International Tour" where he performed to audiences in India (Chennai/New Delhi), Korea (Seoul), Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia (Perth) and Indonesia (Jakarta).


Ahmad Mudhakkir bin Zainal Ali is fast making a name for himself as a stand-up comedian. A content writer for a financial magazine by day, Muzakir is a regular performer in the local stand-up comedy circuit after hours. He also has a YouTube sketch comedy series called District Lumper and was responsible for the interactive webcomic RAPI.


Conducting is not just about standing on a podium and waving your hands. It requires so much more.

Those interested to pursue conducting professionally should not miss this invaluable opportunity to be mentored by klpac's Resident Conductor and Music Director Lee Kok Leong.


Kok Leong is no stranger in the local classical music scene, having performed with the major orchestras around town including the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, RTM Orchestra, Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, and, of course, the klpac Orchestra. He debuted as conductor with Galaxy Chamber Orchestra in 2005. He became klpac Orchestra’s Training Conductor in 2010 under the tutelage of the late maestro Mr. Brian Tan. Lee is currently the Resident Conductor and Music Director of the klpac Orchestra and Friends of Strings Chamber.


Yvonne Soo Yi Yun recently graduated from Methodist College Kuala Lumpur and has received an offer to pursue her Bachelor of Music at Oxford University. Studying voice under the tutelage of Ian Lim Kean Seng, she has taken six conducting master classes with Mr. Lee Danai (Daniel), the conductor of New York Milal Missionary. A member of Dithyrambic Singers since the age of 14, she co-founded and led her college choir for two years.


Aaron Chin Why Honn started playing the saxophone for his school band in Ipoh and was the band leader in his final year. He was enrolled at UCSI University as a Music Foundation student. Why Honn is currently the saxophonist for Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra under Mr. Eugene Pook, klpac Symphonic Band under Ms. Cheryl Mah and Birdian Saxophone Quartet under Mr. Ian Chan. He has taken a masterclass with American band composer Mr. James Swearingen.