Kah-Ming Ng

Kah-Ming Ng (拿督 吳加明 博士教授)



Born in Malaysia of Cantonese-Hakka descent, Kah-Ming Ng studied at Monash University, Melbourne (where he obtained a B.E. in civil engineering), the Frankfurt State Academy of Music (as a DAAD scholar), the London Guildhall School of Music & Drama (on a Foreign & Commonwealth Office scholarship), and St Anne’s College, Oxford University (as a British Council Chevening research scholar), from which he gained his performance M.Phil. degree. He was awarded a D.Phil. by Keble College, Oxford University, for his doctoral research into figured bass accompaniment in its social and artistic context. His harpsichord teachers included Elizabeth Anderson (Melbourne), Harald Hoeren (Cologne), Michael Behringer (Freiburg) and Christopher Kite (London). He is a winner of the Guildhall School’s Early Music Competition and a Fellow (in Harpsichord) of the Trinity College of Music London. He has accompanied the recitals and concerts of pioneering artists of the historically-informed movement, including Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Catherine Bott, John Holloway, and Simon Standage. Kah-Ming has contributed reviews and articles to leading specialist music journals; he wrote the entries on English and French baroque ornamentation in the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. In between his performing and directing, he squeezes in some adjudicating (of competitions and examinations) and lecturing, including a short spell as Course Co-ordinator & Lecturer in Early Music Studies at the Faculty of Music, Oxford University. As the director of the award-winning Charivari Agreable and its work with over sixty choirs in the UK, Kah-Ming was invited in 2008 to address the annual convention of the Association of British Choral Directors, his co-presenters being some of the biggest names in the choral scene, such as Sir David Wilcocks, John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, Nicholas Cleobury, Andrew Parrott, and Eric Whitacre. <for a longer biography, s.v. ‘Biography for use in Malaysia’ below>


'an outstanding strategist on the harpsichord and the organ, and a sagacious continuo player'—Goldberg

'undoubted technical virtuosity and intellectual grasp'—Early Music News

'[he] did a great deal to put the audience at ease without being patronizing throughout the evening; he introduced each piece with short comments on 'what to listen for' along with background information on the composition. I left feeling a great deal more optimistic about audience-performer relations'—Woburn Music, http://www.woburnmusic.com

'Kah-Ming Ng is both a scholar and a high-quality performer'—Musicweb,http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2006/Sept06/Telemann_Godfather_SIGCD086.htm

'A candlelit harpsichord recital by Kah-Ming Ng of predominantly French Baroque music is interspersed by colourful stories told by the musician about the lives of the composers featured. The ease and humour with which the musician himself speaks to the audience draws the listener towards many rich memorable insights. The programme shows the versatility of both the instrument itself and of Ng who plays the harpsichord with both scientific precision and intense humanity. The virtuosity of Ng turns each single note into a spine tingling experience. The optimal sound of a harpsichord is heard 15 paces away but tonight Ng fills the entire space with the energy of a single sound and holds it there.'

For a full-page feature in the Financial Times:

BBC Radio 3 live solo appearance performing Rameau on the harpsichord + interview
Radio 3 "In Tune" 4:30pm Thursday 8 November 2012

Inaugurating a symposium at Oxford University:

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1. Speaker & special artist at an international forum, the Khazanah Megatrends:


2. Inaugural talk (lecture-recital) for the Penang Institute’s distinguished speakers series ‘Towering Malaysians’:

Towering Malaysian

3. Lecture-recital at the Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series, Sunway University:


4. Public Lecture at UiTM, University Teknoloji MARA, Malaysia:

UiTM public lecture

4. Public speaking and performance at the Painters Hall London, for The Lord Mayor’s Reflections:



Interview with 'Voices from Oxford', the webcast organ of Oxford University's Internet Institute:


Interview with TalentCorp M'sia:

Buckingham Palace Commonwealth Reception, hosted by HM Queen Elizabeth II & HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Bucks Palace Invite+Entry

Three Business FM Interviews:




KM(Aug:09) copy

On the cover of The New Straits Times colour supplement:


Cover Boy

BIOGRAPHY for use in Malaysia

Y.Bhg. Professor Dato’ Dr Ng Kah-Ming is one of Malaysia’s more unusual public figures: a conductor, harpsichordist, musicologist, and public speaker whose work is internationally acclaimed for its imaginative combination of rigorous scholarship with panache in performance. An unwitting (and unelected) cultural ambassador for his country, Dato’ Dr Ng’s œuvre is represented by the frequent inclusion in radio playlists around the world of many of his 22 critically-acclaimed CD recordings as well as his concert and radio appearances around the globe, his playing credited with ‘undoubted technical virtuosity and intellectual grasp’ (Early Music News).

As a scholar-researcher he is a recognized authority on two of the most fundamental aspects of pre-Classical performance practice: firstly, musical ornamentation (on which he wrote two substantial entries on French and English baroque ornamentation in the authoritative and definitive New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians); secondly, basso continuo improvisation (to which is related his Oxford University doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Figured Bass accompaniment in its social and artistic contexts’).

Equally adept at retailing anecdotes which contextualize the music to be performed on stage or in front of a microphone (from USA’s National Public Radio to Hong Kong’s RTHK, but most regularly the BBC), Dato’ Dr Ng is a sought-after speaker on topics ranging from hard-core academic subjects (as a former lecturer at the Music Faculty of his alma mater Oxford University) to cross-disciplinary matters on creativity, leadership and enterprise in music (as a Visiting Professor of diverse tertiary institutions), and even on authenticity in historically-informed performance (to the Association of British Choral Conductors).

However, Prof. Dato’ Dr Ng is best known internationally as the musical director and founder of the multiple-award-winning ensemble Charivari Agréable [trans. ‘pleasant tumult’], acclaimed ‘as one of the classiest baroque bands’ (The Observer). It is unusually one of the few ensembles that still conducts source research, innovatively ‘avoiding the well-trodden paths’ (MusicWeb Intl.) to produce ‘imaginative ground-breaking recordings of forgotten musical treasures’, which are ‘the fruits of both scholarly research and charismatic musicianship, a combination that puts it at the forefront of period-instrument ensembles’ (BBC Music Magazine).

Using various flexible yet historical configurations of players and singers, characterized by ‘ravishing sonorities and full-bodied textures’ (Gramophone), he is able to tailor bespoke programmes for institutions (from foreign embassies to Buckingham Palace) as well as corporate and private clients (from rectors of Oxbridge colleges, and benefactors of the Bodleian Library, to, on several occasions, the pop group Duran Duran). The winner of such coveted accolades as the Diapason d’Or, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, International Record Review’s ‘Best CD of the Year’, Classic FM’s Christmas Choice, BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Outstanding CD’, and MusicWeb International’s ‘Recording of the Year’, Charivari Agréable is a frequent fixture in the programming of festivals, music societies, and cathedral choirs (enjoying regular return collaborations with the choirs Windsor Castle, York Minster, Salisbury Cathedral, and Merton College Oxford, etc., amongst sixty other choirs). The ensemble has also been the featured artist on many radio programmes, including BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show (enjoying three separate dedicated one-hour slots), Bayerische Rundfunk, Westdeutsche Rundfunk, WCNY, European Broadcasting Union, etc.

The media—from the august Financial Times (which commissioned the first ever full-page feature of a Malaysian) to the glamour magazine Tatler—often finds Dato’ Dr Ng’s career trajectory fascinating. After gaining a B.Eng. in civil engineering (Monash University, Melbourne) and a short-lived career as a consultant engineer and then music master of the Alice Smith international school KL, he was awarded a Chevening scholarship, which he turned down in favour of the equally-prestigious DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) award. Having completed his studies with Camerata Köln at the Frankfurt State Academy of Music, he then had the temerity to ask for his Chevening scholarship to be revived; unusually he was granted the award twice, for studies at the London Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and thereafter Oxford University’s St Anne’s College (M.Phil.) and Keble College (D.Phil.). 

Prof. Dato' Dr Ng was recently invited to attend the Commonwealth Reception at Buckingham Palace given by the Queen and Prince Philip. Following that he appeared as special guest artist and speaker at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum <http://kmf.com.my/past-kmf/2013-speakers/>. He has also appeared for the Deutsch-Malaysische Gesellschaft’s award ceremony at the Malaysian Embassy in Berlin, and as the featured artist for OMEC’s (Overseas Malaysian Executive Council) 20th anniversary celebrations in London, embodying their theme of ‘Malaysian-owned Global Brands’. Dato’ Dr Ng has just released his 22nd album, entitled Avanti l’Opera, and will take up a VIsiting Professorhip at UiTM Shah Alam in December 2014.

Dato' Dr Kah-Ming Ng

Photo courtesy of Malaysia TATLER

Dato' Dr Ng Kah-Ming

Photo courtesy of Malaysia TATLER

                     ©2017 Charivari Agréable