Gifted with an exemplary piano touch and an admirable physiological setup…
World-renowned pianist and vocal coach
...an excellent Italian language and music coach…
Matteo Dalle Fratte
Italian coach at Royal Opera House
…an outstanding performance marked by technical excellence and fluency, original approach to interpretation and highly developed sense of ensemble playing.
Russian concert pianist
Malaysian pianist Dr Bernard Tan graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in collaborative piano at University of Michigan, USA, being the only Malaysian to have been accepted to this program, under the tutelage of the world-renowned Martin Katz. He previously resided in Birmingham, United Kingdom, where he graduated with Master of Music with Distinction from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, under the tutelage of Robin Bowman and Jan Loeffler.
Dr Tan has won numerous prizes, awards, and fellowships for his work as a pianist in art songs and operas. In the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, he was awarded the John Ireland Accompanist Prize, Birmingham Town Hall Symphony Hall prize, second prize in the Delia Hall Accompanist Prize, and highly-commended pianist in both the Edward Brooks Lieder and English Songs Prizes, and the Stuart Cameron French Song Prize. He was also a recipient of the Denis Matthew Memorial Trust and Malcolm John Bullock Memorial Trust Award. Bernard won the inaugural Hester Dickson full scholarship award to Oxenfoord International Summer School in 2016, led by the renowned pianist Malcolm Martineau. His work as an opera répétiteur has seen him appointed as an opera coach in productions in Italy, Canada and the USA. In 2019, he attended the prestigious Music Academy of the West as a vocal piano fellow and was a coaching fellow in both Opera on the Avalon (Canada) and International Lyric Academy (Italy) opera companies in 2018.
A phonetics enthusiast, Bernard coaches lyric diction of 9 languages. In particular, he has developed a specialisation in Italian diction and its functions in operas and Italian songs, and was regarded as “an excellent Italian language and music coach” by Matteo Dalle Fratte, Italian coach at Royal Opera House, London. His work in the Italian repertoire has also seen him being appointed as a regular vocal coach with Melofonetica in London, in their annual Veneto Opera Summer School in Italy. In March 2017, he directed, coached, and performed in a project of Romantic Italian art songs “Amore e morte”. Bernard is also the creator of "Pinyin to Singing", a method of diction in Mandarin Chinese for English-speaking singers.
Bernard is also a passionate music educator. He started teaching as a teenager and has since devoted his time to developing his teaching philosophy not only in piano playing, but also in coaching singers. As a specialist in vocal music, he has coached numerous singers in competitions, opera productions and recitals. Praised for having "an admirable physiological setup" by pianist Robin Bowman, Bernard is known in his piano teaching to emphasise on technique as a foundation for expressive playing. One of his highlights is guiding a pianist in his 70s to perform a full-length piano recital. Bernard has also given masterclasses at University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Kuala Lumpur City Opera, and Opera Emporio in the UK. His constant work with pianists and singers alike has led him to be described as a "knowledgeable and enthusiastic coach" by soprano Dr Rose Mannino.
Raised in Seremban, Malaysia, Bernard Tan started playing the piano at the age of 6 under Chen Chit Shian in Melody Music School. In 2007, he came under the tutelage of Woon Chi Choong and obtained both the Licentiate Diplomas in Piano Performance, LTCL and LRSM. Majored in classical piano performance, he completed undergraduates with First Class Honours from University Putra Malaysia (UPM), under the tutelage of Carolyn Lo. He was the pianist in Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) from 2013-2015, performing under the baton of Kevin Field and Fabian Russell as an orchestra pianist and as a chamber pianist in Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP).
Dr Bernard Tan is currently serving as a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Music at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), besides being a vocal coach and répétiteur at Kuala Lumpur City Opera (KLCO) and a piano and chamber music tutor at Bentley Music Academy (BMA).