A native of Baltimore, pianist Thomas Hecht immigrated to Singapore as one of the original “pioneers” of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, founded in 2003 as joint collaboration with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently the Head of Piano Department at the Conservatory and was the former Head of Piano Studies and Artist-In-Residence at the School of Music at Victoria University in New Zealand. Prior to that, he served for many years as Professor of Piano and Artist-In-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music (USA).
Dr. Hecht enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading teachers of his generation, having produced a multitude of first prizewinners in solo and two piano competitions throughout the United States, Europe and Australasia. He has given master classes at renowned institutions such as the Royal Academy, Royal Northern and Royal Welsh Colleges of Music, the Paris, Eastman, Oberlin, Peabody, Sydney, Beijing and Sichuan Conservatories and the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts. He recently served as Visiting Professor at the Peabody Institute under the auspices of the first YST-Peabody faculty exchange programme, while other guest residency invitations have included the Conservatoire de Paris, Guildhall College of Music & Drama the University of Trossingen and the Western Australia Academy for the Performing Arts.
His highly sought after piano class, which has nurtured young talents for over twenty five years on three continents-- has produced concerto soloists with the Singapore, New Zealand, Christchurch, Lamont, Lima, Kaunas, Artsakh and Peabody Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland, Philippines, Singapore and Dnipropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestras, the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne and Wellington Youth Orchestras, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Singapore Festival Orchestra and Orchestra of the Music Makers.
Throughout his career he has represented USA, New Zealand and Singapore on jury panels of the Gina Bachauer, Geneva, Isangyun, Ibiza and Paralympic International Piano Competitions in addition to the national piano competitions of Japan, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and the United States. He receives regular invitations to summer piano festivals, including performances in Sydney, Beijing, Wellington, Lausanne, Chethams, Taichung, Bavaria, Artsakh and Brasov (where he is Honorary Professor of Piano at the University of Transylvania), and continues to be in demand for workshops and pedagogy conferences throughout the world.
Professor Hecht is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Institute where he was a student of Leon Fleisher and his teaching assistant, an honor which Fleisher - one of the great pianists of our time - had never before bestowed on any pianist.
In addition to his teaching, Professor Hecht adjudicates, composes and is the Founding Artistic Director for many of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory’s new performance initiatives (noted here below), which have invigorated the concert life in Singapore.
He is also the founder & donor of the
"Lynn Hebden Scholarship Fund", Peabody Preparatory (USA), which awards financial assistance to outstanding young talents at the preparatory in Baltimore.
‘Primarily Piano’ Concert Series
(Piano Department Showcase Concerts)
Singapore’s newest and most popular free piano series has enjoyed full capacity audiences since its inaugural concert in November 2003, which featured all 16 of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances for Piano Four Hands, Opp. 46 and 72, marking the first time such an ambitious project had ever been undertaken in Singapore. Audience favorites on this series include the popular Piano Duels, Piano Plus! and annual Concerto Extravaganza concerts. These events serve the University and greater Singapore music community.
YST International Summer Piano Institute
This prestigious piano academy attracts young keyboard talents from Asia, the United States & Australasia. Afternoon master classes and evening performances publicly showcase the students in seasoned repertoire.
YST “Junior Mentor in Piano” Programme
A new pilot programme which provides mentorship from one or two outstanding senior pianists from Professor Hecht's class who take on the mentorship of selected young Singaporean pianists. The programme debuted with Abigail Sin as the first junior Mentor and continued with Thai pianist Akkra Yuenyonghattaporn and now Clarence Lee (Singapore).
The young students meet monthly with Professor Hecht as a means to gauge progress and quality control.