As a young teen, Nellie Seng won grants and scholarships from the National Arts Council and other organisations in Singapore to embark on her early musical journey at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, England. There, she studied with Murray McLachlan. Named as the Audi Junior Musician of the Year in 1995, Nellie concertised widely around Europe, including solo recitals in Steinway Hall, London, Blenheim Palace, Oxford and Cannes, France. Before her education in England, Nellie studied with Ms Lena Ching. Under her guidance, Nellie was a multiple prizewinner at the biennial National Music Competition in Singapore.
After graduating from high school, Nellie was awarded the prestigious Shell-NAC Scholarship to pursue her tertiary education at The Juilliard School, New York. Under the tutelage of Oxana Yablonskaya and Jerome Lowenthal, she earned both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Performance. Nellie went on to continue with her post-graduate studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, studying with Thomas Sauer, founder and director of the esteemed Beethoven Institute at Mannes College of Music. Nellie has also participated in masterclasses with Krystian Zimmerman, Paul Badura-Skoda, Andrew Wilde and Maria Curcio.
Nellie joined NAFA as a principal study lecturer after completing her doctoral studies. As a pedagogue, she strongly believes in nurturing a sense of historical awareness alongside a strong technical foundation for students to excel in their musical endeavours. Before joining NAFA, Nellie lectured in the College of Staten Island and City College of New York. Besides solo performances, she is also an avid chamber musician. She believes that interaction and collaboration between musicians to be an ongoing learning process.
Nellie made her concerto debut with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra during one of their summer tours in Europe, with a repeat performance during one of their regular concert seasons in Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow in 2000. Her notable accolades include the Chopin Prize at the Juilliard-Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition (2001) and 1st prize at the Puigcerda International Piano Competition (2000). In recent years, Nellie has performed in Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Guangzhou, Xi’an Conservatory of Music and Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, she also conducted masterclass with their students. She recently premiered a work by Dr Zechariah Goh, specially commissioned and performed by the NAFA Faculty Chamber Ensemble at the 11th International Chamber Music Festival 2018 organised by the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. In April 2019, Nellie performed the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no. 3 with NAFA Orchestra at the Victoria Concert Hall conducted by Alexey Vasilyev, Rector, professor at The Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Nellie is also a committee member and clinician at the annual Nanyang International Piano Academy in Singapore.