Contemporary composer Ng King-pan has more than one string to his bow As the song goes, you can't get no satisfaction - unless you have tried your hand at all sorts of music. This is the opinion of Ng King-pan, a contemporary composer, erhu player, rock keyboard player, pop music arranger and music PhD candidate and tutor at the University of Hong Kong. The 30-year-old musician, who has played the erhu, violin and piano since childhood and studied composing and conducting in Australia, has the makings of a 'serious' classical musician. But Ng is now unwilling to confine himself to one genre of music as he believes a variety of influences are crucial to his success. 'When I returned to Hong Kong in 2004 to look for work, I met Paul Wong and Lau Chi-yuen and learned a great deal from them - things that I couldn't [learn from] classical music,' says Ng, who now plays the keyboard for Wong as a session musician, plays the erhu and piano at pop concerts and helps arrange pop songs. 'Then I realised maybe I had been [blissfully ignorant of what I could learn]. 'In the past I didn't think highly of pop music. But now I respect them [pop and rock musicians]. The aesthetics of pop and rock are completely different, and my pop experiences have brought up many questions regarding my art and broadened my horizons.' Ng says he now listens to all genres of pop music - from Damien Rice and Primal Scream to Depeche Mode. 'To me, classical music is like a blank sheet of paper, and as a composer, you can write whatever you want on it. On the other hand, rock music is a well-structured and beautiful box, and you have to come up with music that is very groovy, punchy and catchy ... within the framework. But I really think the two could mix.' For Ng, engaging in different music projects adds different layers to his perception of music and, more importantly, makes his life as a musician ever more enjoyable. 'In the past, I studied composing and conducting and never thought of myself as a performer. But playing in a band reminds me of something very important about music which is often neglected by composers: you have to enjoy the music,' says Ng. Ng had recently turned down some lucrative jobs to work on contemporary music projects as a composer and apply his pop music experience to traditional Chinese and classical music. 'I feel it is my responsibility to my art as a composer,' he says. Later this summer, he will also write a piece for a performance that will involve a chamber orchestra as well as a viola and pipa. 'I am glad that I have begun to develop my own musical language derived from my musical and educational background, as well as my understanding of the art. To me, any genre of music is now another tool for me to express my musical language,' says Ng. 'I need to keep working on different projects to keep myself satisfied. I think if I focus on only one thing, I will miss out on many others.'