David Tong

David Tong on stage at Sydney Eisteddfod

Vale pianist David Tong


With great sadness, the management and staff of Sydney Eisteddfod mourn the death of pianist David Tong at the age of 34.

Born in Macao to a music loving family, David migrated to Australia with his family in 1988 and soon engaged in piano studies. He made his debut with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the age of nine. At 12, he won the keyboard section at the Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, and at 18, triumphed in the 2001 John Allison City of Sydney Piano Scholarship at Sydney Eisteddfod. 

Following this victory, David studied at the Julliard School in New York and launched into a brilliant career collaborating with leading conductors and performing with major orchestras in Australia, New Zealand, China, Europe and the United States. Always a daredevil, he also loved flying and eventually gave up his musical career to become a commercial pilot. 

David loved this work, but on 23 December while flying solo in bad weather from Derim to Lae in Papua New Guinea, he crashed his plane into a mountainside at the foot on the Sarawaged Range in Morobe province. He survived the crash and managed to call the authorities for help on his mobile, but the weather was so terrible, he was dead by the time rescuers located the wreckage.