Paul Abisheganaden was a pioneer in the Singapore music scene and was the first Singaporean conductor of any large scale music group. He set up the Singapore Chamber Ensemble in 1950, a precursor to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He was at the forefront of promoting the arts through festivals and concerts in the country for which he received the Member of the Order of the British Empire (1956), the Cultural Medallion (1986), COMPASS Meritorious Award,(2006) and the NUS Distinguished Alumni Award (2007) In 1979, he was appointed Director of the Centre for Musical Activities and he established many of the dance and music groups which were later incorporated into the re-instituted student development organization known as the NUS Centre For the Arts. In 2011, the arts community of Singapore mourned the loss of a passionate trailblazer who had greatly inspired many artists through his life.

The Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence has been set up to recognize and encourage emerging artists within NUS in music and other forms of the performing arts. Supported by a donation from the daughters of the late Mr Abisheganaden, the grant of up to $10,000 enables a student to pursue a short developmental course to further refine their artistic skills. Such courses of study may include summer workshops, conferences, master classes either locally or internationally.

Congratulations also to Kah Chun Wong, for co-receiving this grant with Emily.