History

Originally designated the Singapore Conservatory of Music, the Conservatory was officially renamed the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at its opening, in recognition of a S$25 million gift by the Yong Loo Lin Trust to honour the late Yong Siew Toh, who found her greatest joy teaching piano and helping others to appreciate the world through music. The Trust subsequently made another generous contribution of S$25 million in 2008, endowing YST Conservatory with a total gift of S$50 million, which was matched by funding from the Ministry of Education. The gift from Yong Loo Lin Trust, further enhanced with contribution from corporate sponsors, enabled the new Conservatory to offer full scholarships to a critical mass of talent.

During the Conservatory’s first decade it quickly established a reputation for musical excellence with its students valued as equal in capacity to those graduating from the world’s best conservatories. As Asia’s International Conservatory, it saw itself as pioneering the possibility of a multi-national, globally relevant music education environment, recognising Singapore, as one of the world’s best connected countries in Asia. In that time, music in Singapore and the region has evolved enormously and YST is proud of the role it has played – through its students, alumni, staff, faculty, events, facilities, programmes, partnerships and advocacy - in inspiring this evolution.

1999 - Dr Tony Tan, then Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minster, envisioned a conservatory in Singapore thriving in the midst of a university, with a concurrent focus on both artistic and academic excellence.

2001 - Dr Tony Tan witnessed the signing of an agreement between the National University of Singapore and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University to develop Singapore’s national conservatory.

2002 - Steven Baxter, former Dean at Peabody, was appointed the Conservatory’s founding director. Mr Goh Yew Lin chaired the governing board established under the Charter by the Ministry of Education.

2003 - The Conservatory welcomed its inaugural class comprising majors in orchestral instruments, piano and composition, aspiring be distinctively diverse with its faculty, student population and artistic outlook.

2006 - The Conservatory building was officially opened.

2007 - The Conservatory’s inaugural class graduated.

2008 - Bernard Lanskey, former Associate Director of Music at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, was appointed Director of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. All 220 student positions were filled. The Young Artist Programme was introduced with the support of the National Arts Council.

2010 - The Recording Arts & Science Major was introduced.

2011 - The Voice Major was introduced.

2014 - The Masters programme, with a further major in Conducting, was offered.

2016 - In commemoration of the Conservatory building’s tenth year anniversary, the Conservatory’s logo and sonic sign on was developed.