New Season Begins

Director’s Welcome Message

A warm welcome from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore – and best wishes for 2017! We enter the new semester and year with a new focus – to share ever more possibilities to listen to music in new light. With this calendar, we offer an introduction to a wealth of opportunities to experience the finest music across a mix of genres and contexts. 

In these few months, students will perform with an impressive range of guest conductors including Masaaki Suzuki for a further Bach Cantata project, Charles Dutoit for an open workshop on Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (thanks to our partnership with the SSO), Hangzhou Philharmonic Music Director Yang Yang for our annual Esplanade concert conducting Rachmaninoff and Barber with faculty member Qin Li-Wei as soloist, and renowned percussionist and contemporary music director Steven Schick who will lead our OpusNovus in a programme of recent works to be presented at SOTA. 

The range of ensembles who will be in residence is similarly eclectic in terms of origin and repertoire offered: Britain’s Endellion Quartet performing Haydn, Sibelius and Bartok, Germany’s Trio SurPlus with Birkenkotter, Kagel, Edwards and Feldman, China’s Amber Quartet as this year's Ones to Watch with Webern, Mendelssohn and Zhang Zhao, and France’s Les Arts Florissants sharing their insights to Monteverdi. We also look forward to musicians from the Royal Concertgebouw who will play a short chamber concert in the Conservatory (with individual workshops following on) as part of their residence with our partner, the Esplanade.

As for faculty in concert or presentations, I want here to acknowledge Albert Tiu, Adeline Wong, Chen Zhangyi, Han Chang Chou, Khoo Hui Ling, Koo Siaw Sing, Marc Rochester, Martin Jaggi, Ma Yue, Peter Edwards, Qin Li-Wei, Thomas Hecht, Tony Makarome and Zuo Jun for their distinctive contributions.  

But the bulk of the events involve students directly. Concerts include, in March the annual Concerto Competition which this semester holds its sectional finals. Please try to join us also for our second cross-Conservatory ensembles concert which this time features music from A World Between Two Wars. Our fourth year students would also welcome you to their Senior Recitals, predominantly in April. 

Several student concerts have been curated by major study studios: as examples, Albert Tiu’s programme entitled The Seasons, the new initiatives from the Analysis & Composition team with their Potluck and Young Composers’ Academy Concerts, as well as contributions from Thomas Hecht (Pas de Deux), Alan Bennett (Reformation, Cantiamo), Zhang Jin Min (Bohemian Landscapes), and Jennifer Tham (Mother Sun) amongst others. Look out also for our ever popular Percussion Ensemble, working with Thomas Hannum and Jonathan Fox. Beyond this already rich mix are many other programmes, including our now annual Children’s Concert, generated by the students themselves both in the Conservatory and across Singapore.

Amongst this diversity of material and styles, we also offer a central theme for the semester, building originally out of the programme for our April Esplanade concert: Music 1905-1945 - A World Twice at War. As you will see, the theme is touched on by many of this semester’s offerings. 

We look forward to welcoming you to share in music with us, both in the Conservatory and across Singapore. Your support truly transforms the performance experience, helping also our students to grow through the interactions. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all who have come to concerts so far this year – we looking forward always to welcoming ever more listeners, whether returning or for the first time. 

Best wishes for the new year!


5 January 2017