A Year in Review: 2022
2022 was filled with significant moments for the Singapore Symphony Group.
With live concerts restored to full capacity, we reintroduced our programmes in their intended in-person formats. SSO’s latest album Scriabin – Poems of Ecstasy and Fire, under the baton of SSO Conductor Laureate Lan Shui, was released in September and garnered glowing reviews from Fanfare Magazine, Artamag, and more. To top it off, the SSO was most recently named one of the best orchestras in the world by BBC Music Magazine.
SNYO ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR, SEOW YIBIN
We kicked off the new year in January with the appointment of Seow Yibin, Associate Conductor of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO). Tasked to guide young musicians in their musical development and lead the Singapore National Youth Sinfonia (SNYS), he has since embarked on a number of projects, including SNYO outreach concerts in schools under the Ministry of Education. In November, Yibin clinched first place and was presented the Special Audience award at the I International Band Conducting Competition “Villa de Bétera”, held in Spain.
IN NEW LIGHT
Organised by the National Gallery Singapore in collaboration with various programming partners in the Civic District precinct, the Light to Night Festival was abuzz with a suite of exciting activities, including live performances by local classical musicians showcased under VCHpresents, along with a digital collaboration with the National Library Board which showcased the Klais organ housed in the Victoria Concert Hall.
A COMMON GOAL
In February, the SSO and Foundation of Rotary Clubs Singapore (FRCS) embarked on its first joint fundraiser in support of the SSO and FRCS Eldercare and Caregivers Centre. Together with the SSO and under the baton of former Principal Guest Conductor Andrew Litton, guest violinist Chloë Hanslip treated the audience to an evening of serenades. The musical collaboration raised over $100,000, allocated equally between FRCS and SSO.
A ROARING RETURN
For the first time since the pandemic, the full force of the SSO and the SNYO returned to the stage to present SSO GALA: Ray Chen Plays Sibelius in April. The additional checks and pre-event testing as part of the VDS+Test Pilot did not deter a strong, joyful crowd of 1,500.
SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL PIANO FESTIVAL 2022
The Singapore International Piano Festival returned in its 28th edition in a live format from 4 to 13 June at the Victoria Concert Hall with recitals by local and international pianists, including Shaun Choo, Ingrid Fliter and Leon McCawley.
HANS GRAF APPOINTED AS SSO MUSIC DIRECTOR
July saw the launch of our 22/23 season, and the inaugural concert of SSO Music Director Hans Graf. The concert was held across three nights at the Esplanade Concert Hall, joined by SSO’s youngest Artist-In-Residence Chloe Chua. Presented by Temasek Foundation, the musical occasion included a sneak preview for students to enjoy a free concert experience.
MUSIC OF OUR HOME
The highly anticipated SSO National Day Concert was restored to a live concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 13 August. Alongside local guest soloists and the members of the SNYO, the SSO was joined by the Singapore Symphony Choruses at the celebratory occasion for the first time since the pandemic. Eight symphonic pieces, representing the music of our homeland, were presented to the audience members. The concert was also livestreamed and made available on SSOLOUNGE and SSO’s YouTube channel.
In addition, the support from Temasek Foundation provided beneficiaries in the community the opportunity to enjoy the performance live.
SSO ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR, RODOLFO BARRÁEZ
The SSO announced Venezuelan conductor Rodolfo Barráez as its new Associate Conductor in August. With his debut performance at the President’s Young Performers Concert on 26 and 27 August, Rodolfo has gone on to conduct the SSO Christmas Fundraising Concert, and TwoSet Violin & SSO: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, which was livestreamed on YouTube and garnered 1.1 million views to date.
A SHOWCASE OF SINGAPORE’S YOUNG MUSICIANS
Three gifted musicians took the stage at 2022’s President’s Young Performers Concert in August. Alongside the SSO, pianist Pualina Lim, oboist Quek Jun Rui, and soprano Evangeline Ng performed as soloists in separate works to audience members and President Halimah Yacob, who graced the concert on the first night.
NURTURING CHORAL BRILLIANCE
Held over the school holidays of 5 and 6 September, The SSCC Experience welcomed participants aged eight to 12 to experience a chorister’s day of rehearsals and training programmes. The one-day workshop guided the young singers in lessons of scales, pitches, melodies and more, before they presented a finale choir performance for friends and family at the Victoria Concert Hall.
SHARING THE LOVE FOR MUSIC
November saw the SNYO put up three concerts at Geylang Methodist School (Primary), Northlight School and Dazhong Primary School.
VOILAH! FRANCE SINGAPORE FESTIVAL 2022
In association with the Embassy of France in Singapore, the Mozart Flute & Harp Concerto was presented to audience members over two nights on 25 and 26 November. The beautiful union of both instruments was demonstrated by SSO Principal Flute Jin Ta, Stephen Riady Chair and Principal Harp Gulnara Mashurova.
RINGING IN THE FESTIVE CHEER
The SSO Christmas Fundraising Concert brought festive cheer to over 2,500 audience members on 15 and 16 December at the Esplanade Concert Hall. The voices of the Singapore Symphony Choruses also made a welcome return to the Baroque-themed concert, along with the Christmas sing-along by Singaporean composer Tan Yuting. The concert was livestreamed on the second night, and is still available on SSO’s digital concert hall, SSOLOUNGE. Thanks to our donors and supporters, the Christmas concert raised close to $200,000 across the two nights.
As we take a final bow in 2022, we would like to say a massive thank you to all who have supported the national orchestra and our affiliated performing groups. We look forward to 2023 and are committed to keep our music alive and accessible in the community we live in.
Happy New Year!