Dear readers of Bravissimo,
It is with great anticipation and hope for the future of classical music in Singapore that I pen my last message to you as Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Symphony Group. After some seven-and-a-half years, it does not feel like the end of a marathon, but merely the end of one leg of a relay. I am excited to pass the baton to Mr Kenneth Kwok. This baton is everyone’s national treasure and our role is to set the conditions for the treasure to shine.
With much gratitude to you – our donors, sponsors, grant givers, and supporters, we have had both the positive spirit and financial resources to guide the national classical music company to bring you memorable experiences through music in-person and online for the past 43 years. As a charity, we measure ourselves by how we contribute to making Singapore a better place and making your lives more beautiful and meaningful through music.
Over the past few years, we hope we have also made you proud to be our supporter. Some highlights for me include:
International accolades for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra: The SSO placed third for Gramophone Magazine's Orchestra of the Year 2021, and was named among the 21 world's best orchestras by BBC Music Magazine in November 2022.
Being the cultural heartbeat of the city: We bring music to you weekly in one form or another. During the pandemic, we were Singapore's last in-person concert (March 2020) before the Circuit Breaker, and the first (October 2020) after Phase Two was over, with now-Music Director Hans Graf braving travel restrictions to conduct the orchestra in online performances in between. Our digital concert hall, SSOLOUNGE, was launched in 2021 and brings music right into your homes every day.
Giving platforms for Singapore's top talent to make music: The Singapore Symphony Choruses and the Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) have rebranded to emphasise their strengths and values, and raise their prominence in the local scene to attract members from across Singapore. The choruses received positive reviews from their recordings with the SSO on the BIS label in 2021 and 2022, while the SNYO, fresh from their transfer from the Ministry of Education into our Group in 2016, performed to critical acclaim in their Southern China tour in 2018.
Deeper connections with the community: We grew the SSO and SNYO's presence in the community through different types of concerts. Besides the large turnouts at the SSO's outdoor concerts, both orchestras have also appeared regularly in neighbourhoods and schools. These free concerts are funded by donors, and supported by community venue partners. The SSO receives no ticketing income from these concerts. In addition, your donations have enabled beneficiaries from social service agencies and welfare organisations to experience our concerts. We believe that no one should be denied access to the beauty of music.
We also hold ourselves to high standards in staying accountable and stewarding your donations and tax dollars. To serve you, our donors, better, we have worked hard to provide the following:
Open and transparent donor benefits: We treasure you, our donors, and as a charity, we have made the benefits for individual and corporate donors transparent and available on our website.
Self-service for your convenience: We have moved our ticket redemptions online for your convenience and help you keep track of your benefits.
Annual reports: We started issuing annual reports so that you are updated on how your donor dollars are spent, and how much we receive in government matching for each dollar that you donate. These are available on our website for ongoing access.
With Bravissimo, we hope that you have been kept in the loop of the many ways we bring music to society at large. We continue to aim for the cultural city that our founder, the late Deputy Prime Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee, had dreamt of for Singapore.
As I sign off and join you in looking forward to the next lap for the Singapore Symphony Group, I would like to thank you for all your support, personal messages, and suggestions to make the Group a great cause to support. Please do support Mr Kenneth Kwok, the orchestra, and the SSG team as they run the next lap.
If you have any friends who are new to the SSO and our performing groups, please help us invite them to get to know us. One more listener to our music online and one more audience member at our concerts are all valued ways to support us.
See you in the concert halls next year as a fellow audience member!