A Year in Review: 2023

A Year in Review: 2023

We look back on another eventful year for the Singapore Symphony Group.

By Elliot Lim

Dec 2023

The Singapore Symphony Group has much to be grateful for in 2023.

In the past year, we continued to receive the strong support of audiences, with around 90% attendance at our live concert hall performances for the first three quarters of the year. Our digital concert offerings have also seen a combined two million views from music enthusiasts around the world. In addition, we have been encouraged by the positive reception for the well-reviewed SSO albums Four Seasons & Locatelli’s Harmonic Labyrinth with Chloe Chua, and Herrmann: Suite from 'Wuthering Heights', with the latter ranked within the top five of the United Kingdom’s Official Specialist Classical Charts — the orchestra’s first time achieving this milestone. The album also received a five-star Recording of the Month citation from BBC Music Magazine.

Embarking on a New Chapter with CEO Kenneth Kwok

The SSG welcomed Kenneth Kwok as Chief Executive Officer in January. No stranger to the arts sector after many years with the National Arts Council, he hopes to continue the good work of the Singapore Symphony as a national arts company in sharing our love for music with a growing diversity of audiences and creating more opportunities for participation in music-making.

Light to Night Festival 2023

The same month saw the Singapore Symphony take part in the Light to Night Festival 2023: Here and Now as part of Singapore Art Week. Under VCHpresents, various music programmes thrilled festivalgoers at the Victoria Concert Hall, including live performances by Singapore National Youth Orchestra’s (SNYO) musicians, VCH Backstage Tours, and Transfigured Night – a sensorial performance by SSO’s string musicians and Singaporean light artist Lawrence Koh.

Forging a New Partnership

We were delighted to name Raffles Hotel Singapore as the SSO Official Hotel. This partnership entails hotel residency for SSO’s visiting artistes, and Magic Hour @ Raffles Hotel Singapore – a series of live performances by SSO musicians, held within the hotel’s picturesque lawn and open to the public.

Music in the Meadow at Gardens by the Bay

Concerts for All

In March, SSO’s free community concerts brought musical cheer to both new and ardent music enthusiasts in Singapore. Associate Conductor Rodolfo Barráez led the orchestra in three community concerts at the Victoria Concert Hall, Republic Polytechnic and Gardens by the Bay. Violinist Alyssa Goh, Second Prize Winner of the Violin Senior category at the National Piano & Violin Competition 2021, also joined in the revelry as featured soloist at each event.

A Symphony of Passion

A Night to Remember

On 29 April, the SSO and Food from the Heart (FFTH) joined forces to present A Symphony of Passion, a joint fundraising gala. Over 500 guests were treated to exquisite dining, a rousing auction and live performances by the SSO. With our deepest gratitude, the event raised more than $1.7 million, which was divided equally between both organisations to support SSO’s musical pursuits and FFTH’s quest to alleviate hunger in Singapore.

Tre Voci

Vocal Excellence in Full Display

Comprising the Singapore Symphony Chorus, Youth Choir and Children's Choir, the Choruses debuted their first standalone combined concert – Tre Voci. Held on 27 May at the Victoria Concert Hall, the auditory performance featured a mix of choral classical and contemporary favourites.

A Showcase of Dance and Music

SNYO in Concert: Symphony of Dance was the first-ever collaboration between the SNYO and the Singapore Ballet. Held on 10 June, the historic performance was presented to over 2,000 concertgoers, where dancers performed in graceful unison with the symphonic music of the youth orchestra.

Singapore International Piano Festival

From 3 to 11 June, the 29th edition of the Singapore Intenational Piano Festival treated over 1,000 audience members to live performances, along with insightful masterclasses by acclaimed pianists of Tengku Irfan, Jonathan Biss and Pierre-Laurent from Malaysia, America, and France respectively.

SSO 2023/24 Season

July marked the start of our new season led by Music Director Hans Graf with a full year of exciting programmes, following the pandemic years of live concerts at limited audience capacity. The season opened with SSO Pops: The Music of Hans Zimmer, which was also dedicated to SSO Official Hotel, Raffles Hotel Singapore. Other concert highlights featured Artist-In-Residence Chloe Chua as well as masters Mischa Maisky, Leonidas Kavakos and Rudolf Buchbinder. In the months ahead, Maestro Hans Graf conducts Rachmaninoff with Garrick Ohlsson and Jae-Hyuck Cho, and Conductor Laureate Lan Shui returns with Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

Temasek Foundation SSO National Day Concert

Celebrating Singapore

13 August saw the Temasek Foundation SSO National Day Concert presented in celebration of Singapore’s birthday. The sixth edition of the annual concert showcased new orchestral works by emerging and pioneering Singaporean composers, and was livestreamed for online audiences.

Soloist Wang Huang Hao Jia at the President’s Young Performers Concert 2023

President's Young Performers Concert

Pianist Wang Huang Hao Jia took centre stage at the President’s Young Performers Concert, held on 23 September. The 23-year-old presented Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concert No. 3 to the audience, which included President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

National Piano & Violin Compeition

A new generation of talented young musicians was discovered at the 14th edition of the National Piano & Violin Competition. Following nine days of piano and violin competition rounds, 25 out of over 200 applicants emerged as winners and honourable mentions across four categories. The biennial competition culminated with the Prize Winners’ Concert & Prize Presentation on 3 December.

Making Spirits Bright

Concluding our calendar year of musical experiences was the SSO Christmas Fundraising Concert, held on 14 and 15 December at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Led by Associate Conductor Rodolfo Barráez, the national orchestra, alongside the Singapore Symphony Choruses, presented a festive programme of symphonic classics and familiar Christmas favourites to over 2,000 concertgoers. Thanks to our donors and supporters, the Christmas concert raised $176,680 in donation across both nights.

2024 is set to be an amazing year with the orchestra’s upcoming 45th anniversary. We would like to express our thanks for your unwavering support towards the SSO and its affiliated performing groups’ work in the past year. If you would like to invest in our future, consider making a donation towards our Year-end Appeal here.

Thank you for believing in us!

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