Leong Yoon Pin was one of the most important figures in classical music in Singapore. He was a composer, conductor and educator best known for his choral compositions who went on to become the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence.
Leong was born in Singapore in 1931 and was a self-taught musician until he began lessons in his 20s with Noreen Stokes. He went on to study music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before studying with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in Paris from 1966-67.
Leong also worked as a conductor, founding the Rediffusion Youth Choir in 1953, the Metro Philharmonic Society in 1959 and the Singapore City String Orchestra in the 1970s. He became the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence in the year 2000.
His work includes the tone poem Episodes in Journey to the West, the choral work Street Calls and the concert overture Dayong Sampan which became the first work by a local composer performed by the SSO.
In 1982 he was awarded the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to music in Singapore.