Published on 04 October 2018
Ong Sor Fern, Senior Culture Correspondent
The Straits Times
SINGAPORE - A programme of music fit for kings and queens, and also a former Singapore deputy prime minister.
That is what the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is presenting at a special concert on Saturday (Oct 6) at Victoria Concert Hall.
The Baroque Festival: Music For Kings And Queens concert, part of a three-day SSO Baroque Festival on from Friday till Sunday, is a double celebration.
It commemorates the 100th birthday of the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, who was instrumental in helping to set up the SSO. Dr Goh was its founding patron from 1979 and was acknowledged as such till 2011, a year after his death in 2010.
In a 1980 interview with The Straits Times on the occasion of the orchestra's first birthday, Dr Goh said: "We are not the Philistines that our economic and material success might lead people to believe we are. We believe that there's more to life than making money and that the orchestra would be worthwhile as it would raise the standard of culture of Singaporeans."
He was a fan of Baroque music and would likely have enjoyed the evening's programme of Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. The programme includes Purcell's Chacony In G Minor, Z.730 and Handel's Coronation Anthem: My Heart Is Inditing.
The concert, the European Union's first music collaboration in Singapore, is also to celebrate Asean-EU ties as the Republic takes on the coordinatorship of the three-year Asean-EU Dialogue.
In a message for a booklet to mark the occasion, Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said: "I believe this concert is a fitting way to celebrate Europe and Asia's rich cultural heritages, and an excellent way to honour the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's founding patron and our former deputy prime minister, the late Dr Goh Keng Swee."
The EU, which is the presenting partner for the concert, has also contributed talent to the event. The concert will be conducted by Swedish-French maestro Sofi Jeannin, chief conductor of the BBC Singers and music director of Maitrise de Radio France.
The concert will also feature the Singapore Symphony Chorus, which includes members from EU countries such as Austria, France and Germany, as well as Asean nations like Malaysia and the Philippines.
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