Singapore Symphony Group names Kenneth Kwok as CEO

Published on 25 October 2022

Mr Kenneth Kwok (left), Mr Chng Hak-Peng (right)

Former Assistant Chief Executive of National Arts Council to take over from Chng Hak-Peng as CEO on 1 January 2023

Singapore, 25 October 2022 — The Singapore Symphony Group (SSG) has announced Mr Kenneth Kwok as its incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He is currently Senior Director, Service Quality and Community Engagement of the Municipal Services Office at the Ministry of National Development (MND). Mr Kwok will be appointed CEO-designate from 1 December 2022, and subsequently as CEO with effect from 1 January 2023.

The leadership change will close off Mr Chng Hak-Peng’s eleven-year stint to transform Singapore’s flagship classical music company and make it future-ready. He will officially step down on 31 December 2022 to spend time with family before returning to the private sector. Mr Chng first joined SSO in 2008 as a volunteer, working pro-bono on strategy and organisational change with the company’s management. He joined the board in 2011 and was later appointed Deputy Chair of the company, and then CEO in October 2015.

Mr Goh Yew Lin, Chair of the Singapore Symphony Group said, “The growth and success of the organisation over the last seven years is a testament to Hak-Peng’s leadership. During his tenure as CEO, he initiated and executed several strategic and organisational changes, steered the SSG through the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued the trajectory of artistic excellence that has won the orchestra significant international acclaim. We are deeply grateful for Hak-Peng’s contributions and dedication and wish him success in all his future endeavours.”

Mr Chng oversaw the review and clarification of mission and purpose for the Group’s two orchestras, three choruses, and music education units. Under his leadership, the SSG reorganised, rebranded, and raised the profile of its performing groups locally and internationally. He strengthened and professionalised the governance processes of the charity and raised its compliance with various codes and regulations. Mr Chng also raised funding for the extensive digital transformation of the company both for internal systems and online audiences.

Mr Chng shared, “It has been an honour to be of service to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Choruses, the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, and the arts professionals of the Group. It has been a joy to bring together such a diverse set of passionate people and stakeholders to clarify and work towards a common dream of a Singapore filled with the beauty of music and the spirit of music-making. The translation of such an abstract goal into the creation of memorable musical experiences was only possible because of a resilient and talented team, strongly supported by our local and international audiences, donors, the board and our Council and committees, and the arts community. I look forward to seeing the Group continue to bring orchestral and choral music closer to the hearts of people in Singapore and around the world.”

Mr Goh said, “We are delighted to welcome Kenneth to the Singapore Symphony Group. He has a deep love for the arts and arts education, and brings extensive experience and leadership in the public service, including key roles in arts management. Having worked with him at both the National Arts Council and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, I am sure that he is the right person to take the SSG to the next level.”

A passionate advocate of the arts, Mr Kwok has spent over two decades contributing to the local arts scene in various capacities – prior to MND, he was the Assistant Chief Executive at the National Arts Council (NAC), where he oversaw education and youth programmes, capability development, strategic planning, research and international relations. He started his career as a Literature and Drama teacher, and has sat on the boards and advisory councils of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Arts House Limited, Very Special Theatrics and SCAPE. He has also written performing arts reviews and essays on the cultural sector for various publications, including for the Esplanade.

Mr Kwok shared, “Having dedicated a large part of my personal and professional life to the arts, I feel very privileged to now be entrusted with the responsibility of leading one of our national cultural institutions. SSG has been such a major force in our Singapore arts scene for so many years, and has reached generations of audiences and young musicians through its concerts and programmes. The orchestra has also gained a sterling international reputation. I am excited to work together with everyone at SSG to build on the company’s rich history and achievements.”

The SSG also announced the appointment of a new member to its Board: Ms Lynette Pang, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Planning & Corporate Development, NAC. Ms Pang takes over the seat of Mr Paul Tan, former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the NAC.

The Singapore Symphony Group manages the flagship Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Choruses, the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, and the VCHpresents Chamber Music series, the Singapore International Piano Festival and the biennial National Piano & Violin Competition. The Group also represents the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in Singapore.

The mission of the Group is to create memorable shared experiences with music. Through the SSO and its affiliated performing groups, we spread the love for music, nurture talent and enrich our diverse communities.

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