Published on 30 March 2019

News Release

Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat (centre) attended the SSO Benefit Dinner as Guest of Honour, seen here with the SSO Ladies' League.

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) raised $1.16 million at its annual Benefit Gala, on 30 March 2019, which also marked the orchestra's 40th anniversary. Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat was Guest of Honour.

Organised with the help of the SSO Ladies' League led by League Chair Mrs Odile Benjamin, the annual fundraiser that supports the national orchestra is a closely-watched society event. This year’s gala was themed “Rhapsody with the Symphony” and included a dinner menu curated by Ritz-Carlton Millenia Executive Chef Massimo Pasquarelli, a silent wine auction and a performance by the SSO.

The orchestra was joined by London-based violinist Charlie Siem and Singaporean jazz singer Alemay Fernandez. This was Siem’s Singapore debut.

Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, said in his message for the Benefit:

“Singaporeans from all walks of life get the opportunity to enjoy SSO performances not just in the concert halls, but at some of the most beautiful spots of our Garden City – the Botanic Gardens, the Gardens by the Bay, and even learning institutions such as the ITE Central campus. As Singapore’s national orchestra, SSO really belongs to all of us. The government supports the orchestra with a large part of its funding, in the hopes that it will continue to bring classical music to all Singaporeans. I also hope that more among us will step forward allegro con brio to support SSO to scale even greater heights of excellence.”

The SSO gives about 100 performances a year, where almost half are free to the public. The arts charity relies on private donations and government funding that also go towards the running of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and the Singapore Symphony Choruses, music competitions, workshops and festivals.

Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat (far right) attended the SSO Benefit Dinner as Guest of Honour, seen here with: L-R: SSG Chairman Goh Yew Lin, SSO Co-Concertmaster Lynnette Seah, Ms Chang Hwee Nee, violinist Charlie Siem.

Mr Goh Yew Lin, Chairman of the Singapore Symphony Group, which manages the orchestra and its affiliated performing groups, said:

“Turning 40 is a significant milestone for the SSO, and the enthusiastic support that we continue to receive from our audiences, donors and sponsors after all these years is a huge encouragement and provides much motivation for us.”

This year, the SSO signed up trust specialist Butterfield Singapore as the gala’s Presenting Sponsor. Butterfield’s Regional Head for Asia, Brian Balleine, said:

“Music is a gift for all of us to share. As we continue to invest in our business and people, and grow our relationships in the community, we at Butterfield are pleased to help contribute to the vibrancy of the arts in Singapore.”

Other corporate donors include United Overseas Bank, One North Capital, V3 Group and petrochemical company Total.

Photos: SSO Benefit Gala photos (please credit Singapore Symphony Group)

Performance programme:
TCHAIKOVSKY, Danse hongroise (Czardas) & Danse russe from Swan Lake
BIZET, Habanera
BRAHMS, Hungarian Dance No.4
BOCK, JERRY, Fiddler On The Roof Overture
QUEEN, Bohemian Rhapsody
MONTI, Czardas

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