Singapore Chinese Orchestra Europe Tour, 2019

Tour Dates: 30th August - 11th September, 2019

Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), inaugurated in 1997, is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese orchestra.

Tour Dates
  • 30th August - 11th September, 2019

Tour Information:
31st August, Konzerthaus Berlin, Germany
3rd September, Dvořák Hall, Rudolfinum, Czech
6th September, Rocca Sforzesca di Imola, Italy
9th September, Ancient Theatre of Dodoni, Greece

Singapore Chinese Orchestra

Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), inaugurated in 1997, is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese orchestra. SCO, made up of more than 80 musicians, occupies the Singapore Conference Hall, which is a national monument. With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as its patron, SCO takes on the twin role of preserving traditional arts and culture and establishing its unique identity through the incorporation of Southeast Asian cultural elements in its music.

SCO has impressed a broadening audience with its blockbuster presentations and is fast establishing itself around the world. In 2002, it staged a symphonic fantasy epic Marco Polo and Princess Blue as part of the opening festival of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. The following year, SCO produced a musical and visual conversation with Singapore’s most eminent multi-disciplinary artist Tan Swie Hian at the Singapore Arts Festival 2003. SCO celebrated Singapore’s 39th National Day in 2004 with a spectacular concert – Our People, Our Music – featuring 2,400 local music enthusiasts at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. In 2005, it produced a mega musical production, Admiral of the Seven Seas, as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2005. In 2007, SCO was part of the 240-strong combined orchestra that performed at the Singapore National Day Parade. In the Singapore Arts Festival 2008, SCO joined hands with Theatreworks to present the ground-breaking production Awaking, which brought together Kunqu opera music and Elizabethan music. In 2009, SCO made history by becoming the first Chinese orchestra to perform in the opening week of the Edinburgh Festival, and in 2010, performed in Paris as part of the Singapour Festivarts.

Well-known for its high performance standards and versatility, SCO has performed at numerous prestigious events such as the World Economic Forum and International Summit of Arts Council in 2003, and the 2006 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meeting.

SCO has toured various countries and cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Nanjing, Suzhou, Macau, Hungary and England. Recently in May 2014, SCO performed at the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival and in Suzhou to celebrate the Singapore-Suzhou Industrial Park’s 20th anniversary. In October 2015, SCO performed two concerts in Hong Kong at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall and Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Commissioned by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth as part of the Titian Budaya Singapore cultural season in Kuala Lumpur, SCO also held its debut concert in Malaysia at the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. These international platforms provided SCO with the opportunities to showcase its talents and music, propelling it to the forefront of the international music arena.

With its vision to be a world-renowned people’s orchestra, SCO widens its outreach by performing regularly at various national parks, communities and schools. SCO also commissions its own compositions and organised the Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition (SICCOC) in 2006, 2011 and 2015 respectively. The competition aims to promote compositions that incorporate music elements from Southeast Asia, also known as “Nanyang music”. In 2012, SCO organised Singapore’s first 23-day National Chinese Orchestra Marathon, a spectacular feat that drew the participation of 31 local Chinese orchestras which participated with over 44 performances and an audience of 20,000. On 28 June 2014, SCO created history through the second instalment of Our People Our Music by creating two Guinness World Records and three Singapore Book of Records with 4,557 performers at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub. It is with this vision that SCO continues to inspire, influence, educate and communicate through its music.

Music Director: Tsung Yeh

Tsung Yeh joined the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) as Music Director in January 2002. Under his direction, SCO expanded its repertoire with innovative works such as Marco Polo and Princess Blue — A Symphonic Epic, Instant is a Millennium – A Musical Conversation with Tan Swie Hian, The Grandeur of Tang, Thunderstorm, Admiral of the Seven Seas and Awaking. In Awaking, he melded Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu’s plays into one, elevating Chinese orchestral music to a higher level. In 2013, Tsung Yeh was awarded the Cultural Medallion, the highest accolade in the arts. He is also the artistic advisor to the Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra.

As Music Director of Singapore’s National Day Parade 2007, Tsung Yeh conceptualised a symphonic music structure with supreme, textured virtuosity that incensed the national pride in the air. 240 musicians from the SCO, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Armed Forces Central Band, Malay and Indian ensemble, Nanyin ensemble and a chorus performed under his baton before an audience of 27,000 and millions of television viewers. In 2004 and 2014, Tsung Yeh directed two mega orchestra concerts at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub respectively, of which, 2014’s concert of 4,557 musicians broke 2 Guinness World Records and 3 Singapore Book of Records.

Tsung Yeh has brought SCO internationally and developed the special artistic identity of SCO through the orchestra’s sound and texture, comprising of East and West and Nanyang heritage, which is unique to SCO. In March and April 2005, he led the orchestra on a tour to Europe at Barbican Centre in London, The Sage Gateshead and the Budapest Spring Festival. In October 2007, SCO performed at the Beijing Music Festival, China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Macau International Music Festival, as well as at major concert halls in Guangzhou, Zhongshan and Shenzhen. In August 2009, SCO made history by becoming the first Chinese orchestra to perform in the opening week of the Edinburgh Festival. 

Tsung Yeh was the Music Director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra (SBSO) in the United States from 1988 to 2016. In 1995, he was honoured with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Upon his retirement from SBSO, Tsung Yeh was presented the “Sagamore of the Wabash Award” from the Indiana State – the highest honour given by the Indiana Governor, Mike Pence. 7 May 2016 was proclaimed “Tsung Yeh Day” by the Mayor of the South Bend City, Pete Buttigieg. Tsung Yeh is presently designated as the Conductor Laureate by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Association.

As part of the Conductors’ Mentor Programme sponsored by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he worked with Music Director Daniel Barenboim and Principal Guest Conductor Pierre Boulez.Tsung Yeh was formerly the Music Director of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He served as Resident Conductor of Florida Orchestra and was the Principal Guest Conductor of Albany Symphony Orchestra of New York.

Tsung Yeh has collaborated with reputable international orchestras including San Francisco, Tucson and New Haven Symphonies, Calgary and Rochester Philharmonic, and orchestras from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Yokohama, France, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Poland, Russia and Czech Republic.In April 1991, he replaced the indisposed Barenboim at short notice and conducted 3 successful concerts.As a recording artist, Tsung Yeh has made various recordings under the HUGO, Delos and Naxos labels.

Tsung Yeh has taught conducting workshops hosted by the Conductors Guild, The League of American Orchestras and the MusikHochschule of Zurich and is also active in conducting masterclasses in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

His new appointments in recent years include the Principal Guest Conductor of the China Central Chinese Orchestra and Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Artistic Committee Member of the Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts and Senior Researcher of the He Luting Chinese Music Research Institute of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and a member of the Faculty of the International Conducting Institute (ICI) in Czech Republic. In 2016, he was selected as one of the 10 Outstanding Conductors by the China Nationalities Orchestra Society. In the same year, Tsung Yeh was also appointed as the Expert of China Thousand Talents Programme.

Program

1. Germany and Czech Concert

Kahchun Wong: Krakatoa
He Zhan Hao, Chen Gang: The Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto
   Rearranged : Yan Hui Chang, Ku Lap Man
   Violin: Kam Ning
Gordon Fung Dic-Lun: Arise, You Lion of Glory
   Pipa: Yu Jia
Tan Dun: Yellow Earth
   I. Raining from the Sky
   II. Second Movement: Gate Crashing the Bridal Chamber
   III. Desiring Intimacy
   IV. Stone-slab Waist Drum

2. Italy and Greece Concert

Law Wai Lun: Prince Sang Nila Utama and Singa
Enjott Schneider: Earth & Fire
   Sheng: Wu Wei
Kong Zhi Xua: Go Across the Rainforests
Tan Dun: Fire Ritual
    Huqin: Li Baoshun

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