Concerts celebrating Golden Jubilee

The Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra will premiere Dreams, the newest composition by twin pianist-composers Low Shao Ying (left) and Low Shao Suan, this Sunday.
The Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra will premiere Dreams, the newest composition by twin pianist-composers Low Shao Ying (left) and Low Shao Suan, this Sunday.PHOTO: LOW SHAO YING AND LOW SHAO SUAN

National Day may be over, but that does not mean the SG50 celebrations are stopping any time soon.

There will be five concerts this month and the next premiering new compositions in celebration of the nation's Golden Jubilee.

On Thursday, the year-old Addo Chamber Orchestra will begin the second iteration of the Piano Concerto Festival, with a concert titled piano++.

It features the world premiere of three new works by local composer Robert Casteels, 57. They are Rakhmania, inspired by Russian composer Rachmaninov; Grosse Sonate, inspired by Beethoven; and an original work, Tintinabulum.

Then on Sept 3, the orchestra will play various local and national songs, including Chan Mali Chan and Together. These songs have been incorporated into a medley, called Symphonic Suite On A Set Of Local Tunes, by Cultural Medallion recipient Kelly Tang, 53, dean of arts and special projects at the School of the Arts.

He said: "The medley was composed in 2004 and captures a dynamic and exciting time in our cultural history."

  • BOOK IT/PIANO++

    WHERE: Esplanade Recital Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Thursday, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $25 for one, $40 for two from tickets@greatperformances.com.sg

    INFO: www.facebook.com/pianoconcertofestival

    BOOK IT/DREAMS

    WHERE: Sota Concert Hall, 1 Zubir Said Drive

    WHEN: Sunday, 5pm

    ADMISSION: $15 to $27 from Sistic (excludes booking fee)

    INFO: www.bhso.org/concerts/season2015/dreams

    BOOK IT/G3NERATI0NS

    WHERE: Lee Foundation Theatre, Nafa Campus 3, 151 Bencoolen Street

    WHEN: Aug 27, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: Free (with reservation)

    INFO: Call 6512-4179 or e-mail music@nafa.edu.sg to reserve

    BOOK IT/APOTHEOSIS OF THE DANCE

    WHERE: Lee Foundation Theatre, Nafa Campus 3, 151 Bencoolen Street

    ADMISSION: Free (with reservation)

    WHEN: Sept 3, 7.30pm

    INFO: Call 6512-4179 or e-mail music@nafa.edu.sg to reserve

    BOOK IT/PIANO CONCERTO FESTIVAL: IN CELEBRATION OF SINGAPORE'S 50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

    WHERE: Victoria Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place

    WHEN: Sept 3, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $25 to $70 from Sistic (excludes booking fee)

    INFO: www.facebook.com/pianoconcertofestival

The orchestra, led by conductor Clarence Tan, 39, is usually made up of 30 musicians. However, for the SG50-themed concert, it will have 50, including guest musicians from countries such as Japan and Australia.

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) will stage two concerts featuring five new works.

The first concert, called g3nerations, will be held on Aug 27 and will feature new works by Nafa alumni. It celebrates both SG50 and Nafa's 30th anniversary and will be performed by the Nafa Chorus, Chinese Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and New Music Ensemble.

The second, Apotheosis Of The Dance, will be held on Sept 3.

Composer Zechariah Goh's new composition, Iridescence, will be performed, along with Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

The 45-year-old senior lecturer and head of composition studies at Nafa says: "Iridescence is about the the brilliance of light refractions representing Singapore's rapid development into a metropolis.

"I used a single sustained tone in the orchestra to portray a beam of light shining through; as it passes through uneven surfaces or spaces, it turns into a beautiful array of colours. It's a metaphor for Singapore's journey from a small fishing village to a lustrous garden city today and our hope for the future."

Composers Americ Goh, 33, and Terrence Wong, 26, will also have their works played at g3nerations.

Meanwhile, this Sunday, the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra will be premiering the newest composition by twin pianist-composers Low Shao Ying and Low Shao Suan, who are in their 30s and also full-time piano accompanists at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore.

Dreams is a seven-minute piece with two movements, In The Horizon and Just Do It.

The sisters were tasked to work around an SG50 theme by the orchestra and took inspiration from late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's relentless attitude in developing Singapore.

Shao Suan says: "We wrote the piece around February, before Mr Lee passed away. However, we don't want audience members to think of our work as a tribute piece. Instead, since it's SG50, we should be celebrating the progress we've made these past 50 years."

Mr Adrian Tan, 38, music director and conductor of the orchestra, says: "As a community orchestra, we should be supporting our local music more and play more local compositions. We commission at least one new work a year and it's a pity that we don't revisit them more often.

"Just because it's a classical music concert doesn't mean we have to keep playing the greats like Mozart and Beethoven. Hopefully, one day we'll be able to see a Singapore that appreciates good local compositions more."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Concerts celebrating Golden Jubilee'. Print Edition | Subscribe