My Weekend

Conductor Jason Lai rides his scooter to explore Singapore.
Conductor Jason Lai rides his scooter to explore Singapore. PHOTO: SINGAPORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Singapore-based British conductor Jason Lai is the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's (SSO's) associate conductor and principal conductor of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra.

The 42-year-old will be leading the concert, SSO Discovering Music!: Music Inspired By Shakespeare, at the Victoria Concert Hall on Sunday. Highlights of the concert include Tchaikovsky's Fantasy Overture from Romeo And Juliet and Mendelssohn's Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream Suite.

Lai, a bachelor, lives alone in a condominium near Harbourfront.

Do you have a regular weekend?

Every weekend is different. Sometimes I have a concert, sometimes I need to be abroad for work, sometimes I'm filming a TV series somewhere. The life of a musician can be unpredictable, but I like that.

When you have a weekend free, what do you do?

I get up late, make myself a nice breakfast and read something interesting that's popped up on social media or the news. I may go out in the afternoon and meet friends or have them over for a meal in the evening.

Sundays are even lazier. If I make it out, I ride my scooter and discover parts of Singapore I've never seen before.

What are your hobbies?

I love photography so when I have time, I take my camera out and shoot. I get quite excited when I see the pictures I've taken and love editing them. I've even enlarged some of them and hung them on a wall at home. It's a shame if the pictures just stay in my hard drive.

If you could hang out with anybody for a weekend, who would it be?

One of my favourite composers is Austrian Gustav Mahler and he was fond of taking long walks or hikes in the mountains, so I'd join him and quiz him about his music.

He was also a great conductor so I'd ask him for tips.

If you could go somewhere for a weekend, where would it be?

There are moments in life when you just feel content.

One such moment for me was when, after a long hike, I found myself sitting on top of a mountain, looking out at the extraordinary landscape and feeling so insignificant. It put everything in perspective and for those brief moments, I felt very calm.

This was in Milford Sound in the south of New Zealand. I'd go there again in a heartbeat for a long weekend if I could.

Brina Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'My Weekend'. Print Edition | Subscribe