Ng Tian Hui is first Singaporean to be named Boston orchestra's music director

As music director, one of Ng Tian Hui's main areas of focus will be programme curation. PHOTO: NG TIAN HUI

SINGAPORE - Ng Tian Hui, the first Singaporean music director of the Boston orchestra New England Philharmonic, wants to push for diversity in upcoming concerts.

The orchestra announced his appointment for its upcoming 46th season in a press release on July 25.

Ng, 42, says of his appointment: "Orchestras have a unique opportunity to give space for reflection and introspection through the richness of musical invention.

"I am imagining ways in which our concerts provide a diversity of perspectives and how we can invite new audiences who might not have seen themselves represented in our music-making."

Ng, who is based in Massachusetts, studied composition and conducting at the University of Birmingham. He has conducted orchestras around the world, including the Dartington Festival Orchestra in Britain and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra in the United States.

As music director, one of his main areas of focus will be programme curation. He is working with a panel of advisers from the orchestra to determine the final details of the new season.

He aspires to reignite the communal bond between musicians and the public through music, following the "social isolation and communal fragmentation" brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The New England Philharmonic is a volunteer orchestra that is committed to fostering "the composition and the appreciation of contemporary classical music by performing commissions and recent works alongside traditional repertoire", according to its press statement.

When the orchestra conducted a search for a new music director, Ng applied with the encouragement of composers and performers he had worked with in the past, who cited the high level of the orchestra's ensemble and its focus on the music of today.

Following his application, he was one of four finalists engaged to conduct a concert with the orchestra in May this year. He will be the fifth music director to lead the orchestra, which was founded in 1976.

He says: "The city of Boston is rich in orchestral music. There are more than 30 orchestras here and this reflects the love of the people for this music.

"I am excited that this represents an opportunity to join in the larger conversation of the future of orchestral music, and the opportunity to realise the many ideas I have."

Correction note: An earlier version of the article stated that Ng Tian Hui studied composition and early music at the University of Birmingham. This has been corrected. 

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