Climate change influences Singapore Symphony Orchestra's new season

The upcoming season has over 30 artists making their debut with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Music inspired by nature and the universe mark the upcoming season of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO).

On Aug 30, the orchestra will play live music to accompany two movies by astronomer and photographer Jose Francisco Salgado - Moonrise (2012), about humanity's fascination with the moon; and Aurora Triptych, about the famous Northern Lights which light up the skies at the top of the world.

On Nov 8, the SSO plays Gustav Holst's opus The Planets, and on Nov 22 and 23, Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, the nature-themed Pastoral, is featured alongside Romanian composer George Enescu's Pastorale-Fantaisie, which was rediscovered only in 2017.

According to Mr Chng Hak-Peng, chief executive officer of the Singapore Symphony Group, which runs the SSO, the 2019/2020 season is inspired by contemporary concerns, including increasing interest in nature, spurred by climate change.

"This has inspired us to explore our community's sense of history, and the 'space' we inhabit in geographical, cosmic, and cultural terms."

Two other themes in the season, which runs from this July to May next year, are British Journeys - since voyages from Britain affected Asia - and Voice Of A City, or Singapore's national identity.

For example, The National Day Concert on Aug 10 will feature the The Raffles March, a 1915 work by little-known composer A. Dietz. It was dedicated to one of the founders of the Raffles Hotel and rediscovered by an SSO musician in the National Library of Singapore's music archives.

The season also has over 30 artists making their debut with the SSO, from local musicians Nawaz Mirajkar on the tabla and Akilesh VMS on the mridangam to French cellist Gautier Capucon, who performed a moving tribute outside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 16, after the monument was ravaged by flames.

In addition, the SSO season includes at least four concerts of film music. Music from the Star Wars films will feature at an SSO Pops concert in December. Concerts in January and March next year are headlined by music from film composer Korngold and the 1988 film The Red Violin respectively.

Mr Chng says: "We continue to offer repertoire to meet the different needs and wants of our wide-ranging audience."

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