Ding Yi Music Ensemble goes pop with Tang Na concert

Taiwanese singer Tang Na. -- PHOTO: DING YI MUSIC ENSEMBLE
Taiwanese singer Tang Na. -- PHOTO: DING YI MUSIC ENSEMBLE
The ensemble will accompany Taiwanese singer Tang Na  in a concert tomorrow. -- PHOTO: DING YI MUSIC ENSEMBLE

Chinese chamber music and contemporary dance may not seem to have much in common, but these two distinct genres will flow together in a single performance at the end of the year.

Of Music And Dance, a collaboration between Ding Yi Music Company and Re:Dance Theatre, is just one of many programmes in the music company's busy 2015 season, which begins tomorrow with a performance by Taiwanese singer Tang Na.

General manager of the company Dedric Wong De Li says that this year's season is characterised by five elements - small, dexterous, intricate, harmonious and refined.

He adds: "With these five elements, our musicians will be able to present high-quality music that is touching and intimate."

At Mesmerize - Tang Na In Concert With Ding Yi Music Company, the company is going pop for the first time tomorrow.

The ensemble, conducted by Dr Tay Teow Kiat, will be accompanying Tang on snippets of famous songs from the 1950s to the 1990s, including hits Ye Lai Xiang and Lover's Tears. She will also be singing some of her own songs, such as Hold Me Closer.

Tang says that as Ding Yi, formed in 2007, is still a young company, the musical arrangements were selected to have "lao ge, xin gan" or "old songs, new feelings".

Another highlight of this year's programme is the return of Composium 2015, a composing competition which takes place once every three years.

There are two categories to compose for - a full Chinese chamber ensemble of 10 to 13 musicians and a smaller group of five musicians. The top prize for each category is $2,000 and the finals of the competition will take place in August.

Mr Wong says the competition will give young composers the opportunity to work with musicians and to get feedback on their work.

"Without new compositions, the ensemble would not have life. New compositions are vital and we hope that through Composium, we will be able to build up a library of Chinese chamber works."

This year also marks the return of the Chinese Chamber Music Festival in October, which takes place every two years. The first edition of the festival was held in 2013.

This year, Ding Yi will host three new ensembles which will perform here: Nam Ting Wui Cantonese Music Ensemble from Guangzhou, a group from the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra and Long Wind Ensemble from America.

Ding Yi will also be premiering works by local composers, and hold workshops and talks as part of the festival. Closing this year's programme will be Of Music And Dance, which takes place in December.

Re:Dance Theatre artistic director Albert Tiong says that creating the work will be a challenging process as they have not worked with Chinese chamber music before.

He adds: "However, contemporary dance is very expressive and inclusive, and so there are a lot of possibilities and a lot of potential in this performance."

As for Mr Wong, he hopes that this year's programme will help Ding Yi, and Chinese chamber music as a whole, to gain a foothold in Singapore.

"We hope to create a distinct voice for our ensemble and find a musical identity for Singapore's Chinese music scene.

"Chinese chamber music is still a growing genre. We hope to champion it and be the leading voice of Chinese chamber music here."

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