National Day Awards 2019

Teacher to the stars: Bernard John Lanskey

Professor Bernard Lanskey, who has called Singapore home for the past 13 years, hopes Singaporeans will continue to believe in and value the richness and diversity of their country's cultural identity.
Professor Bernard Lanskey, who has called Singapore home for the past 13 years, hopes Singaporeans will continue to believe in and value the richness and diversity of their country's cultural identity.ST FILE PHOTO

Professor Bernard John Lanskey
Dean and Professor, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore
Public Administration Medal (Silver)

In the 1990s, he taught music to young British actors such as Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGregor and Daniel Craig at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

This was so that they would know how to read music even if their acting careers did not take off. Or, as Professor Bernard Lanskey puts it, "fake it till you make it". But for the past 13 years, he has called Singapore home.

The 59-year-old dean says the evolution of the music and arts scene in Singapore and South-east Asia has been extraordinary.

"When I first arrived, the focus was on establishing the 'hardware' to bring about change, while it would take time for the 'software' to emerge," he says.

"It has therefore been heartening to see so many former students returning to Singapore.

"Whether by leading ensembles, establishing music schools, sharing their music-making, creating events or contributing to existing projects, they are building an exciting vibrancy in Singapore."

 

The Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music opened its doors in 2003 and offers full-time tertiary programmes, alongside opportunities to engage with music in the university and community.

It presents about 200 public events each year and is active in forging local, regional and international partnerships.

Prof Lanskey hopes Singaporeans will continue to believe in and value the richness and diversity of their country's cultural identity.

"Or, to borrow from the conservatory's catchphrase, that we may come together to 'listen in new light'."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Teacher to the stars'. Print Edition | Subscribe