Preview: Highlights of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra 2018/19 Season

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The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has released their entire 2018/19 season! Marking their 40th Anniversary, expect everything from the obligatory 40th Anniversary Gala to a Christmas Concert at the end of the year, alongside fresh, contemporary performances ranging from video game music all the way to orchestral reimaginations of Daft Punk and Radiohead. Read on to find out some of the highlights to look forward to in the year to come:

Brad Lubman

With the Red Balloon Series, come experience the 60 Minute style concert gaining traction and popularity in Europe, giving audiences just enough time to absorb and enjoy the music presented. In Reich in 60 Minutes, conductor Brad Lubman takes audiences through influential American composer Steve Reich’s greatest hits as it moves through the cityscape with the sounds of urban life and natural music from the streets, including the Singapore Premiere of Reich’s Pulse. In Rock in 60 Minutes, conductor Jacomo Bairos leads electric guitarists Nick Omiccioli and Paul Cesarczyk as they present sixty minutes of rock music from Draft Punk to Radiohead to Frank Zappa, bringing together unlikely instruments to bend the genre in orchestra format. Finally, in Rhythm, Rites and Renewals: Crossing the Threshold, conductor Pascal Rophe has soloist Maraca2 and timpani player Christian Schiøler presenting the Asian Premiere of Jean-Frederic Neuburger’s Aube and Joseph Pereira’s Threshold, before ending off with Stravinsky’s epic, revolutionary Rite of Spring. 

On a lighter side, the SSO Pops Series is a perfect appetiser for the uninitiated into music, aimed at those curious to get into the scene with a couple of more accessible works. When you’ve learnt and experienced enough of these tasters, hopefully these audience members will eventually graduate and move on to full blown SSO VCH shows. In SSO Pops, Jazz It Up with Gershwin! as conductor Andrew Litton leads the orchestra in a rendition of Shostakovich and Gershwin, jazzing up the evening with some of the most infectious, toe-tapping rhythms that’ll just make you want to get up and dance. For the television buffs, you’ll be happy to know that the SSO will be presenting Happy Days, a showcase of some of the most iconic and memorable television themes of the golden age, as Filipino conductor Gerard Salonga celebrates classics from Hawaii 5-0, Charlie’s Angels, Dallas, The Greatest American Hero, Lavern & Shirley and, of course, Happy Days, to celebrate the happy happy 40th birthday of the SSO. Lastly, for the video game fans, the Irish Queen of Games Music Eimear Noone (who composed “Malach” from World of Warcraft) will be conducting Video Games Classics  as she leads soprano Victoria Songwei Li and mezzo-soprano Jade Tan, along with the Singapore Symphony Youth Choir in a celebration of fantasy and music from games such as  World of WarcraftThe Legend of ZeldaSkyrimFinal Fantasy and even Tetris.

Eimear Noone

Speaking of games, geek out to this season’s VCH Excite! series, with A New World, featuring conductor Arnie Roth, piano soloist Benyamin Nuss and a chamber ensemble of SSO musicians as they play intimate music from the Final Fantasy game series by Nobuo Uematsu. Also in this series is Grammy Award winning percussionist Mark Suter in the world premiere of jazz percussion performance Project: World, string players Loco Motive Trio and their eclectic mix of non-classical tunes, and local jazz icon Rani Singam as she presents a night of musical gold with her favourite tunes and new arrangements, such as her single My Muse. Over at the VCH, also take the chance to catch BBC Music Magazine Award-winning harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani in his Singaporean debut.

Loco Motive Trio

Finally, have a chance to sit in and experience the acoustically brilliant Victoria Concert Hall for free in the VCH Organ Series. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the VCH are the superb acoustics, and it truly is a gift that Singapore possesses such a grand, historical and beautiful building, It’s the kind of place you feel proud of being able to head to, and every concert an event worth dressing up for and feeling good as you walk through those doors. The lineup for the VCH Organ Series includes German organist Stefan Kießling presenting Bach, local musicians Isaac Lee and lau Wen Rong as they duet on the organ and trumpet, and singers Evelyn Ang and Joshua Chang with organist Phoon Yu as they present sacred arias by Handel, Haydn and beyond, some of which are even lunchtime performances to give you some much-needed pep to get through the rest of the day. Whether you’re a classical music diehard or lover of pop and contemporary tunes, an orchestra veteran or a music neophyte, SSO’s 2018/19 season has something for everyone, and promises aural pleasure and mastery in every programme lined up.

For the full SSO 2018/19 Season, visit their website here

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