On 18th January, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) marked its 40th year with a concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was guest of honour.
The programme was led by Music Director Lan Shui, and recalled the orchestra’s inaugural concert in 1979, with Ives’ The Unanswered Question and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 performed by Singaporean pianist Lim Yan. The SSO also performed Dayong Sampan Overture – the very first local work performed by the orchestra, in 1980 – written by the late Leong Yoon Pin who later became SSO’s first Composer- in-Residence, in 2000.
In his message for the concert programme, Prime Minister Lee says: “While it is important that we put bread to the table, man does not live by bread alone. Our nation would be soul-less without an appreciation of arts and culture. Our founding fathers believed a symphony orchestra would enrich our culture and show the world that Singapore aimed to be a gracious society.”
“Forty years on, the SSO is a fixture in our cultural firmament. When it performs to standing ovations and critical acclaim in major venues like the BBC Proms, the Berlin Philharmonie and the Prague Spring Festival, it is cause for pride and celebration. The SSO continues to bring joy to Singaporeans from all walks of life, making sure that its music is not just enjoyed by a select few.”
Writes Singapore Symphony Group Chairman Mr Goh Yew Lin: “Music lovers in Singapore owe a huge debt of gratitude to our founding patron, Dr Goh Keng Swee. His plans for SSOwere ambitious, far-reaching, meticulous and long-term in nature. We thank Dr Goh’s pioneering team which comprised Attorney-General Tan Boon Teik, Dr Bernard Tan and Conductor Emeritus Choo Hoey; and also Lan Shui who ends his 22-year tenure as Music Director next week. Each of them dedicated much time, effort and passion to build the wonderful orchestra we have today.”
To 40 years of the SSO, and 40 years and more to go!
Photo Credit: Singapore Symphony Group
SSO 40th Anniversary Gala took place on 18th January 2019 at the Esplanade Concert Hall.