Held at Victoria Concert Hall – Home of the SSO, the SSO’s season opener came in the form of a two-night special SSO performance led by Austrian guest conductor Carlos Kalmar, and featuring award-winning British pianist Steven Osborne.
The programme comprised works linked to London, part of a series of SSO concerts marking the bicentennial with the theme of “British Journeys”, including one of Haydn’s London symphonies — the No. 98. Osborne performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12. With this piece, Mozart paid tribute to his mentor in London, Johann Christian Bach.
In addition, on 26th July, Keppel Corporation and the national orchestra launched “Keppel Nights@SSO”, the latest addition to the long-running “Keppel Nights” programme that aims to nurture an audience for the arts. The Keppel Nights@SSO programme will reach out to charities and provide disadvantaged communities with access to SSO performances. Professor Chan Heng Chee, Chair of the National Arts Council was Guest of Honour at the launch.
In conjunction with the Keppel Nights@SSO launch, around 40 beneficiaries from charities Montfort Care and Daughters of Tomorrow, accompanied by volunteers from Keppel, attended the season opener, with many beneficiaries catching the SSO for the first time. Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation, said, “We are pleased to partner SSO in this programme to provide opportunities for the less privileged to experience world-class orchestra performances. Through such efforts, we hope to build a more inclusive society and have a positive impact on the community.”
Former and current SSO Ladies’ League members — volunteers who fundraise for and promote the orchestra — were also present to witness the re-introduction of a pair of sculptures by Brother Joseph McNally. Commissioned in 1987 by then SSO Ladies’ League chair, the late Mdm Lee Seok Tin, the sculptures were made with pipes from the disused St. Clair organ at VCH, each resembling a musician playing a pipe instrument — one a Chinese sheng, and the other a flute.These were taken down during the refurbishment of the concert hall in 2010, and recently restored and reinstalled.
Said Singapore Symphony Group CEO Mr Chng Hak-Peng, “We are very honoured to partner Keppel in our outreach efforts, and fortunate to enjoy the support of the SSO Ladies’ League since the 1980s. This convergence of community and the arts is part of our mission to spread the love of music to enrich our diverse communities. Concertgoers can look forward to a new SSO season programme that hark to communities, global cities, and artistic centres through the bicentennial that we’re marking this year in Singapore.”