Local Focus: Singapore Chinese Orchestra


We hope everyone had a wonderful Chinese New Year break this month ~!  Resuming our series of blog posts featuring the local music and arts scene in Singapore after more than 2 months away (how time flies !) ~ we will be taking a closer look at Singapore Chinese Orchestra this week !

Inaugurated in 1997, Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese Orchestra, and is made up of more than 80 musicians.  With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as its patron, SCO takes on the twin roles of preserving traditional arts and culture, and establishing a unique identity through the incorporation of Southeast Asian cultural elements into its music.

Under the batons of Music Director Tsung Yeh, Resident Conductor Quek Ling Kiong, Associate Conductor Moses Gay En Hui and Composer-in-Residence Wang Chenwei, SCO has toured various countries and cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Nanjing, Suzhou, Macau, Hungary and England.  With its vision to be a world-renowned people’s orchestra, SCO widens its outreach by performing regularly at various national parks, communities and schools; and also commissions its own compositions and organised the Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition (SICCOC) in 2006, 2011 and 2015.

Over the past years, SCO has held annual Chinese New Year concerts, bringing LIVE music to audiences and boosting the holiday festivities as we welcome the new year ahead.  This year, although Singapore remains under tight regulations due to the need to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, SCO continues to offer its annual concert ~ Rhapsodies of Spring, through a collaboration with Mediacorp CAPITAL 958FM and a Channel 8 TV broadcast. 

Since the beginning of February, SCO has also rolled out a brand new initiative “Ah De’s Music Trivia”, which aims to bring the stories behind various festive songs to the public in a fun and lighthearted manner.  As a final wrap-up of the Chinese New Year celebrations, five SCO musicians also performed LIVE at Singapore Botanical Gardens on the evening of 21 February.  With up to 100 audience members allowed and safe management measures in place, this stage presented by ARTS@SBG in conjunction with National Arts Council and ExxonMobil was also live streamed on SCO’s Facebook page for all to view.

Even as we approach the end of Chinese New Year celebrations, audience members can continue to look forward to music and quality content from SCO through its #DabaoSCO series.  Launched in February 2020, SCO’s Youtube channel has been featuring digital concerts and innovative online content.  With the idea of allowing followers to “da-bao” (takeaway) full-length SCO concerts and enjoy concerts from the comfort of their homes, this series features some of the best past SCO Concerts and 1 must-watch concert video recommendation each month.

While Chinese Orchestras may present music with elements significantly different from that of classical chamber music and what we do here at Chamber Music and Arts Singapore, they form an important part of the local music and arts scene here, and this is revered in many countries around the world.

Boasting a large variety of instruments, Chinese Orchestras are often applauded for the perfect harmony and togetherness of these instruments, which can sound very different individually on their own.  (Find out more on the instruments within a Chinese Orchestra HERE ~!)

Through our Local Focus series, we hope to share more insights and perspectives on the local music and arts scene here in Singapore.

If you are here with us now, do drop by SCO’s page to check out their videos and clips to learn more about traditional Chinese music ~!  It will bring you through a different ambience and who knows, you may fall in love with it ! (: