We’re making our first visit to Singapore this week, working with students from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Founded in 2003, the conservatory has quickly established itself as one of the most dynamic in the world, encouraging students to think broadly and creatively about their music-making and future careers, and facilitating collaborations with international guest artists. We’re delighted to have been invited to appear next month as part of the Conservatory’s Ones to Watch series, which showcases musical innovation and best practice from around the world. We’ll be premiering our Orchestral Theatre programme Music of the Spheres at the Victoria Concert Hall as part of the celebrations surrounding the bicentenary of the founding of modern Singapore.
For this month’s initial trip, three Aurora players have travelled out in advance of the main group with composer John Barber to take part in a cross-generational music devising project staged as part of the conservatory’s orchestral pedagogy programme, through which students gain experience of designing and delivering music education projects for young people. Over the past three days since we arrived here in Singapore, John has been leading a mixed group of thirty undergraduate students working alongside the same number of ten-year olds drawn from local schools – the children have recently started learning a second instrument as part of the conservatory’s Double Time project.
We’ve had a great few days here, and as ever John has been a marvellously inspiring presence, collaborating with the students and children to create new music inspired by some of the works we’ll be performing when we return with the orchestra in April (including a brand new song and instrumental pieces which take as their staring points fragments of Mozart’s ‘Jupiter’ symphony and Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto). Between sessions we’ve also managed to explore the sights (and tastes!) of this extraordinary place, with highlights including a visit to the wonderful Gardens by the Bay – surely one of the greatest horticultural achievements of this or any other era!