Heartiest congratulations go to Maestro Tsung Yeh, Music Director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), for being awarded the Cultural Medallion in October 2013. Singapore's highest accolade in the arts is awarded annually to artists who have contributed significantly to the nation's cultural scene and heritage. Maestro Yeh's eleven years at the helm of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra can be described as phenomenal, having completely redefined and vitalised the genre of Chinese orchestral and instrumental music.
No longer can Chinese instrumental music be labelled as staid or old-fashioned, as Yeh's concerts have brought a new cutting edge to the genre. Classical works sit comfortably alongside experimental creations of the Chinese avant-garde, and he is unafraid to adapt selected Western classical favourites to Chinese instrumentations.
The results have been variable, but are often provocative and there is no want for trying. He has also championed the cause of Singaporean and locally based composers, and the SCO outperforms all other professional ensembles in commissioning and performing local compositions. Central to this philosophy is the development of "Nanyang music", music that assimilates Southeast Asian idioms into Chinese orchestration, a genre that is unique to this part of the world.
The Singapore Chinese Orchestra is on its way to becoming a world-renowned ensemble and Maestro Yeh's contribution has been its vital life-force. A celebration lunch was held at the Singapore Conference Hall on Tuesday (19 November) to honour the maestro. It was attended by members of the orchestra, staff, board and committee members, all of whom have helped the cause of Chinese music in Singapore.
|As always, Maestro Yeh cuts a relaxed pose, even as |
he views the short documentary on the Cultural Medallion.
|Maestro Yeh, flanked by Mr Patrick Lee (Chairman of SCO)|
and board member Mrs Goh Chok Tong.
|All eyes on board member Mr Seng Han Thong's Ipad.|
|A family photo of the SCO board for the album.|
|Chairman Mr Patrick Lee has some ideas for the |
orchestra's next endeavour, while
board member Ms Hu Wenyan looks on warily.