Sunday, 29 December 2013


If you fancy the idea of spending the new year countdown with family, friends and good music, you should not miss the New Year's Eve Concert with The Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lim Yau. PIANOMANIA speaks with Veda Lin and Ruth Rodrigues of The Philharmonic Orchestra to get a lowdown on this annual fixture. 

by The Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Lim Yau

Place: SOTA Concert Hall
Date: Tuesday, 31st December 2013
Time: 10 pm
Limited tickets still available

Vienna has its New Year’s Day Concert, while London has its Last Night of the Proms. The Philharmonic Orchestra in Singapore has started a little tradition of its own with its third New Year’s Eve Concert to be held on 31 December 2013. Was it a conscious effort to create something unique, like a Singaporean answer to those venerated institutions?

The idea for a New Year's Eve (NYE) Gala Concert certainly came from those traditions already established in Europe and Japan - some of our organising committee who have personally experienced these performances either as performers or audience overseas were eager to see if such a concert experience would catch on in Singapore. Sold-out concerts for the past two years told us that it certainly did!

What stands out in TPO's NYE Gala Concert is that, as well as being joined by a host who will take the audience through the evening's proceedings, this is also the first such countdown concert in Singapore and elsewhere (that we are aware of). As such the concert begins at 10pm, and everyone will usher in the New Year together at midnight!

What sort of works gets programmed in the New Year’s Eve Concert?

Apart from festive fare like Dvorak's Carnival Overture, familiar favourites like Johann Strauss Junior's On the Beautiful Blue Danube and Voices of Spring (featuring soprano Su Yiwen), and the wistful and nostalgic Valse Triste by Sibelius, we will also play Don Gillis' Symphony No. 5½ (A Symphony for Fun), a boisterous, light work that we hope audiences new to classical music concerts will enjoy.

What is the special significance of The Pines of the Appian Way from Respighi’s Pines of Rome, which is the work that greets the New Year on the stroke of midnight?

It’s the perfect piece of music for that final moment of the concert (and for the year) with it’s gradual unfolding nature and steady marching pulse. The brass fanfares that culminates at the end of this five-minute movement ends the year on an uplifting high.

How do the musicians of TPO respond to this concert, when some might feel that the place to be is at home with their families? Do their family members come to this concert?

TPO musicians who have joined us in each instalment of the NYE Gala Concert have found it a unique and meaningful chance to spend the special first moments of the New Year making music with friends. Because the concert programme is enjoyable for all - the young and old, instrument-toting friends and new concert-goers alike - family and friends of our musicians often join in the celebrations in the audience.

Why is this year’s concert special?

After a year performing seminal works in the orchestral repertory - Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Brahms’ complete symphonies - this concert tickles the fancies of TPO’s fun side. We will be letting our hair down with pieces like Don Gillis’ Symphony No. 5½ (A Symphony for Fun) and samba-ing our way through a traditional Cuban pregon (street song), The Peanut Vendor Song. We will also be joined by sopranos Su Yiwen and Yin Yue, who will sing the Flower Duet from Delibe’s Lakme. Our selection of music for this year is especially varied - it will be an ‘international buffet’ featuring composers from Prague, France, Vienna, America and Cuba!

Could you describe the experience to be at the New Year’s Eve Concert?

The NYE Gala Concert is one that combines music and festivity. The countdown will undoubtedly be the unforgettable highlight of the concert. As we welcome 2014 with the final chord of The Pines of the Appian Way, the festive atmosphere will be out-of-this-world. There’s nothing like being in the concert hall at that moment and experiencing the joy and excitement of performers and audience alike - so come join us!

Aside from this, the concert is simply a great opportunity to celebrate the last day of the year with friends. Audience members can look forward to an evening of light-hearted music and mixing with friends over a complimentary glass of champagne during the intermission.

Concert photographs by Andrew Bi Photography.

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