Get Ready for the Singapore International Festival of Music

The Singapore International Festival of Music is back for its second edition this year from the 13th to the 30th of October. Themed Myths and Legends, the festival will feature three concerts and eleven chamber series that will bring to life timeless classics like Sleeping Beauty from The Mother Goose Suite. Our homegrown – and performers around the region – professional musicians will be playing alongside international artists for many exciting collaborations that are not to be missed!

Unifying artists from the Singapore International Festival of Music (SIFOM) Orchestra, the renowned Chamber Orchestra of Europe – billed as “the world’s best chamber orchestra” – and Norway’s electrifying Ensemble 1B1 will present charming masterpieces full of warmth from our favourite childhood fairytales. SIFOM’s Grammy-nominated conductor Darrell Ang will take the helm, providing artistic directorship to make this festival truly magical.

Other notable performers include international opera stars Li Ao and Vasilisa Berzhanskaya, composer Jeffrey Ching as well as some of Singapore’s best young talents like violinist Basil Ong Tze Wee, pianists Thomas Ang, Beatrice Lin, Nabillah Jalal, and sopranos Victoria Songwei Li and Nancy Yuen.

For more on SIFOM, check out their website.

The event features ticketed concerts (costing S$72, S$52, S$32), as well as free fringe events. Here are just some of the highlights of the festival’s concert series, both ticketed and free:

Myths & Legends: Mother Goose Suite and the Tales of 1001 Nights
Ravel: Mother Goose Suite | Rossini: “La Cenerentola” | Gounod: “Fause” | Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy | Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Thu, 13 Oct | Victoria Concert Hall | 8pm

French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel completed The Mother Goose Suite in 1910. Impressionistic music give the feeling (or impression) of the scenes rather than following a main narrative in musical melody. Ravel’s creative use of classical instruments to recreate scenes like birds chirping with high strings in a forest is a showcase of his genius in pioneering a whole new world of music during his time. Originally composed as a four hand piano piece, he later arranged it into an orchestral ballet version that popularised it.

In five movements, The Mother Goose Suite transports you into the enchanting worlds of these delicate tales. The first movement depicts the mourning of Sleeping Beauty at her funeral, a moving flute-oboe pair that plays in a flowing dialogue. Next in Little Tom Thumb, the hopeless boy wandering lost through a thick forest to find his way home carries a tearful and meandering melody. The third recalls Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas set chords used in music of the far east with it’s oriental style. In Beauty and the Beast, be sure to look out for the contrabasson, representing the Beast with its masculine low and deep tones. Lastly, the theme returns to The Sleeping Beauty in a fairy garden. Prince Charming arrives in a lush garden created by the strings with their flowering melody, kisses the love of his life, and the unexpected happens. With a powerful crescendo, the Suite closes in a poetically beautiful ending.

Festival Concert #2: The Seasons
Grieg: Holberg Suite | Vivaldi: The Four Seasons | Piazzolla: The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Fri, 14 Oct | Victoria Concert Hall | 6.30pm

In another wonderful collaboration with Singapore’s most gifted violinists, Norway’s 1B1 chamber orchestra plays an enchanting set of melodies that will strive to bring to life the mythical landscapes of their motherland. By interlacing well-known pieces from Edward Grieg, Norway’s most beloved composer, with Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a tango from Argentina’s Ástor Piazzolla, this refreshing programme and will be set to invigorate and impress a wide range of audience, young and old.

A selection of free festival fringe events:

PRE-CONCERT FRINGE: Violin Pyrotechnics
Grieg: Sonata No.1 | Ysaye: Ballade No. 3 | Paganini: I Palpiti

Thu, 13 Oct | Victoria Concert Hall | 6.30PM
Alexei Semenenko (violin), Kerim Vergazov (piano)

FESTIVAL FRINGE: Chamber Music@Arts House
D’Indy: Chansons et Danses Op.50 for wind septet | Arnold: Brass Quintet | Mozart: String Quintet in G Minor No. 4

Fri, 14 Oct | Arts House Chamber | 1PM
Chamber Orchestra of Europe Soloists & SIFOM Orchestra Soloists