Monday, 15 August 2011

The Bass Line is back

Bass Line
15 Oct 2011 (Sat)
7.30 p.m.
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music
Conservatory Orchestra Hall (3rd level)
Free admission

Once again, there will be a special treat from double bass students of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. This October, look forward to an evening of a series of double bass recitals performed by the double bass students of the Conservatory.

One of the reasons for attending "Bass Line" is that it is a relatively rare occasion to hear numerous double bass recitals being played in one single evening in Singapore. It will be a great chance to get exposed to and/or to enjoy various repertoires that are written for the double bass.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

NUS Symphony Orchestra presents Stage and Screen

The NUS Symphony Orchestra presents an open-air outreach concert  "Stage and Screen".

Stage and Screen
24 Sep 2011 (Sat),
6 p.m. - 7.30 p.m.
The Plaza (ground floor), National Library Board Building
100 Victoria Street

Free Admission.

Richard Rodgers - Selections from The Sound of Music
Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Ernst Toch - Pinocchio: A Merry Overture
Camille Saint-Saƫns - Danse Bacchanale (from Samson and Delilah)
George Gershwin - Selections from Porgy And Bess
Leonard Bernstein - Overture to Candide

"Join the NUS Symphony Orchestra at the National Library Plaza for an evening of popular musical favourites from stage, screen and theatre. Conducted by Maestro Lim Soon Lee, the Orchestra will present selections from films and operas such as Samson and Delilah, The Sound of Music and Porgy and Bess, with a special music and drama collaboration with ACT 3 Drama Academy featuring the Italian folk tale Pinocchio."

Monday, 8 August 2011

Yang Heran performs Franck Proto's Nine Variations on Paganini

Monday Noon Recital Series
15 Aug 2011 (Mon)
12.10 p.m.
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music
Conservatory Concert Hall

Fourth year double bass student, Yang Heran, from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music will be performing Franck Proto's Nine Variations on Paganini during an upcoming Monday Noon Recital at the Conservatory.

What I appreciate about Yang Heran is his bold interest in exploring and studying contemporary works for the double bass. I have had the pleasure to listen to him performing a number of challenging works on the double bass. Do consider making some time to support him at this recital if schedule permits.

On the side, Frank Proto is an American composer and double bassist. There is a programme note on Nine Variants on Paganini (for Double Bass and piano) that can be found at this URL:

During this Monday noon recital, audience can also look forward to listen to other final year students of the Conservatory performing other works. For more details, please visit:

The joy of appreciating classical music

Many of my friends who have attended a Western Classical music concert will have healthy sense of curiosity. They have hundreds of questions that range from "How do I understand the music?", "How do the performers play in sync with one another?", "Is it necessary to have a conductor?", "What are those foreign words on the programme booklet about?" and etc.

I wonder if you also have had similar questions in your mind before? Such questions are very normal when one appreciates the fact that very often during a Western classical music concert, there is possibly just enough time allocated to enjoy the performance itself. There is often no time set aside to educate the audience on how to enjoy the music. To bridge this gap, it was very apt that the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay organizes Understanding Western Classical Music by Leslie Tan, cellist of Singapore's international string ensemble, the T'ang Quartet.

Understanding Western Classical Music was held on 7 Aug 2011 (Sun) at the Recital Studio. It was a sold-out event! It is one of the series of Bitesize which is "a series of talks and workshops that introduces various aspects of the arts to the general public". As its title suggests, Understanding Western Classical Music aims to inform its participants on the various approaches to understanding Western classical music.

Leslie Tan highlighted a very important point throughout the workshop. The personal responses and interpretation of the listener are also keys to appreciating classical music. The experiences of listening to a same piece of classical music can vary from listeners to listeners, and that is the great joy of listening to classical music.

In an engaging way, Leslie shared various approaches of how one can better appreciate Western classical music. In addition, he has satisfied the curious minds by answering the many common questions that people will ask when listening to a piece of Western classical music.

Leslie illustrated what the common Italian musical terms meant using explanations that were very easy to relate to. In addition, together with three other promising musicians, Leslie aptly demonstrated how one can enhance his/her listening experiences when listening to a piece of Western classical music. He also spoke about melody versus counter-melody, the functions of musical keys, and a lot more. I could observe that even a young girl could stay meaningful engaged throughout the two hours duration of the workshop. I myself have enjoyed the entire two hours of workshop learning more about classical music.

I shall not attempt to share too much of the details of the contents of the workshop here since I hope that the positive responses of audience will possibly result in similar workshops by Leslie to be organised in the near future. If you are interested to learn more about the Education and Outreach programmes by the T'ang Quartet, you can please visit:

Learning about how to appreciate classical music can enhance the listener's listening experiences. The consoling truth is that well-written classical music speaks to people at the soul level. The listener will naturally respond to a piece of music whether or not they 'know' how to listen to it.

Of course, if one would like to listen with a more informed ear, attending workshops such as the above-mentioned will be helpful. For those who love to read, I strongly recommend that you could read Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music.

Many thanks to the T'ang Quartet for the generous invitation to Understanding Western Classical Music. Special thanks to Belinda Tan for the heads up.

The T'ang Quartet's website is: