Orchestra of the Music Makers (2018)
Haya Band (2017)
Swarhythm Ensemble (2019)
Ding Yi Music Company (2018)
Guitar Prasanna Trio (2019)
Chok Kerong’s Pitch (2019)
Jeremy Monteiro (2019)
MFO × DJ KoFlow (2017)
Time taken : >15mins
(Korngold’s) studio work enriched his symphonic output. No work illustrates this more clearly than the Violin Concerto, all three of whose movements draw on themes from films produced between 1937 and 1939.
Erich Korngold (1897-1957) was proclaimed by Gustav Mahler as a genius at the age of 10, and by 23, his opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) had brought him international renown. A Jew, he fled the advancing Nazi armies for America. With rich harmonies and lush melodies, he wrote 23 film scores, won two Academy Awards, and is considered today to be one of the founding fathers of the symphonic film score.
The Violin Concerto was commissioned in the wake of the Second World War by Polish virtuoso Bronislaw Huberman, and subsequently popularised by Jascha Heifetz.
Presented in three movements, the First Movement features themes from the films Another Dawn and Juarez, with lush, soaring lyricism juxtaposed with more spirited moments. The Second Movement features a theme from Anthony Adverse dressed as a Romance. The overtly virtuosic Third Movement opens with a rousing jig. The soloist is required to display extreme virtuosity throughout, and a broadly sweeping second theme from The Prince and the Pauper leads to a jubilant climax.*
OMM performed at Esplanade Concert Hall on 13 January 2018 for OMM10: Discover, which opened the orchestra’s 2018 season by revisiting highlights from its earliest years.
*Reproduced from Mr Christopher Cheong’s programme notes.
Ike See is a Singapore violinist he was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of renowned violinists Joseph Silverstein and Pamela Frank and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music. A three-time first prize winner at the Singapore National Violin Competition, he has performed as a soloist with the ACO, Adelaide Symphony, Singapore Symphony and Singapore National Youth Orchestras. He is currently a core member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO).
Tzelaw Chan is a Singaporean conductor and a founding faculty member of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore. Currently Music Director of OMM and the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, he has appeared with major orchestras in the Asia-Pacific region and with soloists such as Lang Lang, Ng Pei-Sian, Melvyn Tan, Joshua Bloom, Fiona Campbell, Warwick Fyfe, and Igor Yuzefovich. In 2018, he received the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore’s Artistic Excellence Award for his contributions to Singapore music.
Orchestra of the Music Makers (OMM) is a Singapore-based symphony orchestra. Established in 2008, it comprises over 140 highly trained volunteer musicians dedicated to upholding the high standards of music-making the orchestra stands for. OMM has played at notable events such as the Cheltenham Music Festival and Lichfield Festival in the UK as well as the Taipei International Choral Festival. Following the successful performances of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel in 2017 and Bernstein’s Mass in 2018, OMM most recently staged the Singapore premiere of Wagner’s Die Walküre in 2020.
Featuring some of Singapore’s up-and-coming jazz cats, fusion band RaghaJazz teamed up with chamber group Viva Strings in a heady collision of sounds that sought new territory with classical Indian music and jazz improvisations.
The quintet continued to define and distil their sound through originals such as Saraswathi and Freedom Principles where groovy rhythms jostled with edgy interpretations of traditional Indian ragas. The group also kept listeners on their toes with risky expressions that injected pop, funk and jazz into tried-and-true Indian melodies. A multi-layered performance that happened at the intersection of talas and twelve-bar blues, this full concert video finds both artists and audiences on new musical terrain.
RaghaJazz performed at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre on 10 February 2015 during the 14th edition of Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts. Held during the Deepavali festive period, Kalaa Utsavam celebrates Indian arts and culture by showcasing works by artists from Singapore, the Indian subcontinent and the Indian diaspora.
RaghaJazz is a Singapore jazz fusion group made up of flautist and composer Raghavendran Rajasekaran, pianist Rachma Lim, bassist Jase Ng, drummer Lee Jit Seng and tabla musician Kumaran. Formed in 2009, the group continues to be a regular feature at events such as Mosaic Music Festival, Asian Vibes Festival and Jazz in July.
Listening to their music, your body feels like the earth, your blood like the rivers, your eyes like the sky.
Three-time winner of “Best Cross-Border Music Album” at Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards, HAYA Band made their Singapore debut at Esplanade with Migration – A World Music Concert, showcasing a mesmerising mosaic of ethnic sounds and contemporary influences that breathes new life into ethnic Mongolian music.
The world music icon takes us on a search for our spiritual sanctuary guided by their belief that all the world is our home. Risk takers by nature, the ensemble drew heavily on the rich musical heritage of Mongolia, reviving its buried aspects for a new audience. Performing folk-derived songs such as Ongmanibamai and Lali, the band wove frontwoman Daiqing Tana’s vocal dynamics with traditional instruments such as the long-necked lute, producing rich musical tapestries completed by acoustic and bass guitars. In this spellbinding concert, each song is a story unto itself.
HAYA Band performed at Esplanade Concert Hall on 4 February 2017 as part of the line-up for the 15th edition of Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts. Launched in 2003, Huayi aims to showcase the works of outstanding Chinese artists while celebrating Singapore’s multicultural heritage.
HAYA Band is a six-member ensemble known for integrating Mongolian music with contemporary pop elements. Founded in 2006 by morin khuur musician Quan Sheng, the group also consists of Daiqing Tana (lead vocals), guitarists Chen Xibo and Mugelal, Baoyin (percussion and throat singing) and bassist Eric Lattanzio. The band has released six albums to date, including their most recent, Link, in 2019. “Haya” means “borders” in Mongolian.
Led by composer and tabla artist Nawaz Mirajkar, the Swarhythm Ensemble is a multi-ethnic group of 11 Singapore musicians known for bridging boundaries through cutting-edge interpretations of traditional music.
Launching their first studio album Swarhythm with this one-night-only concert, the group performed a line-up of original numbers such as Charukeshi Dreams and Ola Rajasthan that majestically combine the rich melodies of India with Malay, Chinese and even Spanish elements. Prominent Hindustani vocalists Alimpan Mukherjee and V.M. Sai Vigneshwar also made special appearances, adding pizzazz to this full concert video.
The Swarhythm Ensemble performed live at Esplanade Recital Studio on 17 November 2019 for the 18th edition of Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of the Arts. Launched in 2002 and held during the Deepavali festive period, Kalaa Utsavam celebrates Indian arts and culture by showcasing works, both classical and contemporary, by artists from Singapore, the Indian subcontinent and the Indian diaspora.
The Swarhythm Ensemble is a multi-ethnic collective of Singapore musicians led by composer and tabla performer Nawaz Mirajkar. Awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council in 2011, Mirajkar has collaborated with artists such as flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, veteran drummer Sivamani, as well as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Nawaz Mirajkar, tabla
Renu Suresh, piano
Swetha Baskaran, sitar
Toh Kai Siang Eugen, Chinese drums, percussion
Lim Kwuan Boon, erhu
Gan Ying Ying, cello
Mahesh Parameswaran, South Indian percussion
Bombay V Anand, violin
Alberto Marin, Spanish guitar
Praashekh Borkar, sarod
Sunil Avachat bansuri
With special thanks to Vathiar Mohanavelu Sai Vigneshwar and Alimpan Mukherjee on vocals
Experimental soul quartet WONK comes to Offstage with a heady blend of beat-driven instrumentals, sultry neo-soul and pop-tinged acid jazz that positions them as “the vanguard of Japan’s black music scene”.
The Tokyo-based outfit served up tracks from their three studio albums, Castor and Pollux, both released in 2017 and Sphere, which won the Best Jazz Album title at Japan’s 9th CD Shop Awards in 2016. Moving fluidly between musical styles, the group pulled off a fertile fusion of sounds that not only earned them a following among younger listeners but also led to coveted spots at the Tokyo Jazz Festival, Summer Sonic Festival and the Blue Note Jazz Festival held annually in New York.
Half of a soul and jazz double bill with Singapore group The Steve McQueens, WONK performed live at Esplanade Annexe Studio on 15 December 2017.
WONK is made up of Kan Inoue (bass), Hikaru Arata (percussion), Ayatake Ezaki (keyboard) and Kento Nagatsuka (vocals). Formed in 2013, they have released three albums through their own Epistroph label. The group has worked with well-known Japanese artists such as Shingo Katori (of pop idol group SMAP), m-flo and DATS while appearing on the records of Ronin Arkestra and José James. "WONK" is a riff on jazz legend Thelonious Monk's last name.
Led by concertmaster Chin Yen Choong and huqin musician Fred Chan with gaohu virtuoso Yu Le Fu acting as artistic advisor, Southern Charms – An Evening of Cantonese Classics by Ding Yi Music Company saw one of Singapore’s most established ensembles interpret endearing pieces from the Cantonese canon.
Specially assembled for this performance, the quintet from Ding Yi celebrated their lush heterogeneous sound with a show-stopping spin on familiar classics. Musical risk takers, the group brought their unmistakable colour to a set that kicked off with The Birds’ Return to the Forest by Chinese maestro Yi Jian Quan and graduated to pieces such as Lü Wen Cheng’s Autumn Moon over a Placid Lake before a memorable finale sent the packed house home with Yu’s original composition Snowflakes in a Dream.
Performed and filmed live at Esplanade Recital Studio on 8 November 2018, Southern Charms - An Evening of Cantonese Classics was presented by the arts centre’s Chinese Chamber Music programme, a series of recitals that aims to showcase the beauty of Chinese classical music performed by small ensembles in an intimate setting.
Ding Yi Music Company was founded in 2007 with the objective of bringing the best of Chinese chamber music to audiences at home and abroad. Currently one of Singapore’s largest and most influential ensembles, Ding Yi performs a diverse repertoire that ranges from traditional Chinese music to contemporary cross-genre works.
Yu Le Fu, artistic advisor, gaohu
Chin Yen Choong, concertmaster, huqin
Fred Chan, huqin
Chua Yew Kok, qinqin
Ng Hsien Han, dizi
Yick Jue Ru, yangqin
Yvonne Tay, guzheng
Jonathan Ngeow, ruan
Soh Swee Kiat, sheng
Low Yik Hang, percussion
Yeo Zeng Ying, double bass
Comprising frontman and guitarist Prasanna, bass phenomenon Mohini Dey and Surinamese master drummer Harvey Wirht, Guitar Prasanna Trio are celebrated for its genre-hopping style, which blends classical Indian Carnatic music with jazz, metal, blues and funk.
In this exclusive video of their concert at Esplanade, expect fiery displays of virtuosity as the trio performs hits from Prasanna’s iconic albums Be the Change (2004), Electric Ganesha Land (2006), and All Terrain Guitar (2016).
Appearing together for the first time ever, Guitar Prasanna Trio performed at Esplanade Recital Studio on 15 November 2019.
Prasanna has performed and recorded with Grammy-winning artists such as Esperanza Spalding, Victor Wooten, and Joe Lovano. Aside from Pandit Ravishankar and A.R. Rahman, he is also the only other Indian composer to have scored an Oscar-winning film.
Mohini Dey is currently one of the most well-known young bassists in the world. The Indian bass sensation has performed with an array of superstars from Steve Vai and A.R. Rahman to Alex Lifeson of Rush and Zakir Hussain.
Harvey Wirht has played alongside renowned artists such as Harry Belafonte, Gino Sitson, and Mallika Zara. The Surinamese drummer has also performed at notable occasions including President Obama’s Peace Ball and the Nobel Peace Prize event.
Described as “lyrical, funky and aggressively inventive” by The Business Times, Pitch marks Chok Kerong’s long-anticipated follow-up to his genre-defying Eleven, which met with a rapturous reception in 2015.
Drawn from Pitch, this video recording of You Have to Leave to Find It was part of a line-up of original compositions and arrangements specifically written by Chok for his jazz ensemble. Knitting R&B/soul, jazz and pop textures with classical chamber music, Pitch is also the pianist and composer’s most ambitious effort to date. Characterised by shape-shifting harmonies, daring chromaticism and instrumental panache, this special highlight reveals a homegrown virtuoso at the top of his form as he continues his quest for the sublime.
Performed on 27 February 2019 at Esplanade Recital Studio, Pitch was presented by Mosaic Music Series, which seeks to inspire Singapore’s music community by featuring exceptional musicians at the forefront of their fields.
Chok Kerong is a Singapore pianist, organist and composer. One of Singapore’s most versatile jazz talents, his compositions and arrangements have been performed by artists such as Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart, Ensemble Transience, Charlie Lim and the T’ang Quartet. A Mosaic Associate Artist, he currently teaches music at Lasalle College of the Arts, School of the Arts Singapore, and the National Institute of Education. He also mentors young musicians in programmes such as Esplanade's Mosaic Jazz Fellows and the SingJazz Academy.
Chok Kerong, piano
Ang Shao-Wen, conductor
Mat Jodrell, trumpet
Nathaniel Gao, saxophone
Marques Young, trombone
Christina Zhou, Gabriel Lee, violin Christoven Tan, viola
Ryan Sim, cello
Johannes Felscher, bass
Teriver Cheung, guitar
Soh Wen Ming, drums
For the 14th edition of his Jazzy Christmas series, Singapore’s King of Swing Jeremy Monteiro returned to Esplanade’s stage with a rare ensemble of homegrown and international jazz artists.
Taking on beloved classics such as My Favourite Things , Sweet & Lovely , and The Way You Look Tonight , the jazz icon was accompanied by the powerhouse vocals of Vanessa Rubin and Antonia Bennett. The star-studded line-up was completed by Tanya Darby who contributed her sensational trumpet chops, acclaimed trombonist Marques Young, Monteiro’s long-time collaborator Shawn Kelley on drums, together with younger talents such as up-and-coming Singaporean saxophonist Sean Hong Wei and bassist Ben Poh.
Featuring Jeremy Monteiro himself as Music Director, A Sweet & Lovely Jazzy Christmas was performed and filmed live at Esplanade Concert Hall on 21 December 2019.
Jeremy Monteiro is the first Southeast Asian to play and lead a band of established musicians at the Montreux Jazz Festival held in Switzerland. The 2002 Cultural Medallion recipient has performed and/or recorded with the likes of James Moody, Michael Brecker, Lee Ritenour, Toots Thielemans and Simon & Garfunkel among many others.
Vanessa Rubin has been described as "a song stylist with a Midas touch for challenging material”. Since her debut, she has released a total of nine albums, including her latest The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron in 2019.
Antonia Bennett has performed alongside American music icons such as Rosemary Clooney, Count Basie, Regis Philbin and Don Rickles. She is the daughter of legendary crooner Tony Bennett.
Tanya Darby has performed and toured with diverse artists and ensembles, including the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Ron Carter Great Big Band, Dianne Reeves and many more. She currently chairs the Brass Department at Berklee College of Music.
Marques Young has shared the stage with prominent jazz musicians such as Benny Golson, Paquito D’Rivera and Wynton Marsalis. He released his first solo EP, Duel Citizenship in 2016.
Sean Hong Wei has emerged as one of Singapore’s most promising young jazz musicians. He performs regularly with the Jazz Association Singapore Youth Orchestra (JassYO!) as well as its main orchestra JASSO.
Shawn Kelley was born and raised in New York where he trained under jazz greats Ron Carter, John Lewis, and Sonny Igoe. He has toured, recorded and performed with artists such as Ernie Watts and Leroy Jones.
Remind yourself just how badass Beethoven can be as the world celebrates his 250th birthday in 2020. This rockin’ rendition of the composer’s much-loved Fifth Symphony performed by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra (MFO), conducted by Music Director Julian Wong, and featuring turntablist DJ KoFlow, will help you rediscover why Beethoven was the world’s very first rock star!
A genre-defying musical adventure that fused pop culture and electronic music with a symphony orchestra, A Turntable-Orchestra Programme was performed live at Esplanade Concert Hall on 24 May 2017.
Educators, if you are looking to introduce your students to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or turntabling, download the student guide below that was produced as part of KoFlow-MFO: A Turntable-Orchestra Programme.
The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra (MFO) is Singapore's only fully independent professional symphony orchestra. Practicing the philosophy that the orchestra is a powerful tool for bringing people together, it has collaborated with international artists such as Tan Dun, Lang Lang, Kitaro, Il Divo, Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin and Korea National Opera.
Julian Wong's work as a music director has encompassed concerts, arts festivals, theatre, and studio production. As a guest arranger and conductor, he has worked with Joyful Strings, Ministry of Bellz, Rave Harps, Orchestra of the Music Makers, and Metropolitan Festival Orchestra.
DJ KoFlow is one of Singapore’s most prolific turntablists with a career spanning over 20 years. The 2003 Singapore DMC champion and World DMC finalist has performed with international artists such as Ghostface Killah and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan, NAS, Mariah Carey and Kanye West.
The show must go on and for Offstage, it goes on...line. Specially culled from Esplanade's archives, this series of performances by leading acts in Singapore and Asia was first released in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, with the aim to nourish souls and sate audience's appetites for the arts during trying times.