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The best places for live classical music in Singapore

Five members of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra talk classical music and their favourite spots in the city to enjoy 'em sweet sounds

Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photograph: Singapore Symphony Orchestra
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With plenty of music venues and exciting concerts in Singapore, there's absolutely no excuse to go without music including jazz, rock, hip-hop and even classical music. But classical music goes beyond Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Backed by an orchestra of strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and occasionally, a choir, it takes shape in various forms. Learn more about Singapore’s from the people who know it best.

RECOMMENDED: The best live music venues in Singapore and upcoming concerts in Singapore

Joshua Tan, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photograph: Singapore Symphony Orchestra

Joshua Tan, Associate Conductor

Slow start
“I was forced to learn the violin from the age of six. I got bored of listening to the mainstream charts, picked up a recording my Dad had and I fell absolutely head over heels with classical music since then.”

A rollercoaster ride
“Listening to orchestral music is like getting on a roller coaster at Universal Studios, albeit an emotional one. The extremes of human emotions and thoughts are condensed into a piece of music. It’s representative of the human condition. That’s what makes it such a unique and approachable art form.”

Making melodies
“For free concerts, catch the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at Singapore Botanic Gardens as well as Gardens by the Bay.”

Gulnara Mashurova, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photograph: Singapore Symphony Orchestra

Gulnara Mashurova, Principal Harpist

Home is where the harp is
“My mother actually got me started on harp.”

Classical music is my passion
“I love the variety of styles it offers.”

Best seen live
“I also enjoy jazz and world music, attending the Sing Jazz Festival and Mosaic Festival as much as possible. One of the highlights in recent years was seeing Richard Bona live in Singapore. The Capitol Kempinski Hotel has a nice bar with live music as well.”

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Chan Yoong-Han, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photography: Alan Lim

Chan Yoong-Han, First Violinist

A family affair
“I was brought up in a family of musicians who were active in the early development of Western classical music in Singapore. Having witnessed the birth of the SSO as a child, I joined the orchestra in 2002 after completing my master’s degree in music in the US.”

Support local
“Check out local orchestras and ensembles such as Orchestra of the Music Makers, re:Sound Collective and the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra. Each of these ensembles has its unique identity and sound, and they offer a variety of programming angles.”

Enjoy a free performance
“The Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music has an impressive list of chamber and orchestral performances by established international musicians.”

Lau Wen Rong, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photography: Lionel Lin

Lau Wen Rong, Trumpeter

It was love at first listen
“The opening theme of Star Wars got me interested in the trumpet and I joined the school band.”

Power to the youth
“I enjoy listening to the performances by youth groups such as the Singapore National Youth Orchestra as they remind me of why I took up music in the first place.”

Explore classical music further
“There are masterclasses and workshops by great artists at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music each semester that I highly recommend.”

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Samuel Armstrong, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photography: Singapore Symphony Orchestra

Samuel Armstrong, Trombonist

A brass quintet
“My love for music and playing in the orchestra started with my family who are all brass players.”

Gig out
“When I'm not playing with the SSO, I enjoy attending concerts by other orchestras and ensembles such as the New Opera Singapore, The Musicians’ Initiative, Singapore Lyric Opera, and Red Dot Baroque.”

Get jazzy with it
“I also like listening to performances by the Jazz Association of Singapore, led by Jeremy Monteiro and Weixiang Tan.”

Don't stop the music

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