24th Singapore International Piano Festival


Esteemed Turkish pianist Hüseyin Sermet improvising on three notes given by the audience as one of his encore pieces at the festival

Since its founding in 1979, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has been Singapore’s flagship orchestra, touching lives through classical music and providing the heartbeat of the cultural scene in the city-state. In June 2017, the SSO hosted its 24th Singapore International Piano Festival, entitled Fantasies and Memories, featuring internationally renowned pianists Joseph Moog, Wong Chiyan, Hüseyin Sermet, and Stephen Kovacevich at the Victoria Concert Hall.

Supported by Temasek Foundation Nurtures, the festival attracts over 2,000 spectators every year with a good mix of local audiences and overseas visitors joining in the festivities. Over time, the event has gained a well-deserved reputation as Asia’s Premier Piano Festival.

This year, Joseph Moog from Germany opened the festival with a programme of Haydn, Chopin, Debussy and Liszt; and, returning Canadian pianist Wong Chiyan treated the audience to a night of Mozart, Chopin, Liszt and Busoni, the latter of whom he takes a special interest in. Esteemed Turkish pianist Hüseyin Sermet took the stage on day 3 of the festival. Encouraging audience participation, Sermet did an improvisation on three notes (F#, A-flat and B-flat) given by the audience as one of his encore pieces. Celebrated virtuoso Stephen Kovacevich closed the festival with Brahms, Schubert, Chopin and Beethoven. The two piano veterans also shared their wealth of knowledge in masterclasses for students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Post-recitals, each pianist met eager fans for autographs and photo opportunities, concluding each night with wonderful festivity.

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About the SSO

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is a fulltime professional orchestra that officially debuted in 1979 as Singapore’s national symphony orchestra. Its principal concert venue is the Esplanade Concert Hall. The orchestra also gives concerts at the Victoria Concert Hall, and performs about 100 concerts per year. Its versatile repertoire spans all-time favourites and orchestral masterpieces to exciting cutting-edge premieres.

About Temasek Foundation Nurtures

Temasek Foundation Nurtures is one of the six non-profit philanthropic organisations set up by Temasek and sponsored through Temasek Trust.
Temasek Foundation Nurtures funds and supports programmes that focus on education and professional development. It aims to develop talent and foster learning and growth, especially for youths to make the leap in areas such as music, arts, sports, math, science, engineering and technology.

Did you know…

Several orchestras were formed in Singapore during the colonial period and after independence. One of these, also named the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, was formed in 1945 by the Scottish composer Erik Chisholm in his capacity as Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) Music Director for South East Asia. The ENSA was an organisation set up in 1939 to provide entertainment for British armed forces personnel during World War II. Subsequently, over the next 30 years or so, all orchestras in Singapore were composed largely of amateur musicians, until finally the SSO was instituted in 1979.