OK, I’ve been telling people that I don’t blog much about music. Maybe this is about to change. Especially since I’ve been thinking about getting back to my college habit of songwriting.
On Tuesday, thanks to a lovely invite from the folks at The Pigeonhole, I got to spend an evening appreciating classical music with some representatives from the Singapore National Youth Orchestra. It was basically a session to celebrate the relationship between the SNYO and Lanxess, a German chemicals company, as well as to raise awareness of an upcoming SNYO concert. But it was fun!
The gathering was small, intimate– about 10-15 bloggers were present, a few speakers from SNYO, and some of the talented teens who play with the orchestra. There was some discussion on music in general. There was a game of Taboo that was about classical music. I won prizes! For things like being able to identify Beethoven’s Fifth and knowing that Mozart has chocolate balls named after him (they are called Mozartkugeln, you can get them in Austria & Germany, and they are frakkin delicious.)
And then, of course, there was highlight of the evening (for me, at least!): the solo performances by the three talented young flautists who had recently returned from a study trip sponsored by Lanxess, where they spent a week training with renowned flautist Andrea Griminelli. I used to be a flautist in my teens–I even played with my sister’s school band at one point–so needless to say I greatly enjoyed the performances. My personal favorite was an improv of a piece from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, which was a tune I vaguely recognized. Probably because I used to hang out with out with people who loved that sort of music when I was in school.
One of the speakers present spoke about why he liked Debussy’s work, making a salient point about understanding history and humanity through music. He talked about how Debussy’s Paris of the late 18th century was a global cultural hub, with exposure to cultures from all over the world, and how Debussy’s music absorbed all that (“like a sponge”, he said). A zeitgeist of a sort, a time capsule. I found the sentiment simultaneously common-sensical and profound.
Darrell Ang, conductor of the SNYO and SSO, shared some personal anecdotes about the difficulties he had in pursuing music as a full-time career– he came from a humble background (as some would say) and struggled greatly to fund his studies in conservatories abroad, as Singapore did not have such facilities back then. Given how important I personally think music is to our lives, it makes me glad that kids these days have a lot more opportunity to pursue music as a career should they choose to.
Anyway, if you want to check out the SNYO concert that’s coming up, here are the deets:
LANXESS SNYO CLASSIC 2011 “A Musical Chemistry”
ETA: Whoo! Here’s a working link from the Lanxess that has more deets about the entire collaboration! http://lanxess.sg/en/lanxess-snyo-classic/2011-event/2011-event-highlights/