Vladimir Martynov’s UTOPIA Symphony Review by Pianomania
Russian composer Vladimir Martynov’s Utopia Symphony began as a commission in 2004 by Michael Tay, then-ambassador of Singapore to the Russian Federation. Its original title was Singapore: A Geopolitical Utopia, premised upon a week-long visit by the composer and his wife violinist Tatiana Grindenko to the island republic where they experienced the sights, sounds and tastes of the modern Southeast Asian city-state. First performances of Singapore took place in Moscow and Singapore in 2005, the latter involving the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lim Yau at Espanade Concert Hall.
The 2020 iteration of the work has less to do with geography or politics but rather the pursuit of a universal and ideal state of mind. Its new title Utopia does away with the somewhat cumbersome Singapore tagline, focusing instead on what nation states and governments dream about, which is to create the ideal environment for their citizens and residents to inhabit.
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Home-grown charity The Foundation For The Arts And Social Enterprise has also launched a 10-year Music Commissioning Series to support Singapore composers and build up a canon of local contemporary music – from Chinese orchestra and cross-cultural works to jazz and musicals.
Singaporean Jazz-vocalist Joanna Dong teamed up with composer Chok Kerong to release ‘第一章’ (The First Chapter) on the 24th of September, marking the first in the UTOPIA Reimagined series “The Series” – which will see four artists reimagining a symphony written by Russian composer Vladimir Martynov and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Singapore jazz singer Joanna Dong’s new single titled “Chapter One” will be released on 24 September on major digital platforms, the first in the UTOPIA Reimagined Series – an initiative by the Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise.
Press Release: Singaporean jazz singer Joanna Dong’s new single titled 《第一章》will be released on 24 September on major digital platforms, the first in the UTOPIA Reimagined Series (“the Series”) – an initiative by the Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise (“The Foundation”) that will see four artists reimagine a symphony inspired by Singapore, written by a Russian composer and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO).
Michael Tay’s early interest in philosophy has profoundly shaped the way he thinks about issues and trends – simultaneously teaching him how to seek underlying motivations and causes in the area of problem-solving. This, together with his passion for the arts and its place in society, led to the genesis of Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise, which aims to pin Singapore’s art scene onto the world map.