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Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise

Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise Founder Michael Tay On How The Smallest Act of Giving Can Transform The Arts Scene by SGN

February 22, 2021 | Highlights, In The News, UTOPIA Symphony

Michael’s passion for the arts would carry on in the later half of his career – as Founder and Director of The Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise, he has helped to connect many local artists to opportunities across the world. Singapore Global Network (SGN) speaks with Michael about how his passion has led him to build he bedrock for a thriving arts scene in Singapore.

Michael’s love for the arts and music began at a young age. “I started listening to jazz in my teenage years. My brother gave me my first hi-fi and he was a jazz lover, so I got to listen to his jazz records. From jazz, I went on to classical music, opera and soon, other genres of music as well, including avant-garde compositions,” he says.

Michael believes that there is something fundamentally transformative about music – he thinks it has the power to transform and energise a person, making one want to embrace the world in a new way. This belief never wavered even as he pursued a career path divergent from the arts, having served in the  diplomatic services in Japan and Korea, before his appointment as the Ambassador of the Singapore Embassy in Russia.


Joanna Dong and Chok Kerong kick start “The Series” with ‘‘第一章’ (The First Chapter)’ by Bandwagon

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.

Jazz Vocalist Joanna Dong Releases Single Inspired by Symphony about Singapore

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).

Robb Report Singapore’s Thought Leaders of 2021

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.