Building Bridges with Music: How Russian Composer Vladimir Martynov Composed A Symphony Inspired by Singapore by SGN
Inspired by Singapore’s culture and identity, renowned Russian composer Vladimir Martynov accepted a commission by ex-Singapore Ambassador to Russia, Michael Tay, to compose a symphony in 2003.
UTOPIA, which premiered in 2005 in Russia and performed in 2007 in Singapore, was most recently performed and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) and London Philharmonic Choir in Abbey Road.
Prior to composing UTOPIA, all that Vladimir knew about Singapore was that it was a foreign country with foreign people – an expression he likened to that of the first movement (Von fremden Ländern und Menschen) in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, which inspires him to get acquainted with the unfamiliar.
To experience Singapore’s culture, heritage and its people, Vladimir took up Michael’s offer to visit the city in March 2005 with his wife, distinguished violinist Tatiana Grindenko. During this trip, the couple had met with local musicians and artists, and even stayed at the historic site of Raffles Hotel – an experience that he says was deeply connected to the composition of UTOPIA.
OTHER RECENT ARTICLES
The first collaboration between titans Charlie Lim & Ng Pei-Sian, “Into Dreams” rounds off the UTOPIA Reimagined initiative, commissioned by the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise.
Press Release: Award winners in their respective pop and classical music fields, singer-songwriter Charlie Lim and Ng Pei-Sian, Principal Cellist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, teamed up for the first time to release a single, “Into Dreams”, which released on 4 February 2022 on all major digital platforms.
We hope to resume the highly successful Beethoven im Garten series, led by maestro Wong, in the near future. The series held at the Botanic Gardens is an initiative of the German Embassy in partnership with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise.
On New Year’s Eve, Singaporean conductor Wong Kah Chun will take the stage with the Bamberg Symphony in Germany to lead it in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This year’s concert is an initiative by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, in partnership with the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise in Singapore and the Bamberg Symphony, with The Straits Times as media partner.
Singaporean rapper ShiGGa Shay teamed up Aisyah Aziz and Charlie Lim to release ‘uTopia reimagined: chasing’, marking the third installment of The Foundation’s UTOPIA Reimagined series.