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.
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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.