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Singapore magazine

Singapore Magazine: A Stage for Singapore

July 1, 2018 | In The News

first heard the work of avant-garde composer Vladimir Martynov in 2004, when I was the Singapore ambassador to Russia. Listening to a performance of one of his scores at the City Hall in Moscow, I found his music very moving, and felt he deserved a wider audience. He hadn’t wanted to leave Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union, and that decision cost him.

I plucked up the courage and asked if he would compose a string-quartet piece for Singapore (that would be affordable and relatively easy for me to stage). He said yes. I invited him to Singapore to meet our ethnic musicians and music lecturers, and to experience Singapore for himself.

After two weeks he came back and said: “It needs to be an orchestral piece. Singapore represents something the Soviet Union could not achieve. The Soviet Union was trying to create utopia on earth, but it failed. Singapore thinks of utopia as the journey, and this is what makes Singapore big. Don’t think of yourself as a small country.”


New Release Round-Up – 13th November 2020 by PRESTO CLASSICAL

Made at Abbey Road last year in the presence of the composer, this is the world premiere recording of Martynov’s Utopia Symphony, which began life in 2005 as Singapore: A Geopolitical Utopia and sets text adapted from passages of the Tao Te Ching; the orchestra have history with the Russian composer’s music, having premiered his Dante-inspired opera-oratorio Vita Nuova in 2009.

A Utopia Reimagined by Pauline Wong

An interview with Michael Tay, Founder of the Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise published by The Edge Singapore. Michael speaks about the UTOPIA Symphony – The Foundation’s flagship initiative to kickstart a future where the arts and business go hand-in-hand.