Singapore Magazine: A Stage for Singapore
I 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.”
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An excerpt from Dr. Chang Tou Liang’s review from his classical music blog – 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.
The renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) and London Philharmonic Choir have recorded and released a symphony inspired by Singapore. Commissioned by former Singapore Ambassador to Russia, Michael Tay, and composed by renowned
Michael Tay, Founder of the Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise, shares his vision and the journey that paved the way for the first country-inspired symphony to be recorded and released by the London Philharmonic Orchestra on CNA’s Singapore Tonight.
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.
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.