Arts and Culture Michael Tay


It’s Time To Demand More for Singapore’s Art and Culture by The Peak Magazine

October 21, 2021 | In The News

The veteran diplomat and Sing Jazz founder believes the pandemic will negatively impact the arts, but he plans to reverse it.

Most teenagers would listen to the countercultural music trend of their time, which usually veers between rock and roll and rap. Michael Tay listened to jazz. “My brother gave me my first hi-fi set and he loved jazz, so I did too,” laughs the 62-year-old.

Tay’s musical knowledge expanded as his career grew. His lifelong career as a diplomat brought him into contact with the deep cultural traditions of Korea, Japan, and Russia. Living in these culturally rich countries, he learned that a child who grows up surrounded by music, literature, poetry and plays will develop a creative impulse that will last throughout their lives and contribute to society.

Tay launched the Sing Jazz festival and the non-profit Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise when he returned to Singapore. Despite the success of the two since their inception in 2013 and the fact that there is an increase of options now, Tay believes that the country is still grappling with “society’s instinctive deprioritising of the arts”.


S’pore conductor Wong Kah Chun to usher in new year with Bamberg Symphony

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.