THE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, SINGAPORE
The Philharmonic Orchestra (Singapore) is a project initiated by Lim Yau in 1998. The orchestra comprises young adults who are committed to the study and performance of seminal orchestral literature.
With Lim Yau at the helm, TPO distinguishes itself as an orchestra that delves deeply and wholeheartedly into the composers that shape the evolution of the symphony.
The Philharmonic Orchestra (Singapore), formerly the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, is a project initiated by Lim Yau in 1998. The orchestra comprises young adults who are committed to the study and performance of seminal orchestral literature.
With Lim Yau at the helm, TPO distinguishes itself as an orchestra that delves deeply and whole-heartedly into the composers that shape the evolution of the western symphony. It has received critical acclaim for performances of the symphonies of Beethoven (complete symphonies in 2003), Schumann (complete symphonies in 2004), Brahms (complete symphonies in 2013), Haydn, Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich; in its 2008 season TPO became the first Singaporean orchestra to perform the complete Sibelius symphonies. 2012 marked another milestone when TPO was joined by acclaimed pianist Lim Yan in performing the complete piano concertos by Beethoven, the first in Singapore to feature a Singaporean pianist.
In bringing its music to a wider audience, TPO works frequently with actors and presenters to explore orchestral repertoire through theatrical elements to create accessible concert formats for new audiences. This include its Papa Haydn and You series, narrated performances of Stravinsky's 100 Years Later series (Firebird in 2010 and Petrushka in 2011), as well as a staged production of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale (2009) in collaboration with Esplanade’s Spectrum series. Its composer-feature concerts sees actor William Ledbetter elucidate biographical, historical and musical discoveries of the great works such as Debussy’s La Mer (Debussy Tonight! 2014), Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra (Bartok Tonight! 2015) and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony (Tchaikovksy Tonight! 2016).
A crowning highlight in its community outreach is TPO’s 2013 collaboration with contemporary dance group The ARTS FISSION Company and Esplanade Theatres by the Bay, presenting The Rite of Spring: A People’s Stravinsky, a ground-breaking production which engaged the creative energies of community senior citizens and youth volunteers in a multi-disciplinary presentation of Stravinsky’s seminal work. The same creative team reprised its collaboration in its SG50 celebration The Mazu Chronicle, performing works by pioneer generation Singaporean composers in a symphonic dance-theatre production, telling stories of Singapore’s maritime pioneers, whilst featuring community performers from Singapore’s pioneer generation.
In recent years TPO has presented its annual New Year's Eve Countdown Concerts. Returning for its twelth edition in December 2022, this sell-out concert series continues to be a cherished fixture in the Singapore concert calendar.
Born of its early activities as a pit orchestra, TPO has been the collaborative orchestra of choice accompanying over 15 productions by the Singapore Dance Theatre and Singapore Lyric Opera between 1999 and 2008. On the invitation of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, TPO has also accompanied Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light (music set to the 1928 silent film, Joan of Arc), and other artistes such as K.D. Lang, Omara Portuondo, Aska (of Chage and Aska), David Foster and Andrea Bocelli.