A committed educator and performer, Jo Anne Sukumaran is a bassoonist who plays regularly for Singapore ensembles such as Singapore Lyric Opera Orchestra, The Philharmonic Winds, and Re:sound Chamber Orchestra.
When she was 12, she initially wanted to be a cellist and auditioned for the Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO). This led her to receive a full bassoon scholarship, and she was tutored by Zhang Jin Min from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.
Jo Anne also took lessons with Gabor Meszaros (Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana), and her studies were supported by Dr. Gerber-ten Bosch Foundation (Zürich) and the Singapore National Arts Council.
Subsequently, she took masterclasses and private lessons with Ole K. Dahl, Audun Halvorsen, Roman Reznik and Contrabassoon lessons with Hans Wisse, as well as being coached by top bassoonists such as Alexandre Silvério and Bram van Sambeek.
After reading a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Literature, Jo Anne followed her passion as a professional musician. Like many entrepreneurs, she is taking the plunge and looking to raise funds in a debut album to take her career in a new direction.
With compositions from classical composers such as Saint-Saens, Tansmann, Koechlin, Hersant, Robert Ronnes, the album is inspired by the night, nature and spirituality to represent safe spaces for a digitalised and a conflicted society, the sound garden provides a “breathing space” from the crowds and brings the listener on a journey through the different moods of the night being calm, meditative, mysterious and even of turmoil.
The Night Garden is a metaphor of using music and art as a ‘safe space’ of self-expression and healing, promote happiness and well-being in society and the message of hope that suffering and darkness is temporal. It is about journeying through the darkness, confronting it and coming out a better person.
“I have done quite a few months of research on various means, such as government grants and other platforms like Patreon, but I have concluded that the Kickstarter platform is the most transparent, and viable way to raise the funding. Unfortunately my CD does not fall under an EP grant as I’m playing music from the Classical genre. I would love to commission Singaporean composers and have already approached some of them but at this point, I don’t have the means to commission an entire album of composers yet,” said Jo Anne, when asked about using Kickstarter to promote her first album.
The idea of this album was conceived during a silent meditation retreat on St John’s island, which brought to Jo Anne a great sense of clarity and calm.
Through this album, Jo Anne wishes to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, as she believes strongly that music, mindfulness and the arts all play a very important role in our modern society, and that mental health and well-being is a very relevant topic today.
While it is not an everyday thing that Singaporean wind musicians get to produce their own albums for sale, Jo Anne believes it is a great way to promote themselves.
“Of course, I cannot predict the success of this album, but I can say I had this on my mind for quite a long time and now I am following my instincts and passion. I have always been drawn and inspired by certain musicians and players and have followed their careers and albums. From what I have seen, their albums have helped to carve out an independent path for them and opened new doors to international touring and performances.”
Learn more about Jo Anne Sukumaran and her Night Garden: