SWO and DHSSB – Discovering Mahler in Könzert

In its 27th instalment of the KÖNZERT series this Saturday evening, Sembawang Wind Orchestra (SWO) will be performing with the young students of Dunman High School Symphonic Band (Senior High) to present the first movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor.

“Mahler’s compositions are a challenge for musicians of all ages and ability. It is certainly a mammoth undertaking – His works require huge musical forces, a high level of technical ability and musical understanding. Mahler’s compositions also tend to be long as well, and musicians need to have stamina and pace themselves well to perform this,” said Tan Yao Cong, resident conductor of Dunman High Band (DHSSB).

“These are all very good learning points for my students. It’s an amazing opportunity to play alongside more experienced musicians and to perform a work on this scale. Hopefully this inspires them in their music making!”

Apart from Mahler’s work which will be conducted by Mr Desmond Ng, each band will perform two pieces under their respective conductors.

SWO will be playing Viva Musica! By Alfred Reed and A Hungarian Fantasy by Michel Beroff.

“Viva Musica! is a piece to celebrate the joy of making music in the past and present, and it has been played most of the time throughout our music making years. In contrast to Viva Musica!, I have chosen the piece “A Hungarian Fantasy” which has familiar tunes of Franz Liszt Hungarian rhapsodies originally written for piano. It starts mellow and move to a climatic ending of the Hungarian dances,” said Joshua Kong, SWO’s conductor.

DHSSB will be performing Vaclav Nelhybel’s Festivo and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

“I think these two pieces balance each other very well, Festivo acting as a relatively short but exciting band overture with contrasting sections followed by the ‘concerto’. The soloist for the evening will be our own Sec 4 student, Ong Zi Rui. This piece was very interesting for us to work on and I loved the combined elements of classical music and jazz influenced effects,” said Yao Cong.

According to SWO manager Yeo Cheng Fu, this is not the first time that SWO and DHSSB have collaborated in a project.

Both bands were previously led by the same conductor Mr Desmond Ng to become award winning bands before he relinquished the role of resident conductor to both of his students.

“As SWO and DHSSB have a long history of performing together, it is a great opportunity to be preparing for the concert and sharing the stage with them again,” Joshua said.

“Since our previous collaboration with NParks through the Music for the Community series at Singapore Botanical Gardens, the band has always been aiming to widen its outreach and strengthen community engagement by partnering with school bands in its annual Könzert series,” Cheng Fu added.

“Together with the support of Sembawang Community Club, SWO will continue to look forward in partnering with school bands in its future annual concert series.”

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