In Harmony with Douglas Bostock and Thomas Leleu

Maestro Douglas Bostock is back in Singapore to guest conduct the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band in their 35th instalment of their annual ‘In Harmony‘ concert series on 9 September.

“It’s really great to be back here – it has a least been a dozen times that I have been here since conducting the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in 2005 at the WASBE Conference.”

“I have since conducted the SAF Central Band twice in their concerts, been with the Singapore International Band Festival (SIBF) as a jury and clinician, and conducted various masterclasses.”

This Monday’s concert will feature Director of Music ME5 Tan Aik Kee in the first half, leading the band in Samuel R. Hazo‘s vibrant and energetic work ‘Ride’.

The band will also perform David Gillingham‘s ‘Concertino for Four Percussion & Wind Ensemble’, featuring percussionists ME2 Hazizi Jaafar, ME2 Richard Ter, ME1 Mohd Fhairil and ME1(T) Gordon Tan.

Wrapping up the first half is ‘Convergences’, a Tuba Concerto written by French composer Jean-Philippe Vanbeselaere in 2010, and created by the talented French Tuba soloist Thomas Leleu, who will perform with the band for the first time.

The peculiarity of this composition is the use of instruments from current music – guitars, pads, samplers, and pushing to limits of almost orchestral use, at the service of an extremely architectured writing, served by the wind orchestra. The idea is to generate music from both amplified music and classical aesthetics, combining the Tuba as a solo instrument navigating between written music and improvisations.

Termed as a young prodigy, Thomas is the first tuba player to have ever won the award ‘Revelation Instrumental Soloist of the Year‘ at the annual French classical music award event, the Victoires de la musique classique.

“This is first time in Singapore and I am very pleased to be here. I enjoyed working with a great band for the concert at Esplanade.”

The second half begins with Kazuhiro Morita‘s transcription of ‘Toccata and Fugue in D Minor’ by J.S. Bach, led by guest conductor Douglas Bostock.

“Personally, I would prefer to conduct almost exclusively original wind music for winds and not transcriptions. However, this piece is originally an organ piece, and in actual fact is a piece of wind music, or a mechanical piece for an organ. Morita did not transcribe symphony orchestra music for wind orchestra, but simply replaced the pipes of the organ with live pipes.”

“Toccata has always been a challenge work for wind orchestras, and of course it fits in with the organ and bach themes, which relate to other pieces.”

One of Douglas’s favourite works of all time, ‘The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart’ by Percy Grainger, will be the highlight of the concert.

“I have a soft spot for Grainger’s music, and this is one of his greatest pieces. It is enigmatic but beautiful in its romantic colours and rubato. Most importantly, the work employs the organ as a solo instrument, or somewhat a solo partner with the wind orchestra. This fits very well before our finale piece with the organ sounds. With Nelhybel’s piece, the sounds of pre-recorded music blends in with the wind orchestra, and so does Grainger’s work – the organ with the orchestra. Also, joining us for this performance is Dr. Evelyn Lim on the pipe organ.”

To end off the concert, the SAF Central Band will take on ‘Sinfonia Resurrectionis’ by Vaclav Nelhybel, a massive work with great virtuosity for the band, inspired by organ sounds and the music of bach amongst other things.

A fan of Nelhybel’s works, Douglas spends his time unearthing his music, especially those that were written in manuscript and seldom played by wind orchestras.

“I did Sinfonia Resurrectionis in Japan a few years back, and thought it would be great to feature one of Nelhybel’s less featured compositions, which will be performed for the first time in Singapore.”

“At the start, I was not sure if it was the right piece considering the short rehearsal time I would have with the band. It is now Friday and I am glad to have chosen it. I am pleased to know that the SAF Central Band has rocketed in music quality and is now a wonderful professional wind orchestra. I am extremely delighted to be doing this work!”

With a concert programme connected by the organ, Douglas believes that the second half will be stunning.

“We have got an organ piece transcribed for the wind orchestra, which resembles a live organ laid out in its components on stage; an actual organ in conversation or better, in dialogue with the wind orchestra in Grainger’s music; and also organ like or cathedral like sounds which are impressive and monumental in Nelhybel’s work.”

“And then, there’s Bach… his actual music in the first part of Sinfonia Resurrectionis, and then Bach-ian quotations and Bach style writing.”

“Things are going so well, and the band is really on top of the repertoire.”

“The overall program is very unusual, interesting and exciting at the same time. I am really looking forward to the concert and hope to see many people at the Esplanade!”


In Harmony 35
Singapore Armed Forces Central Band

Monday, 9 September
Esplanade Concert Hall, 7.30pm

Tickets: FREE
Reserve Tickets Here
Tickets reserved are automatically confirmed and to be collected at the door on concert day from 6pm – 7pm.
Uncollected tickets will be released to the public after 7pm.

[Cover photo courtesy of the SAF Band]

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