The Singapore Youth Chamber Winds (SYCW) presents ‘The Wind Movement‘, a finale concert of the 2022 Youth Chamber Project, on Monday, 28 February 2022 at the Esplanade Recital Studio.

The project introduced the successfully auditioned youth wind musicians to the world of chamber music, through 7 weeks of individual tutoring and group rehearsals.

“Since COVID hit and halted large-group band practices in Singapore indefinitely, we decided it would be a great opportunity to reignite SYCW and leverage on the much smaller group sizes to comply with social distancing measures.” said the SYCW committee.

“We believe that experiencing the chamber genre can significantly benefit our local musicians who are more accustomed to large-group musical settings, as it will expose them to new styles of music, playing, and types of skills.”

First established in 2016 by music director Mr Lim Yean Hwee, SYCW provided an opportunity to youth musicians to explore the world of chamber music in Singapore, where most wind musicians have a background in wind bands. With the guidance of Mr Lim and guest maestro Rodney Winther, SYCW’s 2016 project was a success. For many, it was their first experience with chamber music, and musically, they were able to grow tremendously in the period of a few weeks.

“Many wind musicians in Singapore first pick up their instruments in school bands, and the bulk of opportunities to further their musical journey would be in large-group settings like wind bands and orchestras. Chamber music, an underappreciated genre in Singapore, is played in a smaller group, requiring more sensitivity from every musician, and is also written in a way that makes every musician a soloist as no parts are doubled.”

“This gives musicians a valuable opportunity to fully express themselves, to be creative, and yet to develop a heightened awareness of the musicians they are working with – to cooperate with them, to develop a strong chemistry with them, and to be flexible and responsive. Often, it’s as though chamber musicians are also conductors themselves – this gives musicians the rare opportunity to really take ownership of the music, and to guide how it unfolds together with their fellow chamber musicians. Thus, through experiencing chamber music, musicians can grow to become both more confident soloists and more sensitive team players,” the committee elaborated.

The concert will feature less commonly-known pieces, such as the Singapore premiere of ‘Ayam Titanium‘, inspired by the fantastical dreamscapes of local composer Lee Jinjun, and German composer Kurt Weill‘s work ‘Kleine Dreigroschenmusik‘, whose second movement has all the hallmarks of a jazz work – with saxophones, a trombone solo, drumset, and also the banjo and guitar.

“With the programme, we hope to demonstrate just how broad and rich the chamber genre is, and give our listeners a glimpse into its potential.”

In preparation for the project, the SYCW committee faced multiple challenges, with the primary being the COVID pandemic, which has not been kind to wind musicians.

“With the pandemic, we had to overcome the logistics of dealing with safety, distancing and gathering of audiences. But in a way, COVID also catalysed this project, because we began thinking about how we can continue to make music together safely whilst growing as musicians. Chamber music was a natural answer to this, because it’s predicated on a small group setting in the first place – but it doesn’t take away from the process of making music, and in fact adds to the learning process by incorporating so many new skills and lessons that we may not be as predisposed to in larger group settings.”

“The second challenge, was funding. SYCW (and particularly the Youth Chamber Project) is a relatively new endeavour, and we’ve only run one project prior to this. Chamber is also extremely new to many Singaporeans, even musicians; gaining access to resources and music (and in some cases, musicians – for example, banjo players!) was not easy. In this regard, we’re really grateful to the National Arts Council (NAC) for their support, as well as The Band World, MusicGear, WindWorks, CYL Music Studio for sponsorship and MusoSpace for their kind partnership.”

“It is also our hope that we foster a greater appreciation for chamber music in Singapore, and that this translates into the growth of a chamber culture, more resources, and a growing library for budding chamber musicians in Singapore,” the committee added.

Following the flagship chamber project, SYCW hopes to kickstart a series of mini projects exploring chamber music, as well as to assemble a collective of passionate chamber musicians in Singapore.

“After the Youth Chamber Project concludes, we will be hosting the Chamber Winds Conducting Workshop for conductors and musicians interested in conducting and leading smaller music groups, whether it be strings, winds, ethnic ensembles, handbells, choir, or any other type of ensemble. Conducting participants will have the opportunity to conduct a live chamber group, and be mentored by conducting maestros Adrian Chiang and Joshua Tan. The public will also be able to register to observe the workshop via Zoom.”

“Do follow us on our social media pages – @chamberwinds.sg on Instagram – for more updates on our future projects as well!”