The newly founded Philharmonic Wind Orchestra will perform at the Esplanade on Saturday, 30 July at 3pm as part of the Singapore International Band Festival (SIBF) showcase organized by the Wind Bands Association of Singapore (WBAS).

Comprising more than 150 skilled musicians, Philharmonic Wind Orchestra was founded in 2022 to continue the legacy of Philharmonic Winds (Phil Winds) and Philharmonic Youth Winds (Phil Youth) – two bands that are no stranger to the Singapore wind band scene.

“I fondly remember conducting Phil Youth’s first concert in 2002. Over the years, it has been sheer delight to see many players continue their passion in Phil Winds. Putting Phil Winds and Phil Youth together is simply a natural evolution – the two have always been one family! From our very first note together as PWO, it felt as though we have been one orchestra all along.” said resident conductor Dr Leonard Tan.

For more than 20 years, the primary artistic mission of The Philharmonic Winds has always been to introduce cutting-edge wind orchestra music (that has never been performed) to the Singapore audience.

The Philharmonic Wind Orchestra is continuing that great tradition by doing the Singapore premiere of Symphony for Band, Wine-Dark Sea, by John Mackey.

“It’s a complex work that demands advanced level playing from all sections, and pushes the coloristic possibilities of the modern wind orchestra. Superbly scored, great percussion writing, use of Bartok pizz on the double basses, prepared piano, jazz-inspired rhythms and solos… the list goes on!”

“It takes a lot of effort to put together – even more so as a volunteer orchestra with the constraints of Covid-19. Still, this is our labour of love for the Singapore audience, and I can’t wait to hear how it sounds in the Esplanade Concert Hall. It’s going to be a totally different experience than watching it on YouTube – one wonders when it will be performed again live in Singapore.”

In line with its mission of championing the music of Singapore composers, PWO has included in its repertoire the work of talented composer Lee Jinjun, who is also a wonderful friend of The Philharmonic Winds.

Originally composed for solo euphonium and brass sextet, Concertino for Euphonium is a lighthearted piece written in the Neoclassical style. It is a callback to the textures and structural clichés found in music by Classical era composers such Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn, whilst sprinkled with delightful 20th century harmonic surprises.

“We are thrilled that his Concertino for Euphonium will be performed by our very own PWO euphonium player, Vincent Tan. It’s a terrific addition to the thin repertory of music for euphonium, and we are immensely proud of Jinjun and Vincent for their artistry.” Dr Tan said.

Originally commissioned by euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead, and recorded as part of his album Dream Times, together with the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) Brass Sextet, the work was last played in 2016.

“I’m definitely honoured, and happy to be given the chance to revive and revamp the concertino, and most importantly have it played by fellow RNCM schoolmate Vincent!” said the composer Lee Jinjun.

Guest conducting the Philharmonic Wind Orchestra for two wind band favourites – Overture to ‘Candide’ by Leonard Bernstein and Spirited Away by Kazuhiro Morita, is Ms Lau Lifeng, who was also a Phil Youth and Phil Winds member.

“As Plato shared, Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

“Covid-19 brought us all, performers and audiences alike, a newfound appreciation for live music. From my rehearsals with PWO, it was clear that everyone is raring to go and really putting in their best to give audiences the experiences we missed so dearly over the past 2 years.

I’m really glad to be part of this lovely ensemble (all the way from our Phil Youth and Phil Winds days), and I’m sure the audiences will not be disappointed!”

Saturday, 30 July 2022
Esplanade Concert Hall, 3pm

Tickets: $18, $15
Available from SISTIC


Written By Editor

A contributing editor at TBP.