Ventus Music celebrates the end of another academic year with their premiere School’s Out Concert series with the Ventus band, gracing the State-of-the-art Infinite Studios Soundstage for the very first time. Ventus is a wind ensemble formed by Ventus Music Ltd. — a non-profit arts organisation providing ensemble based music education and performance platforms for youths and musicians of diverse social backgrounds.
With a new start, Music Director Adrian Chiang conducts the Ventus Band, presenting an outstanding programme, bringing the curtains to a close for the school year.
“Among the band, a large pool of them are my ex-students who are now educators, music professionals, and passionate hobbyists, all united under the commitment of music-making at the highest levels. Directing this group of young, passionate musicians motivates me to continue improving. Was the band perplexed when I conducted a particular passage? How can I improve my clarity in conducting? I always look forward to our next rehearsal to witness the band’s camaraderie and you can definitely hear them working hard by self-practising before each rehearsal.
Every musician I’ve had the pleasure of working with has given me the opportunity to collaborate and create great musical moments together. Regardless of the size or difficulty of the work, every piece I rehearse with my respective groups brings back many memories of the journey we took together. When revisiting an old work or recording, the memories of their faces, jokes and tears from difficult times always come flooding back in an emotional wave.” Adrian looks back fondly on his many years of experience conducting groups in Singapore.
“My favourite aspect of Ventus Band is how well they respond to my conducting. Some of the musicians have been with me for over a decade; they know my conducting and musical expression style like a worm in my stomach, and it truly feels like music speaks a thousand words whenever we come together.”
“We are excited to collaborate with Infinite Studios Soundstage, especially since it is such an unconventional concert venue in Singapore. Given the lack of concert venues in Singapore, making a booking is like running a race: if you snooze, you lose. However, there are many factors and stakeholders involved before a show can be done, and it is difficult for a young group like us to book a conventional concert venue with a good weekend date. As a result, working with Infinite Studio Soundstage allows for date flexibility as well as an adventurous exploration of an alternative unconventional concert venue for large band settings in Singapore.”
Although running on a short timeline, Ventus will feature beloved works from renowned James Barnes, Symphonic Overture and his tragic Third Symphony.
Symphonic Overture presents itself as large, overarching and styled romantically for celebration. With its bold introductory fanfare and multiple solos, its riveting themes heralds the new beginning of something great, the flourishing start of Ventus band.
“The choice to begin the concert with Symphonic Overture was deliberate in order to welcome the band and audience to our debut concert with a celebratory fanfare piece.”
Virtuosic saxophonist Samuel Phua joins the band with a sensational saxophone solo in Solace: A Lyric Concerto by Joel Love. The dulcet tones of the soulful solo rings far above as the audience embarks on a musical journey with the band in the evening. The concerto is conducted by Brian Lim, a rising young conductor who has worked closely with Adrian for the past decade.
Solace describes 5 musically distinct sound worlds in his work – “Joy”, describing the wonders of the world edging on the imaginary; “Besieged”, a vicious back-and-forth of one’s self-created inner turmoil; “Gratitude”, the heart and appreciating nature of life; “Hiding”, jazzy, groovy and strong independence; and finally, “Work”, a feeling of accomplishment and a place where the self meets the world.
Throughout the concerto, look out for the soloist to play lyrically in extreme registers (called the altissimo register, which is above the instrument’s typical, written range) and virtuosic passages in unique sound worlds.
“It has been incredible working with Samuel, I really appreciate his attention to detail and the subtlety in his musical nuances. It’s our first time working together in the same ensemble, and it’s been really comfortable to discuss and navigate our direction in Solace. It’s going to be a great show, and I can’t wait to show what we’ve been working on!” said Brian.
Finally, Ventus will present Barnes’ Third Symphony, as it takes you on a musical emotional journey through four movements, progressing from the deepest darkness of despair to the brightness of fulfilment and joy.
Barnes’ bitterness and despondence from his infant daughter’s death is visceral in the first movement, as he finds ways to deal with his grief, albeit sarcastically in the second movement. Dedicating his third movement as a farewell to his daughter, Natalie, he lives in a phantasm where Natalie was still alive. The finale and the fourth movement signals a new beginning and reconciliation with his anguish. Reprising the theme for a Lutheran children’s hymn sung at Natalie’s funeral, Barnes celebrates revival via the birth of his new son.
“This was one of the first symphonies I conducted as a young conductor over a decade ago. It will always hold a special place in my heart, and I thought it would be fitting for Ventus to revisit this piece with me as a symbol of our new beginning together. My favourite movement is definitely the third movement. The third movement is a fantasia about what life would have been like for the composer if his daughter had lived. It was written as a farewell to her, and whenever the third movement is played, I feel an emotional pinch in my heart, especially now that I’m a father of two girls. The bassoon duet at the end is especially heartbreaking to me because it feels like parents crying over their lost child,” Adrian elaborated.
As Ventus Band makes a big splash, much enthusiasm is held by members and the community alike. With many talented musicians among their midst, Ventus places music-making as their top priority as they express their hopes and dreams with the audience.
“Ventus aims to enliven Singapore’s art scene by breaking through the conventional and bringing out the unexpected. I hope that Ventus becomes a band that is founded on the exchange of musical ideas and serves as a safe haven for musicians to experiment and grow. Our ultimate goal with Ventus is to connect with passionate musicians and to create a culture of warm guidance and mentorship for musicians to plant their seeds and spread their wings.”
“We are constantly in motion, organising music events and programs. Stay tuned to our socials (@Ventus.music and @Ventus.band) for more updates!”
Friday, 18 November 2022
Infinite Studios (23 Media Circle, Singapore 138563), 8.30pm
$18, available here
Music has always been a large part of Kyla’s life. After loudly proclaiming that she will never join a performing arts CCA again, she promptly joined Crescent Girls’ School Symphonic Band and picked up the clarinet. She began her venture into the world of the Symphonic Band and continued at Eunoia Junior College under the baton of Mr Adrian Chiang. A sophomore at Nanyang Technological University, she is currently majoring in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies and is grateful for Band Fusion for giving her this opportunity to stay in touch with this lovely community. She is still struggling to park her car.