It has been about two years since full restrictions have been lifted on all performing arts groups and green shoots are now returning, bringing back the vibrancy that was so sorely missed during the pandemic years.

While some arts groups are still in the midst of recovery, Philharmonic Wind Orchestra (PWO) is pushing ahead at breakneck speed.

Having staged successful concerts over the last two years, such as its “As Time is Passing On” concert (a collaboration with Band Fusion), to its pop-themed “Anita Mui Tribute”, PWO is forging ahead to be the first Singapore wind band, post-pandemic, to participate in the prestigious World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) conference, to be held in 16-20 July in Gwangju, Gyeonggi in South Korea

For the uninitiated, WASBE is the only international organization of wind band conductors, composers, performers, publishers, teachers, instrument makers and friends of wind music. It is dedicated to enhancing the quality of the wind band throughout the world and exposing its members to new worlds of repertoire, musical culture, people and places. 

This year’s WASBE conference in South Korea marks only the third time this prestigious conference is coming to Asia in its 40-year history; the first time being Singapore, in 2005, and the second being Taiwan, in 2011. The orchestra, with its 24-year history, and long-regarded as an unstinting supporter of pushing the boundaries of wind band repertoire, has participated in all the past editions of this prestigious conference. 

There is much more to be celebrated. The last time a wind band represented Singapore internationally was almost a decade ago.

Selected by the WASBE Artistic Committee, this year’s conference see PWO sharing the international stage with wind bands and ensembles from around the world, namely the Jeju Seogwipo Wind Orchestra (South Korea), Adelaide Wind Orchestra (Australia), National Chaiyi University Department of Music Wind Orchestra (Taiwan), Landesblasorchester Baden-Württem-berg (Germany), Orchestre d’Harmonie des Jeunes de Strasbourg (France), Spanish Brass (Spain) and the US Navy Band (USA).

Prior to its trip to South Korea, PWO will be staging a concert, “Flying High – Beyond Our Islands’ Shores” for its Singaporean audience on 23 June 2024 at the Esplanade Concert Hall. The concert will be helmed by its long-time Music Director Dr Leonard Tan, and besides featuring PWO-alumni and Taiwan Philharmonic trumpeter Chong Loo Kit, it will also see the return of its renowned Principal Guest Conductor, Dr Timothy Reynish MBE

The repertoire promises to be an eclectic smorgasbord of sounds, with six contrasting pieces to highlight the versatility of the orchestra and to introduce an array of soundscapes.

The concert will open the first half with the blaringly loud, heat-stopping Asphalt Cocktail (L.Mackey), followed by Sonata for Trumpet (K. Kennan) featuring Chong Loo Kit, and Spanish Dances (L.S.Alarcon).

The second half will feature Singaporean works Daybreak and Sunrise (Leong Yoon Pin), the wind orchestra premiere of The Sisters’ Islands (Wang Chenwei), a symphonic poem inspired by a local legend of the title’s namesake, and a newly commissioned work betwixt and between (Lee Jiayi), which juxtaposes construction noises and distorted harmony, portraying the composers memory of Singapore’s soundscape.

Indeed, a repertoire not to be missed!

PWO Presents:
Flying High — Beyond Our Islands’ Shores
WASBE 2024 Pre-Tour Concert

23 June 2024
Esplanade Concert Hall, 7.30pm


Written By Editor

A contributing editor at TBP.