2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra (SNYCO), and the orchestra celebrated with four key concerts titled “Friendship” (谊), “Reunion” (聚), Legacy” (承) and “Ascend” (腾) from this March to December.

Since its inaugural in 2003, SNYCO had been the point of convergence for more than 600 talented young Chinese instrumental musicians in Singapore between the age of 10 – 26 years old, a testament to its status as Ministry of Education’s National Project of Excellence.

SNYCO Music Director Quek Ling Kiong penned in his message for the Friendship concert programme that “the SNYCO has blossomed beautifully and continues to cultivate future generations of Chinese orchestra ambassadors, musicians and music-lovers.” Indeed, the orchestra is proud to have nine musician alumni and three arts administrator alumni in Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), and many more making significant contributions in Singapore’s arts scene and other various fields.

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SNYCO alumnus Deborah Siok, who joined SCO in 2022 as an erhu musician, recounted that she has “benefitted greatly not only from the many performance opportunities that have allowed her to accumulate much-needed orchestral experience, but also from the wealth of knowledge that SNYCO conductors and Teacher Artists, have shared with the members.”

Chen Xinyu, our SNYCO pipa alumnus, joined SNYCO at the age of 9. Although she left the orchestra this year at the age of 19 to further her studies, SNYCO holds a special place in her heart. “I feel that each of our performances is not just fed by our collective passion for music, but also by our mutual love and respect for one another; music for us is a manifestation of sorts to honour our relationships and shared memories, and that is what makes our concerts so heart-warming,” she recounted.

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The members’ passion was especially reflected in the three key concerts and one outreach concert held thus far this year. Friends, families, and SNYCO alumni made each of the endeavor special by supporting SNYCO in one way or another, every event was a well-received success. Partners and artists have also made this year’s celebrations exceptional, through collaborative efforts with Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, Esplanade, and Lee Jun Le, a 16-year-old youth artist with autism spectrum disorder who was commissioned to calligraph the four Chinese characters of the four key concerts.

Sharing similar thoughts with Xinyu, SNYCO harp alumnus Christabelle Sheum was the president of SNYCO Members’ Committee from 2021 to 2023. She was first given the opportunity to be part of the Members’ Committee in 2018 as the vice-president. The committee is formed to organise activities for the members and assist in concert arrangements alongside the management. “It was heartwarming to see current members and new members get to know each other better and everyone coming together to bond with one another and have fun during the bonding day that the committee organised earlier this year. I hope to see SNYCO continue to give talented young musicians a platform to showcase and hone their skills and to share Chinese orchestra music to even more people.”

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One of such notable platforms is the overseas exposure programme, which brings members on culturally immersive trips. SNYCO will be touring to East Malaysia this December, with the “Ascend” concert on 2 December 2023 as a prelude. This is a first for SNYCO members to tour and experience cultural exchanges in East Malaysia, and a perfect finale milestone to the 20th anniversary celebrations.

As we approach the final quarter of 2023, it is not the end, but a beginning to a new chapter for SNYCO. As what SNYCO Music Director Quek Ling Kiong says,

“SNYCO20 – the best is still yet to come. May SNYCO grow from strength to strength, continue to strive for excellence, and inspire the world with their music!”

By Joanna Lim and Clement Lee, SNYCO Office

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“ 'SNYCO20’代表的是‘好戏在后头’!愿青年团势力不断壮大,继续追求卓越,用音乐带给全世界更多力量!”

文:李保辉, 林思敏, 新加坡国家青年华乐团行政部门



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