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Starting out life as a combined schoolsâ€™ choir and then christened the Singapore Youth Choir in 1964, the choir â€“ in its current incarnation as the SYC Ensemble Singers â€“ is no stranger to change and reinvention. Helming the vanguard of Singaporeâ€™s choral scene, we are committed to the exploration of what music can be, taking our bearings from a bravely contemporary repertoire that crosses borders and spans continents.
Essentially nomadic, we globetrot the musical dimensions of the world to map the synapses between music, experience and memory. From the historic win at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in 1974 to the latest installation of THREE in Sapporo in January 2013, all the while working closely with local and international composers and promoting music education for the youth, this decades-long trip has been continually marked with a sense of collaboration and community.
Yet, as all journeys do, every traipse down a newly-forged path is an adventure that brings us back home. And home, for us, is our unwavering dedication to The Music in its demanding and rewarding complexities, to give it voice and preserve musical spaces for the musicians of tomorrow.
The average percentage of males who join SYC is 26.85% or
a female to male ratio of slightly more than 2:1.
The average size of the choir from 1980 onwards.
Jennifer has directed the Singapore Youth Choir (now the SYC Ensemble Singers) since 1986. In her hands, the SYC has earned several prizes and awards, as well as a reputation for being the composerâ€™s choir, malleable to the demands of contemporary choral music.
Jennifer is also Artistic Director of the Young Musiciansâ€™ Society, the arts company responsible for the Asia South Pacific Symposium on Choral Music (2001) and its offshoots, the First Aid for Choirs and Conductors Workshop Series, and the Kodaly Seminar Asia for music pedagogues.
She has taught choral conducting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and given workshops and short courses to conductors at home, in Japan and Indonesia. Jennifer has chaired and spoken on panels at conferences in Singapore, Sweden, Estonia and Denmark, and was principal lecturer at the 2008 Lithuanian Conductors Summer Academy, hosted by the Lithuanian Choral Union and the Ministry of Culture. Last year, she presented lectures and reading sessions on Singapore choral music at symposia in Croatia and USA. She is an elected Board member of the International Federation for Choral Music, and serves on the World Choir Council, representing Singapore.In 2012, Jennifer was conferred the nationâ€™s highest artistic accolade, the Cultural Medallion, by the President, Republic of Singapore.
Siew Woon has been singing with the SYC Ensemble Singers since 2007, and has been serving as the Assistant Conductor since 2009.
In 2010, she received the KodĂˇly Certificate in Music Education at the KodĂˇly Seminar Asia, where she started training as a pedagogue. She was also selected to represent Singapore in the inaugural session of the Asia Pacific Youth Choir in 2011.
Having grown up in school choirs, Siew Woon is now the conductor of several school choirs in Singapore, and hopes that young choristers too will find music-making joyous and fulfilling. An active accompanist since the age of 13, she also enjoys making music with choirs and solo voice from the piano.
We are constantly amazed at the magic a collection of human voices can make. We have felt power spinning through a von Bingen chant, heard the glory of Monteverdian cathedrals, caught the overflow of joy that makes one realize why Bach is still considered The Man. As beneficiaries who have played, learnt, communed with the music of the Past, we believe that we must study, perform and promote the music of the Present. For how else will heirs to the Old Ones arise?
Who will write the music of tomorrow if they are not encouraged to do so today? To these ends, we actively commission music, and work with composers to understand and realize their vision.
In doing so, we hope to create and preserve a space for the musicians and audiences of tomorrow. We are blessed to have had a wide repertoire of works written for us , both as commissions and gifts , each unique in the musical idiom they represent.
These range from the “strangely” avant-garde (“is this really music?”) to lush emotive harmonies; from arrangements of today’s popular music to reinterpretations of soundscapes and folksongs that are disappearing from the modern world.
This is our world. We hope it can be yours too.
SYC Ensemble Singers
Newton Post Office
PO Box 265
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