SYC ensemble singers
Beyond what we do, we’d like to offer some context by telling you who we are. The SYC Ensemble Singers* is a collective of singers, a theatre of voices, concerned with playing at and beyond the boundaries of the choral idiom. Led by Jennifer Tham, Artistic Director and Conductor, we colour outside the lines, pursuing a passion for contemporary repertoire.
We made music with folks international and local alike, joining hands and paths with guest conductors such as Gary Graden (Sweden), Vytautas Miškinis (Lithuania), Ko Matsushita (Japan), Jonathan Velasco (Philippines), Cecilia Rydinger Alin (Sweden), and László Nemes (Hungary). We’ve also performed with Italian composer Corrado Margutti; Swedish-American composer, jazz pianist and recording artist, Steve Dobrogosz; and worked with Maestro Tsung Yeh and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra on several occasions.
At the heart of our adventure is the belief in music. We started as a group of musicians exploring texts dear to us. From there, we pushed forward, trusting that there was a bigger picture at play, and that we were joining the dots of new images and sounds, forging new histories.
In 2006, we played host to the first THREE festival, a collaborative concert series between us (the SYC Ensemble Singers), Gaia Philharmonic Choir (Japan) and the Ateneo Chamber Singers (Philippines). THREE is a testament to the strong personal, cultural and musical ties we have forged and held with musicians who share our vision.
So we wander. We pick up scores of new music by local and international composers alike, from Leong Yoon Pin, to Alberto Grau (Venezuela), and Rita Ueda (Canada). With them, we redefine the relevance of ensemble singing. We enlarge and preserve musical spaces for the musicians of tomorrow, and create new experiences of the voice as a musical medium.
And along the way, so much joy and song. Music rising like the sun in these tropics, swelling like the dome roofs of the chapels we’ve seen together — music blossoming like coming home. Local spaces, local voices, local echoes. The more we wandered the more we got glimpses of each next destination. And we’ve always run to it together. Wherever we go next, you’re invited too.
if you cannot teach me to fly,
teach me to sing.
- Sir james barrie
artistic director & conductor
Jennifer lives in the world of possibilities—the countless ways in which a theatre of voices can offer a word, a thought, a sound. She directs the SYC Ensemble Singers, a choir devoted to the work of living composers; and brings the same contemporary sensibility to school and university choirs, and the choirs she has been invited to conduct, in France, Hungary, Japan and Taiwan. She has given workshops to choral conductors and pedagogues in Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Poland on rehearsal games that prepare their ensembles for performing contemporary music.
Jennifer taught choral conducting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and has chaired and spoken on panels on repertoire and programming at conferences and symposia in Argentina, Denmark, Estonia and Sweden. For the International Federation for Choral Music, Jennifer co-coordinates the Asia Pacific Working Committee and the Asia Pacific Youth Choir. She represents Singapore on the World Choir Council, and has been on jury at the World Choir Games and other festivals in Asia, Europe and America since 2003.
In 2012, she was conferred the Cultural Medallion, Singapore’s highest arts accolade, by the President, Republic of Singapore, for her role in shaping the nation’s cultural landscape.