With Singaporeans hungering for a return to normalcy as the lockdown restrictions ease, the popular Singaporean-German concert ‘Beethoven im Garten’ has risen to satisfy their cultural appetite.
The event returns to the Singapore Botanic Gardens after a hiatus of two years and with a refreshed set-up.
This will be the first full orchestral symphonic concert outdoors since the pandemic and is set to revive the international cultural exchange with Germany interrupted by COVID-19.
For the first time, guest musicians from the Dresden Philharmonic and its affiliate Kurt Masur Academy will join the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra.
They will perform Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, as well as the final movement of Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony, conducted by Singaporean maestro Kahchun Wong. In addition to being the Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, a post he held since 2018, Wong has also been appointed the Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic in 2021.
“On many levels, Beethoven im Garten means a lot to me. This year, we welcome the Dresden Philharmonic into our double mission of nurturing our emerging professional musicians and introducing classical music of the highest quality to heartlanders," Wong said. "I wish that our collaboration will be the first in many more international exchanges for the cultural sector."
The concert will take place at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on March 26 at 6 pm for an audience capacity of 1,000. It will also be concurrently live-streamed via the Facebook event page of the German Embassy in Singapore (@GermanyinSingapore).
The event is ticketed, but admission is free. The concert will be the highlight of a week of residency by the visiting German musicians at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, where they will coach students and conduct masterclasses alongside rehearsals for the concert. The residency will also see the principals of the Dresden Philharmonic who form the ‘Collenbusch Quartet’, perform an evening of chamber music with clarinetist Daniel Hochstöger on March 27 at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.
Dr Norbert Riedel, German Ambassador to Singapore, explained, “Germany being the pilot country for quarantine-free travel via the ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane’ with Singapore, we would like to tap on the momentum. We pledged to revitalise our people-to-people exchange and bring back ‘Beethoven im Garten’. The concert will be an excellent opportunity to re-connect and I invite everyone to join us either at the Botanic Gardens or via live-stream from the comfort of your home.”
Goh Swee Chen, Chairman of the National Arts Council, said this edition of ‘Beethoven im Garten’ held at the first tropical botanic garden on UNESCO’s World Heritage List embodied their aspirations in connecting communities and reviving arts and culture.
"Under the masterful baton of Kahchun Wong, German and Singapore musicians are brought together in meaningful exchanges and a collaborative performance that will be memorable for audiences and musicians alike,” she added.
The event is an initiative by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Singapore jointly presented with the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise in partnership with Dresden Philharmonic, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, and Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Michael Tay, Founding Director of the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise explained that 'Beethoven im Garten’ has grown from a one-off event into a true two-way cultural exchange and helps grow Singapore’s next generation of musicians for the international stage.
Frauke Roth, CEO of Dresden Philharmonic said she was looking forward to the week in Singapore after learning to live in a post-pandemic world.
“We need to respect culture as an integral part of our society and treat it accordingly. I am glad we can take these first steps together with Singapore and look forward to the residency week of our musicians and students in Singapore,” she added.
Audi, BASF and BMW stepped up as new Gold sponsors for the event, enabling an additional exchange opportunity by allowing students of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore to join Dresden Philharmonic in Saxony/Germany for a possible consideration for its Kurt Masur Academy.
The open-air-concerts at Singapore Botanic Gardens kicked-off in 2018 as a yearly Singaporean-German friendship event established by Maestro Kahchun Wong and the German Embassy to Singapore. Musicians from both countries engage in a musical and cultural dialogue to support emerging professional musicians in Singapore.
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