25
September
2018
|
16:15
Europe/Amsterdam

An ode to the arts on campus

Soloists (from left) Ms Yee (in red), Ms Tan, Mr Tay and Mr Lanzrein performing with the NUSChoir

Hailed as a universal anthem of freedom and joy, the complex melodies of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony brought the curtain down on the 13th NUS Arts Festival on 22 September at the University Cultural Centre (UCC) Hall.

The UCC Hall was at capacity for the highly-anticipated performance, which featured the combined talents of the NUS Symphony Orchestra and the NUSChoir. The 200 student and alumni performers were also joined by four guest soloists: Soprano Ms Ee-Ping Yee, Tenor Mr Jonathan Charles Tay, Baritone Mr Valentin Lanzrein and Mezzo-Soprano Ms Jade Tan Shi Yu, an alumna of the NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

“We chose to close the Arts Festival with a rousing major work to mark our 25th anniversary,” said NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA) Director Ms Sharon Tan. “Ode to Joy was an ideal choice because it delivered on both aspects of CFA’s vision: the reputation and familiarity of the work attracted a large student audience who may not have ventured into a classical concert before, and at the same time, its complexity challenged our Orchestra and Choir to work together; to nurture and support each other as artists.”

The selection of the closing performance piece for this year’s festival was championed by the students in the Symphony Orchestra and supported by their resident conductor, Mr Lim Soon Lee.

Ode to Joy was an ideal choice because it delivered on both aspects of CFA’s vision: the reputation and familiarity of the work attracted a large student audience who may not have ventured into a classical concert before, and at the same time, its complexity challenged our Orchestra and Choir to work together; to nurture and support each other as artists.

“The 9th Symphony was the last that Beethoven completed before his death. Although he was suffering from deafness and weakening health, the final theme, Ode to Joy, is a celebration of life, joy and the love which unites us all through music,” said Mr Lim during the rehearsals for the production. “This piece is therefore fitting for celebrating the many years of arts on NUS campus.”

For the 200 students and alumni who filled the stage of the UCC Hall, participating in such a major production was a serious endeavour.

“The commitment of being in an orchestra is high but I have no regrets as I'm working with people who share the same passion in orchestral music,” said Justin Chan, a Year 2 NUS Mechanical Engineering student and President of the Orchestra. “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience which I will never take for granted.”

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The NUS Symphony Orchestra, the NUS Choir and conductor Mr Lim on stage

The NUS Arts Festival saw more than 15,000 attendees and over 600 students, faculty, staff and alumni participating in the 50 performances, talks and films over the three weeks.

Visiting artists and collaborators in the festival included writer and actor Mr Tetsuro Shigematsu from Canada, dancer and choreographer Ms Akanen Miyoshi from Japan and writer Mr Damon Chua from the US. Local collaborators included writers Mr Wang Liansheng and Ms Corrie Tan, choreographer Mr Goh Shou Yi and academic collaborators from NUS Geography, NUS Japanese Studies and the Centre for Quantum Technologies at NUS.

The NUS Arts Festival will return in March 2019.

By the NUS Centre For the Arts