NUS appoints new Dean for Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has appointed Norwegian composer and researcher Dr Peter Tornquist as the new Dean to lead the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YST). Dr Tornquist will begin his term of office in February 2022.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “After a rigorous international search, we are delighted to welcome Dr Peter Tornquist, who is an influential voice in higher music education. Peter’s work has been central in establishing artistic research as a pivotal field of knowledge in modern conservatories, and a strategic tool for developing students as inquisitive artists. With his keen understanding of the evolving higher music education landscape in the 21st century, I am confident that YST will continue to make great strides under Peter’s stewardship.”

Dr Tornquist joins YST from the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he served as Principal from 2013 to July 2021. During his tenure, he contributed to the development of higher music education through a widening network of strategic national and international partnerships, and helped position the Academy as one of the highest ranked institutions in the Performing Arts globally. A graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, he has been awarded Honorary Fellowships by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music in recognition for his services to music.

Prior to his role as Principal of the Academy, he was its Head of Composition, Theory and Music Technology from 2007, and Associate Professor in Composition from 2008 to 2013. His academic expertise covers the fields of composition, electronic music, improvisation and music theory, alongside rich experience in classroom teaching, curriculum development and graduate student supervision. He has also contributed extensively to the development of phenomenological approaches to music analysis based on the writings of Pierre Schaeffer.

As a composer, performer and conductor, Peter possesses a broad repertoire, working across improvising soloists, orchestras, recitals, ensembles as well as live electronics. His compositions have been performed by ensembles such as the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and the London Sinfonietta. His work focuses on the interaction between composers and performers through live electronics and improvisation. He has also performed at various international music festivals and released several records with Fabror Melker Records, Aurora Records and Hemera Records.

An active contributor to the international music community, Dr Tornquist has served as Chair of Institutional Accreditation for the Royal Danish College of Music in Copenhagen, and chaired institutional reviews for numerous higher music education institutions across Europe and Asia. Within Norway, he has been President of Ny Musikk (the Norwegian section of the International Society for Contemporary Music), and Vice Chairman of the Norwegian Composer’s Association and of the Norwegian Performing Rights Society.

YST Governing Board Chair Ms Chong Siak Ching said, “The Governing Board and management of YST are excited to welcome Dr Tornquist to our conservatory. We are confident he will continue to advance YST’s artistic, educational, research and community work, as the Conservatory grows from strength to strength as Asia’s most exciting international conservatory and one of the world’s most distinctive music schools.”

Dr Tornquist said, “I am delighted to be joining YST and working alongside the highly qualified and dedicated team of colleagues here. YST has been a longstanding partner of the Norwegian Academy of Music, and I have been fortunate to get to know it during my past visits. Amidst a rapidly-changing global economy, our job as educators is to prepare students to push the boundaries and explore the full potential of their musical identity. My heartfelt thanks to Prof Bernard Lanskey for his leadership, which has shaped YST into the dynamic conservatory it is today, and I look forward to contributing my experience in furthering the Conservatory’s mission.”

Please refer to the Annex for a biography of Dr Tornquist.