Robert Tomlin appointed as new Chairman of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Governing Board

Founding Chairman Goh Yew Lin steps down after 16 years of visionary leadership

The National University of Singapore (NUS) today announced the appointment of Mr Robert Tomlin, Vice Chairman of Lepercq de Neuflize Asia Pte Ltd, as the new Chairman of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YST) Governing Board. A keen supporter of the arts and education in Singapore and currently Deputy Chairman of the YST Governing Board, Mr Tomlin will succeed YST’s founding Chairman Mr Goh Yew Lin, Managing Director of G.K. Goh Holdings Ltd, on 1 November 2018. 


Mr Goh Yew Lin (left) steps down as the founding Chairman of the NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Governing Board on 31 October 2018 and will be succeeded by Mr Robert Tomlin on 1 November 2018.

The change in leadership follows the celebration of YST’s 15th anniversary, a significant milestone in YST’s dramatic growth marked by distinctive accomplishments by students, graduates and faculty alike in the Singaporean and global music landscape. This year, YST alumnus Kahchun Wong was appointed Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony, the first Asian in this role. YST has influenced the formation of new ensembles in Singapore including the Red Dot Baroque, Metropolitan Festival Orchestra and the Kids’ Philharmonic; its graduates have also filled the majority of orchestral position vacancies at the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in the last decade. 

As the Chairman of the Governing Board, Mr Goh’s vision and advocacy was especially crucial in establishing YST as an integral part of NUS and Singapore’s music ecosystem. He played an instrumental role in securing key endowments, including gifts from the Yong Loo Lin Trust, that have been critical to YST’s success and helped advance its role in nurturing musical talents. 

Mr Goh’s leadership in the arts extends beyond NUS and YST. He is also Chairman of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Deputy Chairman of the National Arts Council. For his contribution to arts and education in Singapore, Mr Goh was awarded the Public Service Star in 2013.  

Reflecting on his time at YST, Mr Goh said, “It has been an incredible 16 years. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the YST story, and to help build this beacon of musical excellence which is already having a transformative impact on music in Singapore and beyond. I know that I leave YST in good hands as it continues to refine its mission in the context of a rapidly-evolving world.”

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “NUS is deeply indebted to Mr Goh Yew Lin for shaping the growth and success of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music over the last 16 years as its founding Chairman. Under Yew Lin’s exemplary leadership, YST has transformed the cultural landscape of NUS as well as Singapore, and added a distinctive Asian voice that is being heard globally. Today, YST is a leading conservatory with strong regional and international partnerships, and it has also nurtured many outstanding graduates who are making an impact across a range of fields. This is a remarkable achievement.” 

“Mr Robert Tomlin is a familiar face in YST and a dear friend of Singapore, having served the YST Governing Board with passion and dedication over the last 15 years. YST will continue to benefit from Robin’s rich global experience, deep commitment in promoting the arts and strong belief in education. I am confident that Robin will take YST to new heights,” Prof Tan added.

Mr Robert Tomlin joined the YST Governing Board in 2003 and was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Board in 2008. He is Chairman of the Design Singapore Council and the Singapore Repertory Theatre, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at the Lasalle College of the Arts. He had previously served on the board of directors at the Singapore Management University, and has also held numerous directorships in the private sector. Mr Tomlin received the Public Service Medal (Friends in Singapore) in the 2015 National Day Awards. 

Mr Tomlin commented, “Having seen the development of YST from its early days on the NUS campus, it is a joy to see what a vibrant and creative institution it has become. The next few years will see YST playing an even greater role in enriching musical possibilities for all students across the university. We are preparing a new generation of music-makers and music-lovers for the 21st century, and it is a great honour to succeed Yew Lin in the role of Chairman.”

Professor Bernard Lanskey, Dean of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at NUS, shared, “A deep love and appreciation for music have always been core drivers for the invaluable insight and guidance Mr Goh has offered YST since its inception. On a more personal level, I will continue to value his support and mentorship, as together we seek to place great music as a recognised value identified with Singapore. We know Mr Tomlin well already from his significant time with us as Deputy Chairman. With his breadth of artistic engagement and his wealth of professional experience, we are confident that the years ahead will continue to be an exciting adventure.”

Since its founding, YST has seen 556 graduates over 12 cohorts. It offers 20 majors in instrumental and voice performance, composition, audio arts and sciences, as well as newly-established majors in Music & Society and Music, Collaboration & Production. Alongside its academic offering, YST hosts a vibrant performance calendar with around 200 concerts annually, as well as a community engagement and professional integration programme with extensive reach – all of which enrich the educational experience. In addition, YST now offers all NUS students access to music modules, a Minor in Music & Society, and Second Majors across all areas. YST’s continuing education and Young Artist programmes, as well as its participation in the larger music scene has opened up additional pathways for musical engagement.

Alongside Mr Goh, three other Governing Board members – Dr Fred Bronstein, Dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, USA; Mr Kenneth Kwok, Assistant Chief Executive, Planning & Engagement Group, National Arts Council; and Mr Chan Yoong Han, First Violin Fixed Chair, Singapore Symphony Orchestra – will end their terms in October 2018.

“On behalf of NUS and YST, I would like to express our appreciation to Fred, Kenneth and Yoong Han for contributing their time and rich experience as members of the YST Governing Board,” Prof Tan Eng Chye added. 

With effect from 1 November 2018, the new YST Governing Board will comprise nine members, who have been appointed for a two-year term. The full list of Governing Board members can be found in Annex 1

Please refer to Annex 2 for the biography of Mr Robert Tomlin.