Formerly the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Chinese Orchestra, the orchestra was formed in 1974 and, since then, has continuously expanded and progressed. The orchestra now has a repertoire of more than 1,000 compositions and is highly regarded in Singapore and the region.
The orchestra presently comprises 150 members – mostly young professionals and students – across five musical sections. Many have garnered prizes in Chinese traditional music competitions in Singapore and overseas. From the nurturing grounds of the orchestra, several have gone on to become influential figures in the Singapore Chinese traditional music scene and have contributed greatly to the development of Chinese traditional music in Singapore.
The orchestra’s conductor is Dr Tay Teow Kiat, who has led the orchestra since its inception to its stature today. He led the orchestra to Beijing and Tianjin in 1996, Zhengzhou in 2002, Changchun and Beijing in 2007, and Taiwan in 2013. These performance tours were highly successful and well received. In 1998, he was nominated as the first ever chairman of the Singapore Chinese Music Association and in 2014, he was elected as the founding president of the Singapore Chinese Music Federation.
The orchestra has as its resident composers the renowned Li Chong Wang, Wang Cheng Quan and Lin Wei Hua. In addition, it has also collaborated with Chinese music luminaries such as Hu Tian Quan, Lu Chun Ling, Liu De Hai, Li Min Xiong, Piao Dong Sheng, Gu Guan Ren, Min Hui Fen, Zhao Song Ting, Zhou Yuan Jia, Wang Zhong Shan, Hu Zhi Hou, Zhu Chang Yao, Zhu Feng Bo, Zheng Xu Lan, Wu Bi Xia and Zhan Yong Ming.
In the last 40 years, with the support of the public and the National Arts Council, the orchestra has contributed significantly to the development and popularity of Chinese traditional music in Singapore. It will continue to present the many facets of Chinese traditional music to music lovers in Singapore and to raise the level of such music in the country.