‘Beethoven im Garten’ is back!

Concert Beethoven im Garten

Concert “Beethoven im Garten”, © German Embassy Singapore

17.03.2022 - Press release

First full orchestral symphonic concert outdoors since the pandemic to revive international cultural exchange with Germany.

After a hiatus of two years and with a refreshed set-up, the popular Singaporean-German concert series Beethoven im Garten is poised to return to the Singapore Botanic Gardens with new features.

For the first time, guest musicians from the Dresden Philharmonic and its affiliate Kurt Masur Academy will join the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra for the first full orchestral performance with international participation since the pandemic began.

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, he has also been appointed the Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic in 2021.

The Beethoven im Garten concert will take place at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 26 March (6:00pm) 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: Livestream on Facebook as well as via the YouTube channel of the Yong-Siew-Toh Conservatory: Livestream on YouTube.

The event is ticketed, but admission is free. Please note that all tickets are sold out by now.

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 27th March at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.

“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,” rejoices Kahchun Wong. “I wish that our collaboration will be the first in many more international exchanges for the cultural sector. I am grateful to our wonderful partners, above all the German Embassy Singapore, for their continuous support in my dream of giving back to my home.

Dr Norbert Riedel, German Ambassador to Singapore, explains: ”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 revitalize our people-to-people exchange and bring back ‘Beethoven im Garten’.

Music is essential food for the soul. It enriches our lives, nourishes our minds and moves our spirit. I am grateful for the support of the German-Singaporean business community which has made this cultural exchange possible as well as the commitment of all artists involved.

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. See you on the 26th!“

Ms Goh Swee Chen, Chairman of the National Arts Council, says, ”This edition of ‘Beethoven im Garten’ held at the heart of the first tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List embodies our aspirations in connecting communities and spreading joy through the 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. We are delighted that creativity can transform places, inspire people, and that the performing arts can bring the world together through shared experiences. We look forward to more of such cultural events for all to enjoy.“

Michael Tay, Founding Director of the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise explains, ”Beethoven im Garten’ has grown from a one-off event into a true two-way cultural exchange, which fits wonderfully into the Foundation’s intentions to help grow Singapore’s next generation of musicians for the international stage.“

Ms Frauke Roth, CEO of Dresden Philharmonic, looks forward to the week in Singapore ”As we prepare ourselves for a life in which we have learnt to live with Covid, we also 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. It is the young generation that has been particularly affected by the pandemic and I am confident that we can take the project to new heights via additional exchange opportunities.“

‘Beethoven im Garten’ 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.

We are pleased to welcome three new Gold sponsors Audi, BASF and BMW whose contribution will enable the 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. Capitalland, DZ Bank, Infineon, LBBW, Melchers, MunichRe, Siemens, Swissotel Merchant Court and TÜV SÜD also contribute as sponsors to the implementation of this first major outdoor concert since the pandemic.

For further enquiries, please contact the press section of the German Embassy Singapore:

E-mail: christabel.fernandez@diplo.de and heinrich.hubbe@diplo.de
Telephone: +65-6231-0835 Mobile: +65-8661-4667

Photos of event etc. can be provided upon request.

Concert Details:

Saturday, 26 March 2022, 6.00 pm (Duration 45 min)
Shaw Foundation Stage, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Featuring musicians from the Dresden Philharmonic and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra
Conducted by Kahchun Wong

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4
Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, movement IV

Tickets at SISTIC https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/beethovenig0322. (Opens 15 March)

Chamber Concert:

Sunday, 27 March 2022, 5.00 pm
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Concert Hall
Featuring principal musicians from the Dresden Philharmonic’s Collenbusch Quartet and Clarinettist Daniel Hochstöger

Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A Major. KV 581
Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No 1 in D Major, Op 11

Tickets at Eventbrite eventbrite.sg (Opens 15 March)

Background on Beethoven im Garten

The open-air-concerts at Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site kicked-off in 2018 as a yearly Singaporean-German friendship event established by Maestro Kahchun Wong and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Singapore. Musicians from both countries engage in a musical and cultural dialogue to support emerging professional musicians in Singapore, playing side by side for an audience, many of whom are enjoying classical music for the first time. Students from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory get a taste of what it is like to play alongside top German orchestra players – akin to playing in the Bundesliga.

After two live and one digital edition, the project returns stronger than ever in 2022.

The Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise is a strategic partner of ‘Beethoven im Garten’ (German for ‘Beethoven in the garden’) as the series aligns with its overarching goal of promoting Singapore as a global arts hub and transforming Singapore from a First World Economy to a First World Society.

Kahchun Wong

Kahchun Wong is the Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic. He first came to international attention as the winner of the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2016, and regularly collaborates with distinguished orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Osaka Philharmonic, China Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony.

In 2021, Wong made his conducting debut with the Dresden Philharmonic, and has been re-invited to lead the orchestra again in 2022 for the Dresden Music Festival. As one of the last students of the late German conducting legend Kurt Masur, whose name bears the Philharmonic’s orchestra academy, Wong is linked via a special bond with Dresden Philharmonic.

In December 2019, Wong became the youngest Singaporean and the first artist from Singapore to be conferred the Order of Merit by the Federal President of Germany, for his dedicated service and outstanding achievements in Singaporean-German cultural relations and the advancement of German music culture abroad. In Singapore, Wong is the recipient of the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship (Public Service Commission), Young Artist Award and the Singapore Youth Award. He is a graduate of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and the Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin.

Dresdner Philharmonie – Music for all

This is the ambition of the Dresdner Philharmonie (Dresden Philharmonic) that calls the capital of the Free State of Saxony its home. The orchestra that boasts a history of more than 150 years stands for concerts of the highest artistic level, musical education for every age and looking beyond the musical horizon. Guest performances on almost all continents and cooperation with guests from around the world have anchored the reputation of Dresdner Philharmonie in the international classical world.

The move into its new concert hall ”Kulturpalast“ in 2017 was a stroke of luck for the orchestra, the city and the entire music world. Internationally, the hall is now regarded an insider tipp that has become renowned by her orchestra’s ‘Dresden sound’.

Hardly any other German orchestra is as connected to its audience as the Dresdner Philharmonie. The orchestra also owes this loyalty to the fact that it survived dangerous crises: 1923 in the first major economic crisis after the First World War, 1933 when the Nazis came to power, 1944/45 after the closure of all concert houses and the bombing of the city. And even in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was their audience who upheld the loyalty of the Dresden Philharmonic. The corona pandemic again has put the loyalty of its audience to the test, and here in particular it became clear how important the orchestra is to him.

The Kurt-Masur-Academy

With the Kurt Masur Academy, the Dresdner Philharmonie promotes top international young talent and is giving young musicians the opportunity to develop themselves further.

The Academy is named after the Philharmonic’s late honorary and former chief conductor Kurt Masur. Until his death, Kurt Masur and the Dresdner Philharmonie affiliated a long-standing friendship and musical collaboration.

The Yong-Siew-Toh Conservatory

Inspirational life-affirming music-making is at the heart of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YST Conservatory) at the National University of Singapore. Centered in one of the world’s most dynamic countries, the Conservatory is uniquely placed to offer a distinct and powerful contemporary Asian voice.

Founded in 2003, YST quickly established a reputation as Asia’s most exciting international conservatory by bringing together a world-class faculty and facility to develop excellence in instrumental performance and composition. Building on this strong foundation, the Conservatory has evolved over the past decade to become one of the world’s most distinctive music schools through diversifying its offerings and connecting more authentically with its surrounding community.

On Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Ludwig van Beethoven is the most frequently performed classical composer in the world and one of the most important ambassadors for European culture. His works belong to the cultural heritage of humanity. Interest in his music has remained unabated for centuries and has become a global phenomenon. Beethoven is ubiquitous and perennially modern.

Beethoven created musical universes and seminal works that traverse the limits of human imagination in his day and left a lasting imprint on music history. His music is visionary and reflects European society in a state of upheaval. It thus far transcends its original context and point the way to modernism. His works lend a voice to an unbridled will toward social change, loftiest humanism, freedom of the arts and social utopias, all of which have laid claim to universal valid to the present day.

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