Brass Explosion! 2012
31 May-4 Jun
Hosted by the Singapore Brass Society, this fête is now in its third year, making it the youngest of this month’s bunch, and with over 300 performers is touted as Asia’s biggest brass music festival. As to whether three festivals in such a short time is a good idea, festival director David Smith thinks there’s never too much of a good thing: ‘We all complement each other, as during this time people are switched on to going to concerts. However, Brass Explosion! offers a different genre, and we hope that all brass musicians and the public in Singapore will get something out of our festival.’
True to the brass instruments’ ability to raise decibel levels at symphonic concerts one moment, and switch gear to swinging blues and jazz tunes the next, this festival also offers the most varied and extensive programming of the three. There’s a star brass band (the UK’s Desford Colliery Band, performing in a gala concert with 100 international students: 4 Jun, 7pm, Conservatory Concert Hall, $20-$50); classical virtuosos (members of the Berlin Philharmonic Stephen Dohr and Sarah Willis: 1 Jun, 7pm, Conservatory Concert Hall, $40-$100); student bands, competitions and masterclasses; plus free late-night sessions at Sultan Jazz Club and outdoor concerts around Marina Bay Sands.
See www.brassexplosion.com for more; all tickets available through Sistic.
Singapore International Acoustic Guitar Festival 2012
Now in its tenth year, this event from Tomas Music Consultants centres on an all-ages, all-styles acoustic guitar competition (with $50,000 worth of prizes), with the semi-final (20 Jun, 10am, $20) and final rounds (24 Jun, 2pm, $20-$30), as well as special masterclasses, being held at the RELC International Hotel Auditorium. Virtuoso concerts will be held from 20-24 Jun, with festival director Thomas Liauw highlighting the self-taught jazz stylings of Briton Martin Taylor (20 Jun, 7.30pm, $35-$65), who has been appointed MBE by the Queen for his services to jazz music over his five-decade career; and Grammy-nominated, presidentially appointed Ambassador of Mexican Music, Paco Renteria (22 Jun, 7.30pm, $25-$55), who employs an unusual percussive flamenco technique.
All tickets available through Sistic.
19th Singapore International Piano Festival
28 Jun-1 Jul
The highest-profile festival of the month is the SSO’s pianistic event at the SOTA Concert Hall, this year entitled ‘Fantasies in Sound’ and featuring a programme of sonatas and fantasias. ‘I think each festival has its own niche audience,’ says festival director Lionel Choi. ‘It’s great that there is so much concert activity in Singapore, to the point that we can carve out actual festivals dedicated to specific instruments, and I think it enriches our artistic and cultural landscape here tremendously. We are a purely classical music festival, though, and I would venture to say that, among classical music instruments, the piano takes pride of place as being the most popular.’
Heading the bill of ivory-tinklers is Stephen Hough (1 Jul, 8pm, $28-$80), an internationally renowned virtuoso and a regular concerto performer with the SSO. Choi is also enthusiastic about continuing the festival’s success in showcasing rising talents (often not yet internationally known), naming young South African pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar (30 Jun, 8pm, $28-$60) as one to keep an eye out for. ‘I am personally quite excited about unearthing little-known or up-and-coming artists of world-class talent at our piano festival, and giving them a platform to perform solo recitals in Singapore next to established professionals,’ Choi says. ‘The festival has had a fantastic track record of impressive debuts – such as Yuja Wang and Benjamin Grosvenor in 2010, and Shai Wosner and Nareh Arghamanyan in 2011 – so it does strive to say, “You heard it here first!”’
See www.pianofestival.com.sg for more; all tickets available through Sistic.