On Jan 18, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was guest of honour. Led by Music Director Lan Shui, the SSO performed Dayong Sampan Overture – the first local work played by the orchestra in 1980. The rousing piece was composed by the late Leong Yoon Pin. Singaporean pianist Lim Yan also performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 as part of the programme.

In his message for the concert programme, Prime Minister Lee said: “Forty years on, the SSO is a fixture in our cultural firmament. When it performs to standing ovations and critical acclaim in major venues like the BBC Proms, the Berlin Philharmonie and the Prague Spring Festival, it is cause for pride and celebration. The SSO continues to bring joy to Singaporeans from all walks of life, making sure that its music is not just enjoyed by a select few.”

Singapore Symphony Group chairman Goh Yew Lin also took to the stage to thank SSO founding patron Dr Goh Keng Swee and his pioneering team for their time, effort and passion in building the orchestra; as well as Lan Shui, who will be ending his 22-year tenure as Music Director.