Leonard Tan (musician)

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Leonard Tan, PhD Leonard Yuh Chaur Tan; is an influential trinational-based, Singaporean music director, conductor, tubist, violinist, and music educator at scholastic, collegiate, conservatory, and professional levels.

Tan was awarded an NIE Music Scholarship to pursue a PhD in music education at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Bloomington.[1] In 2013, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Music at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. He is also the Principal Conductor of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and Music Director of the Philharmonic Winds.

Formal education[edit]

Tan spent his early musical years playing the violin and tuba, and studied harmony with Singaporean composer Leong Yoon Pin (1931–2011). Following music studies at Raffles Junior College – where he studied with Constance Wong – he went on to earn a Licentiate diploma in orchestral tuba (LRSM) from the Royal Schools of Music and a Licentiate diploma in musical theory, criticism, and literature (LMusTCL) from Trinity College London. Prior to teaching and conducting, Tan was an active tubist, performing with ensembles, including the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Opera Orchestra, the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band, the Desford Colliery Band, and the Singapore Stompers (Dixieland Jazz).

Tan's conducting studies included work with:


Tan has directed and mentored musicians at all academic levels – at primary schools, high schools, comprehensive universities, and conservatories. He has been a music director and conductor of several ensembles, including St. Margaret's Secondary School Symphonic Band, CHIJ Concert Band, Catholic High Symphony Band, the National University of Singapore Wind Symphony, Victoria Junior College Symphonic Band, Nanyang Polytechnic Symphonic Band, and Singapore Polytechnic Symphonic Band. In January 2007, Tan was appointed conductor of the Singapore National Youth Sinfonia, a constituent ensemble of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, a National Project of Excellence.


In 1999, Tan was appointed Resident Conductor of St. Margaret's Secondary School Military Band, now known as St. Margaret's Symphonic Band. He watched the band grew from strength of 20-odd members to a full-sized band. After garnering several awards both local and international, his career grew as he took over many bands as Resident Conductor. He was also the conductor of secondary school bands, including Chestnut Drive Secondary School, and CHIJ Toa Payoh.

In addition, other appointments including conductor of the Singapore National Youth Symphonia (formerly the Singapore National Youth Training Orchestra), music director of The Philharmonic Winds, resident conductor of Victoria Junior College, Serangoon Junior College, and Singapore Polytechnic Symphonic Bands, Nanyang Polytechnic Symphony Orchestra, and band conductor of Catholic High School and CHIJ Bands. He was formerly the music director and resident conductor of the National University of Singapore Wind Symphony.

In addition to his conducting engagements, Tan has served as music teacher at the NUS High School of Math and Science, where he taught music theory and history, music theory teacher at the Singapore Armed Forces Bands, lecturer in conducting at the LASALLE College of the Arts and lecturer in band training and direction at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Professional affiliations[edit]

Tan is a member of the College Band Director's National Association, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Music Educator's National Conference, and the Conductors Guild.

Tan has conducted Singapore Symphony Orchestra musicians in a Singapore-Japan Composers Exchange Concert, Singapore National Youth Orchestra musicians in the "Ong Teng Cheong Concert," as well as several performances with the Philharmonic Winds.[2] His conducting repertoire ranges from early classics to such twentieth-century works as Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, and music by Singaporean composers Leong Yoon Pin, Goh Toh Chai, and Kelly Tang. In a production of Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly, he worked with an international cast, choir, and orchestra.

As a tubist, Tan has performed with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Opera Orchestra, Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Desford Colliery Band (UK), Singapore Stompers (Dixieland), Singapore Armed Forces Tuba Quartet and the Regal Brass Quintet. As soloist, he has performed concertos by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edward Gregson, Derek Bourgeois, and music for tuba and electronic tape by Walter B. Ross (born 1936). He conducts brass and tuba clinics and coaches the Singapore National Youth Orchestra Brass Ensemble.


Tan led Victoria Junior College Symphonic Band to a Gold with Honours Award at the 2007 Singapore Youth Festival and a Gold award at the Pacific Basin Music Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2006, the St. Margaret's Symphonic Band to a Gold award at the 2005 Singapore Youth Festival, the CHIJ Concert Band to a Gold award at the 2007 Singapore Youth Festival, as well as a Gold with Distinction award at the 21st Century International Band Competition in Genting Highlands, Malaysia.

Selected discography[edit]

Recorded 5 September 2002, NUS University Cultural Centre Hall
Leonard Tan, conductor, tracks 1 & 2

Selected publications[edit]

Academic & literary criticism


External links[edit]