Singapore National Youth Orchestra

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The Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) occupies a special place in Singapore’s music community having produced a strong alumni contributing significantly to seeding the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and other community orchestras in Singapore as well as teaching the next generation of budding musicians thereby boosting Singapore’s music and cultural scene.

The SNYO is recognised by the Ministry of Education as a National Project of Excellence and a key development programme for talented young musicians. Since 1 January 2016, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has assumed management and operational responsibility for the SNYO, taking over the reins from the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Currently led by Principal Conductor Dr Leonard Tan, the SNYO is made up of over 200 talented young musicians between the ages of 10 and 21 representing more than 50 schools across Singapore. Entry into the SNYO is by a rigorous audition process. Members studying in mainstream secondary schools will have their participation in the SNYO recognised in lieu of a school-based Co-Curricular Activity (CCA).

The SNYO aims to focus on developing the most talented classical musicians and building a vibrant music community for Singapore. The SNYO hopes its future graduates will

excel at the technical playing of their instrument, hone their sense of artistic expression, develop strong character, and develop a lifelong love for music.


The orchestra's predecessor was a pre-war youth orchestra led by Glanffrwd Williams, who was appointed by the British administration to run the school's music programme here.

In 1965 it came under the wings of Paul Abisheganaden. During the '70s it came under the auspices of the Young Musicians Society and Vivien Goh's father, Goh Soon Tioe, a private music teacher, conducted it until 1975 when he stepped down for medical reasons. The orchestra was without a conductor until 1979 when it was housed at the Centre for Musical Activities (now Centre for the Arts) of the then University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore).

In 1980, the Ministry of Education (MOE) formally took over the management of the group. It sought to build the Singapore Youth Orchestra into a national youth orchestra and recognized it officially as an extra-curricular activity for students who are members. Professionally trained musicians (from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and graduates of music conservatories) give one-on-one fully subsidized coaching for most of the student musicians (the exceptions are those who choose to have their own tutors) and they also help conduct sectional rehearsals.

In 2002 (?), the orchestra was renamed as the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.

Conductors of SYO and SNYO[edit]

  • 1980 - 1990 Vivien Goh as Music Director/Resident Conductor
  • 1990 - 2002 Lim Yau as Music Director
  • 2002 - 2004 Robert Casteels as Music Director/Resident Conductor
  • 2005 - 2010 Lim Soon Lee as Music Director
  • 2010 - 2012 Darrell Ang as Music Director
  • 2010 - 2014 Tan Wee Hsin as Resident Conductor
  • 2014 - Leonard Tan as Principal Conductor
  • 2016 - Lin Juan as Assistant Conductor


  • 1982 Rome, Italy
  • 1985 Lancashire, UK
  • 1988 Perth, Australia
  • 1993 Kumamoto, Japan
  • 1997 Sydney, Australia
  • 2001 Aberdeen, Scotland
  • 2005 Vienna, Austria
  • 2008 Florence, Italy
  • 2011 Aberdeen, Scotland
  • 2012 Berlin, Germany

See also[edit]

External links[edit]