Tsung Yeh – Music Director

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Tsung Yeh joined the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) as Music Director in January 2002. Under his direction, SCO expanded its repertoire with innovative works such as Marco Polo and Princess Blue — A Symphonic Epic, Instant is a Millennium – A Musical Conversation with Tan Swie Hian, The Grandeur of Tang, Thunderstorm, Admiral of the Seven Seas and Awaking. In Awaking, he melded Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu’s plays into one, elevating Chinese orchestral music to a higher level. In 2013, Tsung Yeh was awarded the Cultural Medallion, the highest accolade in the arts. He is also the advisor to the Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra.

As Music Director of Singapore’s National Day Parade 2007, Tsung Yeh conceptualised a symphonic music structure with supreme, textured virtuosity that incensed the national pride in the air. 240 musicians from the SCO, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Armed Forces Central Band, Malay and Indian ensemble, Nanyin ensemble and a chorus performed under his baton before an audience of 27,000 and millions of television viewers. In 2004 and 2014, Tsung Yeh directed two mega orchestra concerts at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub respectively, of which, 2014’s concert of 4,557 musicians broke 2 Guinness World Records and 3 Singapore Book of Records.

Tsung Yeh has brought SCO internationally and developed the special artistic identity of SCO through the orchestra’s sound and texture, comprising of East and West and Nanyang heritage, which is unique to SCO. In March and April 2005, he led the orchestra on a tour to Europe at Barbican Centre in London, The Sage Gateshead and the Budapest Spring Festival. In October 2007, SCO performed at the Beijing Music Festival, China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Macau International Music Festival, as well as at major concert halls in Guangzhou, Zhongshan and Shenzhen. In August 2009, SCO made history by becoming the first Chinese orchestra to perform in the opening week of the Edinburgh Festival. 

Tsung Yeh was the Music Director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra (SBSO) in the United States from 1988 to 2016. In 1995, he was honoured with the ASCAP Award with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Upon his retirement from SBSO, Tsung Yeh was presented the “Sagamore of the Wabash Award” from the Indiana State – the highest honour given by the Indiana Governor, Mike Pence. 7 May 2016 was proclaimed “Tsung Yeh Day” by the Mayor of the South Bend City, Pete Buttigieg. Tsung Yeh is presently designated as the Conductor Laureate by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Association.

As part of the Conductors’ Mentor Programme sponsored by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he worked with Music Director Daniel Barenboim and Principal Guest Conductor Pierre Boulez. Tsung Yeh was formerly the Music Director of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He served as Resident Conductor of Florida Orchestra and was the Principal Guest Conductor of Albany Symphony Orchestra of New York.

Tsung Yeh has collaborated with reputable international orchestras including San Francisco, Tucson and New Haven Symphonies, Calgary and Rochester Philharmonic, and orchestras from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Yokohama, France, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Poland, Russia and Czech Republic. In April 1991, he replaced the indisposed Barenboim at short notice and conducted 3 successful concerts. As a recording artist, Tsung Yeh has made various recordings under the HUGO, Delos and Naxos labels.

Tsung Yeh is a distinguished professor at the China Conservatory of Music and guest professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He has taught conducting workshops hosted by the Conductors Guild, The League of American Orchestras and the Musik Hochschule of Zurich and is also active in conducting masterclasses in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. His new appointments in recent years include the Principal Guest Conductor of the China National Traditional Orchestra, Artistic Committee Member of the Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts and Senior Researcher of the He Luting Chinese Music Research Institute of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.