I went out for pasta with Owen Torr, a young Australian harpist who’s almost at the end of a five month contract with SSO, and looking forward to going home. He had some frank views on the management and playing of the orchestra and seemed to enjoy being able to have a whinge about them to a sympathetic listener.
In the afternoon I met Tay Tong, MD of Theatreworks. I asked him about how his company had developed audiences for contemporary theatre. He said they had a core audience of around 5,000 in Singapore, but that he recognised that more needed to be done to attract audiences to the arts generally. To this end, he was working with some other arts companies to identify the specific needs and to work with the National Arts Council on developing and funding strategies.
In the evening I caught a taxi to the delightful grounds of the Swiss Club, set in jungle near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, for dinner with Anita and her husband Gion. They both teach at the Swiss School (he is the Principal), and were charming and delightful company.
They own a house in Hobart and attend TSO concerts whenever they are in town, around four times per year. We discussed my experiences and thoughts on the SSO and they concurred wholeheartedly with my conclusions. The club itself is pure colonial fantasy – white-jacketed waiting staff, ceiling fans, open windows, elegant company, the works. A welcome change from the craziness of the hawker stalls I’ve been eating in for the last couple of weeks.