Festival 2018

Sounding Now: A Festival of Contemporary Musical Practices

Sounding Now is a festival of contemporary music that brings together divergent practices – composition, electronic music, installation, and improvisation – with the goal of connecting people of different artistic communities – both listeners and practitioners – in order to explore the ways their shared interests intersect.

hand werk of Cologne, Germany will be the resident ensemble. The festival will also feature performances by Singapore-based contemporary music ensembles SETTS, Wu Xian, and OpusNovus as well as YSS, an experimental improvisation trio from Kuala Lumpur. Prof. Amnon Wolman, Professor of Composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, will be composer-in-residence.

Learn more about the participating artists here.

The festival takes place from 18-22 April 2018 and is presented by Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in collaboration with LASALLE College of the Arts.

These events are sponsored by the following institutions.

YST Logo Inline Right_on white   GI_Logo_horizontal_green_sRGB 2



Lasalle Logo_Sch of Contemporary Music-09


YONG SIEW TOH CONSERVATORY (YST), 3 Conservatory Dr, Singapore 117376

LASALLE College of the Arts, 1 McNally St, Singapore 187940


Visit YST throughout the festival to experience a set of audio-video installations. These run at all times during the festival.

@ the YST Café

Amnon Wolman
Slow, Proceed with Caution
Compulsory Ahead Only

@ the Carpark Lift Lobby

Peter Ivan Edwards
From Selegie Down Serangoon

Generation Next

Wednesday, 18 April @ YST, Concert Hall, 12:10pm


The opening concert features works by Yong Siew Toh student composers on YST’s weekly noon recital. It will be an exciting concert of world premieres with compositions are written especially for the resident ensemble, hand werk.

performed by
hand werk (Cologne, Germany)


Ilysia Tan Jiayng (B.Mus1)
Movements within still body (2018) for flute, cello and piano 

Noah Gabriel Juliano Diggs (B.Mus3)
Noah Handwerk Title
 (Drama Two) After Plato’s “Phaedrus” (2018) for flute, clarinet in Bb, percussion and piano

Christopher Sim Mao Sheng (B.Mus1)
The Knight and The Dragon (2018) for narrator, flute, clarinet in Bb, tam-tam, violin, and cello.

Lim Chae Hyun (B.Mus1)
Cyclovolution (2018) for clarinet in Bb, percussion, cello, and piano

Christopher Johann Clarke Shirui (M.Mus1)
Music in an Attempt to write gesturally about a few Found Objects (2018) for clarinet in Bb, violin, and piano

Christine Tandinata (B.Mus3)
In Midst of Haste (2018) for flute, clarinet in Bb, percussion, violin, and cello 


Friday, 20 April @ LASALLE, Flexible space, 8pm

A joint venture of YST and LASALLE, this concert brings together contemporary classics like Pierre Boulez’s Derive 1 for 6 instruments, free improvisation, sound painting, electronic music, and performances of Singapore-based composers Adeline Wong and Martin Jaggi. It’s a tasting flight of the richness found in the world of contemporary musical practice presented jointly by students and faculty from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and LASALLE College of the Arts along with YSS, an experimental improvisation trio from Kuala Lumpur and members of Wu Xian.


improvisations by
Tim O’Dwyer
Dirk Stromberg
Brian O’Reilly
YST students

performances by OpusNovus and Wu Xian

Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Dérive 1 (1984) for six instruments

Adeline Wong (*1975)
Interweaves (2016, rev. 2017) for string quartet

Martin Jaggi (*1978)
Kôrd I (2017) for solo viola

Amnon Wolman: What I think about when I think about composing

Saturday, 21 April @ YST, Recital Studio, 3:00pm


Composer-in-residence for the 2018 Sounding Now Festival, Amnon Wolman talks about his music and musical interests. This presentation will also feature the world premiere of Wolman’s For J performed by pianist Jongah Yoon.

Wolman on his presentation

The act of composing music is at once a logical activity and an illogical and emotional one. It is based on many decisions that are taken either consciously or unconsciously, and to my mind a composer needs to question those decisions, and continuously resubmit them to scrutiny.  The role of composers in society, their relations to an imaginary audience and a concrete group of performers are the ones that have been the focus of my recent work. But these imply additional specific questions such is how do I, the composer, hear music? what is beautiful or maybe pleasurable for me to write? and how do I think of an imaginary group of people who will interact with the music?  Finally, I’ve been excavating the issues of power and distribution of power of time and space; this both in social terms such as the relation between the composer and the performers, and in terms of charged and energy-full parts of specific sounds. It is this process that allows me to see to what extent my compositional process is influenced by decisions that I was not aware that I was making at all. For example, it was a revelation when I discovered that the loudspeaker is an instrument of power that also represents power. It can talk to you, but you cannot talk back to it, nor turn its volume down, in order to do that you need a third party with whom the interaction would be a social interaction and not a musical one.


Saturday, 21 April @ YST, Orchestra Hall, 7:30pm

Handwerk Profile Picture

An eclectic programme of music featuring a work for 6 players in handcuffs written by composer-in-residence Amnon Wolman. The concert will also feature a screening of Screaming into Space on the Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) who wrote the final work on the program – Grand Duet (1959) for cello and piano – dedicated to the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

performed by
hand werk (Cologne, Germany)
Wu Xian (Singapore)


Amnon Wolman (*1955)
No U Turn (1993) for 6 players in handcuffs

Helmut Oehring (*1961)
Leuchter (1994) for flute, cello, and piano


Screaming into Space: A documentary on Galina Ustvolskaya (2005)


Galina Ustvolskaya (1919 – 2006)
Grand Duet (1959) for cello and piano


Saturday, 21 April @ YST FOYER, 9:30pm


A 60-minute immersive improvisation with a collection of the best experimental improvisers from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the expansive foyer of the YST conservatory.

performed by
Dirk Stromberg, electronics (LASALLE College of the Arts)
Brian O’Reilly, bass and electronics (LASALLE College of the Arts)
Tim O’Dwyer, saxophone (LASALLE College of the Arts)
Kok Siew-wai, voice (YSS)
Yang Yandsen, saxophone (YSS)
Sudarshan Chandra Kumar, electronics (YSS)
Bani Haykal, electronics
Yuen Chee Wai, guitar (The Observatory)
Christy Smith, bass
Martin Jaggi, electric cello (YSTCM)
Ty Constant, percussion (YSTCM)
Zachary Bond, bass trombone (YSTCM)
Max Riefer, percussion (YSTCM & UiTM)


Pre-concert conversation
Sunday, 22 April @ YST, Recital Studio, 2:15pm

Christoph Wichert, moderator
Prof. Jonas Baes, Dr. Chen Zhangyi, Dr. Nick Omiccioli, participants

Sunday, 22 April @ YST, Orchestra Hall, 3pm

SETTS - Profile Picture

A concert dedicated to works by composers based in Southeast Asia, illustrating the diverse cultural and cross-cultural fertilizations that are abundant in our region.

performed by
SETTS (Southeastern Ensemble for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Sounds)

Roberto Alvarez, flute
Joost Flach, oboe
Colin Tan, clarinet
Christoph Wichert, bassoon
Alan Kartik, horn


Jonas Baes (*1961)
Patangis-Buwaya (…and the crocodile weeps…) (2003) for four wind instruments

Nick Omiccioli (*1982)
Insights (2009) for solo bassoon

Chen Zhangyi (*1984)
Suite from Pursuant for woodwind quintet
i. Prelude to train scene: Dream Scan
ii. Welcome to your Future

Chong Kee Yong (*1971)
Endless Echo from the Ancient Land (2014) for alto flute, 4 wine glasses, and pre-recorded sounds

Yii Kah Hoe (*1970)
Equatorial Rainforest (2011) for woodwind quintet


Sunday, 22 April @ YST, Orchestra Hall, 5pm


The closing concert for the Sounding Now 2018 Festival pushes the performers beyond their familiar boundaries. There is a lot of percussion music on this concert, often performed by non-percussionists. Huber’s Clash Music is for multiple crash cymbals; De Mey’s Musique de Table is for amplified table; Masahiro Miwa’s 4 Bits Counters is for boomwhackers hit again performers’ heads. Members of hand werk, residence ensemble of the festival, and OpusNovus, the student contemporary music ensemble at YST, team up to perform this eclectic collection of works. The concert also features OpusNovus performing George Benjamin’s contemporary classic At First Light, one of Benjamin’s early works that brought him international renown in his early 20s.

performed by
hand werk
(Cologne, Germany)
OpusNovus (Singapore)

Chen Zhangyiconductor


Nicolas A. Huber (*1939)
Clash Music for crash cymbals

Marta Gentilucci (*1973)
(un)j…ing for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and percussion

Thierry de Mey (*1956)
Musique de Table for 3 players

Peter Ivan Edwards (*1973)
piarinutonello for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion


Carola Bauckholt (*1959)
Geräusche for 2 players

Masahiro Miwa (*1958)
4 Bits Counters for 4 players

Jessie Marino (*1984)
Robot dog goes to… (2013/2016) for 2 performers

Niklas Seidl (*1983)
ich mag Müll (I like garbage) (2012) for piccolo and cardboard boxes

Carola Bauckholt (*1959)
Geräusche for 2 players

George Benjamin (*1960)
At First Light for large ensemble

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