Singapore has fallen

Singapore has fallen


norman lebrecht

May 08, 2020

The Singapore Symphony has taken the unusual step of issuing an international appeal on its website to save it from insolvency.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Singapore Symphony Orchestra revenue, donation and sponsorships losses of more than S$1.5 million.
Since March, cancellations of concerts in view of public advisories have resulted in a loss of S$450,000 in ticket revenue. The orchestra also had to call off its annual fundraising gala in April, while corporate sponsorships and donations plummeted due to the uncertain economic outlook.
A local appeal was made a month ago. So far, it has raised just $75,000.


  • Arthur says:

    The first of very many.

  • annnon says:

    Puh-lease, Singaore is one of the wealthiest city-states in the world, if neither the government, nor the companies headquartered there, nor its citizens want to rescue their own symphony, then it has no reason to exist.

    To state the obvious, it’s an Asian society, its priority is frankly Asian art forms.

    The preservation of ANY Asian orchestra will do nothing for the preservation of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms. The Germans are perfectly capable of protecting their own culture, danke schön!

    • OnlyHuman says:

      Look at the number of Asian musicians helping you to preserve ‘your Bach and Beethoven’ in Germany! You of such narrow mind is not fit to be a musician let alone an artist. Shame on you…

    • MezzoLover says:

      I do agree with your first point, with sadness.

      If the Singapore government, under Lee Kuan Yew in the 1990s, considered it necessary as part of its “blueprint for cultural policy” to spend 600 million SGD to build the Esplanade, then it is certainly incumbent upon the current government, under the former leader’s son, to save the SSO without which the glamorous concert hall means nothing.

      It is interesting to note that, as early as 2013 and only 11 years after its official opening, the Esplanade already incurred a loss. This loss was despite the Esplanade racking up relatively similar numbers in terms of audience attendance and activities from the previous year and was attributed primarily to the drop in sponsorship and donations.

    • Concerned human says:

      If Bach, Beethoven and Brahms are to be preserved by Germans only, would you kindly explain what the Gate of Ishtar is doing in Berlin?

    • Toni says:

      Except some of the best world’s instrumentalists nowdays come from Asia.

  • Sad singaporean says:

    In the meantime, the not-so-transparent Singapore International Violin Competition will be held in 2021 with “ Over USD110,000 in prizes will be awarded “

    They need to get their priorities right.

  • Robert says:

    SlippedDisc is becoming worse than a British tabloid

    • Eric says:

      And still you are here not only reading but also commenting…
      What does it tell us about you?

  • Peter says:

    Is it correct to say that SSO is a Singapore Government-funded organisation, albeit through a structure involving self-managed endowment funds which give them a degree of financial autonomy in the first instance ? If so then presumably the government will decide on SSO’s funding, but the management are trying to raise funds from donors as a first step. Knowing it’s government holds the cheque book may mean that most Singaporean’s don’t have an urge to put their hands in their pockets.

    • Larry says:

      Well… they are state funded, i guess? N judging from the below post… they have deep pockets so i am not sure why they make it sound so desparate.

  • Sharon says:

    I am not familiar with the Singapore orchestra’s particular situation but I do know that Covid will change the performing arts world forever.

    Virtual streaming of live performances with performers in different locations is becoming a new art form which I believe is here to stay because it is cheaper. As performing arts organizations become more technologically proficient at this we will see much more of it.

    Then there will be a MANY performing arts organizations folding or merging. Economists and politicians might say that this “short term” unemployment will make the performing arts economy more “efficient” but for those affected it will cause great hardship.

    I believe that every human life is of infinite value and worth and that we should not permit economic anxiety to affect decisions to “open up “. These decisions should be based only on epidemiologic, scientific criteria.

    However I am very frightened even though my own (psychiatric) nursing job is secure. When the economy opens many will still find themselves unemployed for a long time because so many businesses, organizations, and agencies are going under.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Sharon writes: “I believe that every human life is of infinite value…”

      No government agrees with you. They all have some value for each life (or injury) that they use when deciding on such things as how much to spend on road safety. Or how much to spend on a new medicine.

  • Ken says:

    Do music people not know how to read numbers

    They have enough reserves to last for a while.. 90million in the coffers

    Music is inherently expensive so if you think you want to keep it alive, put your money there… let’s not quibble. It is a personal choice on how to spend your money, no one is holier than the other.