I used to be a conductor. Now I’m a delivery driver

I used to be a conductor. Now I’m a delivery driver


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2021

The Singapore conductor Chiya Amos had a bright start to his career in St Petersburg.

Now he’s doing food deliveries back home. Amos, 30, explains where it all went belly-up.

I returned in December, and despite applying for more than 40 jobs, including sales, management, and academic positions, I received rejections from every single one of them. 

As I have been overseas for many years, I was also ineligible for any government relief schemes in Singapore.

Facing financial instability, I found myself feeling depressed and anxious. I was constantly feeling frustrated and dejected.

Wanting to do something more useful, I applied to deliver food for Foodpanda, and have been doing so since January.

Working eight to 10 hour shifts four to five times a week is extremely tiring and can be dangerous as we rush between deliveries, especially during the rainy days as we work rain or shine.

It has been only two months, but I have sprained both ankles and a wrist in a couple of small accidents on my second-hand kick scooter, as I did not have a budget for a bicycle….

Read more here.


  • anon says:

    Conducting is not exactly a transferable skill set.

  • Player says:

    “He always delivered the goods”

  • Paul Dawson says:

    I’ll willingly buy him a bicycle, if I can be directed to a fraud-free method of doing so.

  • DAVID says:

    The entire field is both saturated and slowly dwindling. There just aren’t enough opportunities — only for a select few. Even then, luck and a business mindset will play an important role, and to expect fairness is to misunderstand how the field actually works. Any aspiring musician nowadays must have a Plan B and assume that a career in music is at best a very tenuous proposition. In most cases, it will not be financially nor personally viable.

  • caranome says:

    As he said, “Wanting to do something more useful, I applied to deliver food for Foodpanda.” Covid 19 has painfully exposed the hierarchy of needs and jobs: food at top and music conductor at bottom. You can’t eat a beautiful aria. As if that’s not bad enough, this poor man specializes in opera and ballet! Talk about narrowing yourself to the tiniest niche possible. I’m glad he’s trying to put a possible spin on this painful lesson.

    • John Borstlap says:

      “You can’t eat a beautiful aria.” There is the story of Callas quarrelling with an Italian conductor in Luzia di Lammermoor during a rehearsel, when she ate the music sheets of her aria on the spot in protest.

  • Anon says:

    No great loss. There are too many “aspiring” / “young” conductors.

  • RW2013 says:

    We can only hope that many more conductors follow this admirable example.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    “I’m not a cab driver, I’m a coffee pot”.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    “My son is a successful conductor in London”
    ” Wonderful, which restaurant does he work at?”

  • Not an unusual outcome for someone with a music performance degree.

  • Tribonian says:

    I would encourage everyone to read the full interview. I have never heard Mr Amos conduct and have no idea of his ability as a performer, but his interview shows him to be an admirably resilient and down to earth person who is making the best of an unprecedented situation.

  • Sharon says:

    If he wants to help people, I would suggest something in health care. Nurse aide or home carer is less than six months training part time and a vocational or practical nurse is a year’s training full time or two years training part time but he can continue to do food delivery part time while he is studying. This training can be done fairly cheaply, probably for less than the cost of a decent motor bike. Once licensed he can do this health work through temporary employment agencies and work around his conducting gigs. There is probably less competition for this work than delivery work. From the way that he is writing I am sure that he will enjoy it.