Singapore Arts Festival 2003 Presents Singapore Chinese Orchestra


Instant is a Millennium – A Musical Conversation with Tan Swie Hian

Festival Gala Performance and World Premiere



 30 & 31 May 2003 




 Esplanade Theatre


 $62, $52, $42, $32, $22, $16


 90 minutes (no intermission)


Pre-Show Dialogue on 31 May, 6.30 pm, library@esplanade


Sponsored by OCBC Bank

Literary, musical, visual and multimedia arts, as well as philosophical reflections, collide in this unique concert which kicks off the Singapore Arts Festival 2003.


Put together by the multi-disciplinary artist and writer Tan Swie Hian and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) under the baton of its charismatic music director, Maestro Tsung Yeh, the concert will present a new realm of the arts as music, art and literature come together. The evocative powers of music and multimedia aim to render new perspectives into Tan’s poems and fables, paintings, sculptures, calligraphy and Buddhist philosophies.


The concert opens with The Celestial Web, from a poem Tan wrote specially for the concert. With music by local composer Law Wai Lun, the work aims to embody the precepts of interconnectedness of all beings. Local stage actors Xia Chuan and Leanne Wong recite the poem and are backed by a 188-strong chorus.


The concert continues with Four Tone Poems on Fables. Based on Tan’s four fables, the score was composed and re-arranged by noted local composer Phoon Yew Tien. Percussionist Shen Guo Qin and erhu player Zhao Jian Hua are featured alongside four of Tan’s watercolour paintings depicting the fables The Seedling MessageTo Treasure All, Sound Warning and Crazy Worshipping.


The third piece, A Thousand Sweeps, written by award winning Hong Kong composer Law Wing Fai, features a pipa solo performed by Yu Jia. Tan’s sculpture, Bamboo Shoot, and his quick-brush ink paintings of bamboo will be projected onto the cyclorama of the stage to mirror the expressive characteristics of the pipa.


The fourth piece, Divine Melody, is a woodwind concerto written by Qu Xiao Song, featuring dizisoloist Yin Zhi Yang. Tan’s creation of an oil painting will be re-constructed through Production Director Casey Lim’s digital art form. Every brush, stroke, colour and movement is re-enacted onstage, all choreographed to Divine Melody.


The grand finale of the concert is The Yellow River at HukouIn the Metre of Qin Yuan Chun, a poem Tan wrote specially for the concert and composed by Law Wing-Fai. The poem and music draws out the various states of the turbulence and tranquility of the water in the Yellow River at Hukou. Tan will also execute a calligraphy work of the poem on a 12-feet long paper onstage.


The first Singaporean to be conferred the prestigious Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum, Tan also designed the costumes and sets for the concert. It will indeed be a concert that is both an aural and exciting visual treat.



  • Annex 1 – Programme
  • Annex 2 – Poems And Fables by Tan Swie Hian
  • Annex 3 – Profile of Tan Swie Hian
  • Annex 4 – Profile of Tsung Yeh and SCO
  • Annex 5 – Profile of Composers
  • Annex 6 – Key Production Crew and Other Performers