Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme by interdisciplinary artist Song-Ming Ang opens from 8 October to 8 November 2020 at the National Museum of Singapore. Commissioned by Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC) for the Singapore Pavilion at one of the world’s most prestigious art institutions, the Venice Biennale show returns to Singapore with a total of nine physical works for local audiences to experience for the first time, along with digital programmes and more.

Exhibition Details


Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme


Song-Ming Ang


Michelle Ho




8 October  - 8 November 2020


Daily from 10am to 7pm


National Museum of Singapore

Basement Exhibition Gallery

93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897


Recorder Sculptures (2019), Image Credit: Song-Ming Ang

About the Return Show

The presentation extends Ang’s practice of using music as a platform to explore ideas of public involvement, and the myriad ways people relate to music, both individually and collectively. Working across a wide variety of formats, Ang often develops participatory processes whose outcome generate knowledge in unexpected ways. Titled Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme, Ang’s presentation takes inspiration from Music For Everyone, a series of concerts organised by Singapore’s then-Ministry of Culture in the 1970s and 80s to encourage public appreciation of the arts.


A major component of the presentation is Recorder Rewrite, a work based on the recorder, a music instrument that has been part of Singapore’s music education in schools since the 1970s. Central to Ang’s vision that art can be created by anyone, the three-channel film installation features children from different cultural and musical backgrounds performing a composition of their own, following a two-day workshop on improvisation exercises and unconventional uses of the recorder.


The presentation also includes Recorder Sculptures, in which Ang disassembled various recorders into their three sections of head joint, barrel and foot joint, and then rearranged them into distinct forms that demonstrate the potential of art to be whimsical and free flowing.


The homecoming show, which drew crowds in tens of thousands since its opening in Venice, will see three new physical works being presented together for the first time in the expanded site at the National Museum of Singapore. These works are an extension of Ang’s egalitarian vision of Music for Everyone, engaging thoughtfully with the structures and contexts of music-making and how greater dialogue can emerge from the universal language of music. Approached as a “remix” of the original presentation, the three works combined reveal the collaborative process of music and art-making, communication through music, and ways of co-creation with the public that bring forth a more empathetic connection in the experience of art. 


Apart from viewing the show at the National Museum of Singapore, NAC has also commissioned a host of digital public programmes that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. This includes a special performative lecture by Ang himself, as he delves into the expanded range of artistic and musical influences for Recorder Rewrite, from musique concrète to postmodern dance. A panel discussion featuring visionaries and past participants of the Venice Biennale such as the likes of Young Artist Award recipient Ho Tzu Nyen and Singapore-based Ute Meta Bauer will also be held during this time, looking back at a decade of the Venice Biennale. This is an opportunity for audiences in Singapore and beyond to learn more about Singapore’s lesser-known music appreciation history through a contemporary lens, while understanding the evolution of our local visual arts scene from the comfort of their own homes.Interested public can also sign up for guided curator and exhibition tours.



Exhibition Programmes


1. On-site Curator / Exhibition tours  


Friends of the Museum (FOM)  Docent Tours 

Two tours per day on every Wednesday and Friday 

14, 16, 21, 23, 28 & 30 October

4 & 6 November


For FOM tours please sign up via this link.


Curator Tour by Michelle Ho

Date: 17 October 2020

For Curator Tour , please sign up via this link.

2. Online Recorder Tutorials


Learn how to play the recorder in fun ways with recorder instructor Sarah Jeffrey through three sessions. She will show you the sounds created in music compositions from the Music For Everyone: Variations on a Theme exhibition.  Follow her through this journey of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced tutorials. By the end of the videos, you will be able to create your very own special composition.



Date: Launch of first video from 17 October 2020.


3. Online Panel Discussion: The Singapore Pavilion in Venice Biennale: 2009 - 2019


This session comprises past artists and curators who have presented at the Singapore Pavilion in Venice Biennale reflecting on their experiences. Featuring Ming Wong, Ho Tzu Nyen, Shabbir Mustafa, Ute Meta Bauer, Michelle Ho among other speakers, this dialogue will touch on the notions of national representation and how the issues and strategies of contemporary art-making have shifted and evolved over the past decade. 


[Update] This programme will no longer be taking place. Follow us on our Facebook and Instagram for details on the other programmes accompanying the exhibition.


Performative Lecture by Song-Ming Ang


Blurring the boundaries between performative lecture, artist talk, DJ set and music review, Song-Ming Ang delves into his artistic and musical influences for his video installation Recorder Rewrite, ranging from musique concrète to postmodern dance.



Date: 31 October 2020



More details to be announced closer to date.


5. Online panel Discussion: Music For Everyone: A History


This session explores the history of programming music for the nation, drawing connections between the original Ministry of Culture's Music For Everyone concert series to Song-Ming Ang's presentation, and the state of the arts (music) today. 



Date: 7 November 2020



More details to be announced closer to date.



Music for Everyone (2019), Image Credit: Renée Ting

About the Singapore Pavilion in Venice

The Singapore Pavilion is a 250 sqm space in a complex of buildings called the Sale d’Armi, which is centrally located and easily accessible within the Arsenale, a key site in Venice. The Sale d’Armi complex is a cluster of four 16th century barracks built with brick and stone, each with a wooden roof. It lies opposite the intersection between the long Corderie and Artiglierie buildings, where the main central square of the Arsenale is situated. 

History of Singapore’s Participation






58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Song-Ming Ang

Michelle Ho

57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Zai Kuning


56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Charles Lim

Shabbir Hussain Mustafa

54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Ho Tzu Nyen

June Yap

53th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Ming Wong

Tang Fu Kuen

52th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Zulkifle Mahmod, Jason Lim, Vincent Leow, Da Wu Tang

Lindy Poh

51th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Lim Tzay Chuen 

Eugene Tan 

50th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Tan Swie Hian, Francis Ng, Heman Chong