SIFOM took place for the first time in September 2015. The goal of the festival is to provide a platform for the best young musicians from Singapore and its neighboring countries, and to give them the opportunity to present chamber music concerts of the highest quality together with international artists. As the artistic center of the region, Singapore is in an ideal position to bring together a large number of gifted young performers from Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other neighboring countries to initiate an international musical dialogue based on mutual respect and cultural enrichment.
The combination of young artists with great potential from two continents not only allows SIFOM to offer extraordinary concert experiences to local music lovers, it also confirms Singapore’s role as the leading center of classical music in the region. This opens new possibilities for cultural and political communication between Asia and Europe. To achieve this, the festival has invited European orchestras with innovative programming concepts and an emphasis on new presentation formats for classical music. The string ensemble 1B1 represents a new and self-confident type of orchestra for the 21st century – an international, independent ensemble of the highest quality prepared to redefine the boundaries of musical outreach and bring classical music to a larger number of listeners. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, founded in 1981 by former members of the European Union Youth Orchestra, has become in its structure and ambition the model for contemporary independent ensembles. For more than 35 years, the Chamber orchestra of Europe has been one of the finest European performing organizations, and is predestined to serve as a musical mentor to the young, aspiring players in the festival orchestra.
SIFOM 2016 opened with a concert in which the festival orchestra performed together with experienced players from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. On the following evening, 1B1 will presented a program inspired by folk music with works by Grieg, Piazzolla, and Vivaldi. The motto of this year’s festival was Myths & Legends. The concert programs featured composers whose works are strongly influenced by folk music or which deal with myths or legends. For example, Ravel’s Ma mere l’oye, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and excerpts from Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman have been performed. A special program was devoted to the work of contemporary Japanese-born composer Dai Fujikura, who also conducted a workshop for young composers. Concerts in locations outside the normal concert venues, introductory lectures before the performances, and other accompanying events allowed audiences to experience the music directly and at the highest level.
As a member of the Advisory Board since 2015, Andreas Richter has supported the festival since its inception.