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President Tony Tan visits Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music

21 Aug 2013

President Tan (centre) with YSTCM representatives and members of the orchestra at the Concert Hall during his visit

(From left) Mr Goh, Prof Lanskey, President Tan and Prof Tan Eng Chye with the Alumni Quartet
NUS Chancellor and Singapore President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam paid a visit to the University’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) on 19 August 2013 to mark its 10th anniversary.

Lauding the progress made by the Conservatory over the years, President Tan said that YSTCM has established itself as the pre-eminent music conservatory in Asia since its inception in 2003. He added: “The Conservatory is now an integral part of our efforts to build a rich and vibrant cultural landscape in Singapore. I hope that the Conservatory will continue in its quest for musical excellence and scale greater heights in years to come.”

YSTCM took in its pioneer cohort of about 70 students in 2003. Ten years on, it is now a full school with 220 students from 22 countries. It attracts many young musical talents from all over the world, and has an equally international, renowned and respected faculty.

Reflecting on the Conservatory’s development, NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said that it has become “a vibrant focal point for musical activity, artistic development and research, for NUS, Singapore and beyond. To date, seven cohorts of about 290 students have graduated from the Conservatory’s undergraduate and graduate diploma programmes, and are making an impact on the rapidly evolving Singaporean music scene not only as performers and teachers, but also in leadership and administrative roles. The Conservatory will build on its strengths to make even more significant contributions to the development of the arts in the future."

During his visit, President Tony Tan met with Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost; Mr Goh Yew Lin, Chairman of the Conservatory’s Governing Board and a member of the NUS Board of Trustees; Professor Bernard Lanskey, YSTCM Director; Associate Professor Craig De Wilde, YSTCM Deputy Director; as well as other senior administrators of the Conservatory. 

In 1998, President Tan, who was then Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, visited the Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the US. It was during this trip that the seeds for the Conservatory’s establishment were planted. Subsequently, in 2001, President Tan witnessed the signing of the agreement between NUS and JHU to establish the Singapore Conservatory of Music.

The school was later renamed the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in 2003, in recognition of a gift from the family of the late Dr Yong Loo Lin to the Conservatory. Yong Siew Toh, a music teacher and daughter of the late Dr Yong, found her greatest joy in giving music to others.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Conservatory has organised a series of events, including an orchestra performance which will be held at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 4 September 2013, where President Tan will be gracing as Guest-of-Honour.