SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special birthday concert by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) this afternoon at Victoria Concert Hall (VCH).
The lunchtime concert, which was part of the SPH Gift of Music series, was the first free public concert by the national orchestra at the newly renovated VCH. The new concert hall opened its doors to the public in July 2014, after four years of refurbishment.
Under the baton of Associate Conductor Jason Lai, SSO kicked off the celebration concert with Carillon de Westminister, an organ piece by French composer Louis Vierne.
It was a rare occasion for the audiences to hear the Klais Organ at VCH being played. The organ, which has a total of 2,012 pipes, formed the majestic facade of the concert hall stage.
Other highlights of the 45-minute programme included popular classics such as Voices of Spring by Johann Strauss, Salut D'Amor by Edward Elgar, and movie themes from West Side Story and Star Wars.
In celebration of the upcoming National Day, the audiences were also treated to local compositions such as Sketches of Singapore by Kelly Tang and Home by Dick Lee.
Close to 700 people enjoyed the free concert, including more than 100 staff from SPH. Apart from the musical treat, there was a cake cutting ceremony by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of SPH; Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH, and SPH directors.
The audience was each given a slice of birthday cake to commemorate the special occasion.
Today marks the day SPH was incorporated 30 years ago, through a merger of three organisations - the Straits Times Press group, the Singapore News and Publications Limited and Times Publishing Berhad which was later de-merged from SPH in 1988.
The merger brought together the English, Malay and Chinese newspapers under one roof. SPH later also bought Tamil Murasu Pte Ltd.
While SPH is three decades old, its publications have a much longer history. The Straits Times turns 170 next year and Lianhe Zaobao just celebrated its 90th anniversary last year. Berita Harian has more than 50 years of history, while Tamil Murasu marks its 80th birthday next year.