Amateur musicians who have always wanted to play in an orchestral setting can now perform with a full ensemble for a series of one-off concerts next year.
As part of its 2014 season, volunteer ensemble Orchestra Of The Music Makers kicks off its playwithOMM series, which invites 50 amateur musicians to play Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony alongside the orchestra at a concert next month.
Professor Chan Tze Law, 49, music director of the orchestra and associate director at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Of Music, says: "The idea of playwithOMM is really to find another way to give back to the community.
"If there are people who have never played with an orchestra but have always wanted to, or if there are musicians who have admired the orchestra and have been to our concerts and wouldn't mind playing with us, we want to reach out to those people."
The orchestra started registration for the programme last Sunday and Prof Chan says the response is "more than expected". He adds: "The most that we can allocate is 50 places for those who want to come and play with us, and judging from the response within the first 24 hours, we are not far off."
If interested musicians do not get a place in the first instalment of the series, they may get a place in subsequent playwithOMM concerts, which are slated to run every three months.
PlaywithOMM is the orchestra's only new programme for next year and the rest of the season will feature its three regular concerts. Kicking off the season next month is Brahms Violin Concerto, which features principal guest conductor Christopher Adey and French violinist Amaury Coeytaux.
Prof Chan says Coeytaux is "absolutely brilliant" and adds that the violin concerto is "one of the great works in the violin repertoire. It used to be very popular but now is not heard as often as before".
Following that is OMMProm 2014, to be held at Esplanade Concert Hall in March. Conducted by Prof Chan, it will feature Singapore Symphony Orchestra's principal cellist Ng Pei-Sian playing the local debut of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Variations.
Prof Chan says: "This piece is interesting because Andrew Lloyd Webber is normally not associated with orchestral or classical music. "But the story goes that he had a bet on a football match with his brother, Julian, a famous cellist. When Andrew lost, he had to write this piece."
The last of the big three concerts is The Planets, which will be conducted by home-grown talent Joshua Tan Kangming at the Esplanade Concert Hall in August. Prof Chan says this work by Holst is "a big piece and a very challenging work to perform".
As such, The Planets fits perfectly into the upcoming season. He adds: "OMM's 2014 season is distinctive because it has very, very large programming. They are all very big works."
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