TO ensemble 途乐团 is a contemporary music group from Singapore that explores dynamic relationships between visuals, movement and sound.
TO ensemble (formerly Tze n Looking Glass) performs original music that is unique - both sweeping cinematic-orchestral and an exhilarating fusion of jazz and Asian sounds. The group creates original performances that are often multi-disciplinary, e.g. audio-film series LAND with NO SUN, and also collaborates frequently with film, contemporary dance and visual art-forms.
TO ensemble's sound is a sonic tapestry of film score, jazz, Chinese, Indian, European classical music and anime/video game soundtracks and features key soloists Lazar T.Sebastine (Indian violin), Teo Boon Chye (saxophone), Christina Zhou (violin), Wei Lung Wong (drums), Tze Toh (piano), Wendy Phua (e.bass) and Shing Min Yap (soprano).
Described by The Business Times as “sophisticated and accessible", the ensemble's debut album Stories from wonderland was selected as one of the top albums of the year for having “helped shape music in 2011”.
TO ensemble was conceived in 2007 by award-winning composer-pianist Tze Toh in his search for original sounds to reflect Singapore's diverse, multicultural, and harmonious society of east and west, modern and tradition. The Straits Times described him as “an extraordinary musician whose idiom straddles comfortably between genres of classical, jazz, world and film music”, who “possesses an original voice”.
The ensemble name TO is inspired by the fact that music like life itself, is a constant progression - a journey of discovering, learning, innovating.
The TO philosophy is based on the concept of [合] (harmony) and［乐] (music/joy) through music that transcends all boundaries of space, time and language. In this journey of life, TO is this constant energy of desire to understand, create, express and evolve. TO is TOday as well as TOmorrow.
Concerts & Reviews:
TO ensemble creates original multi-disciplinary and experimental works. In 2015, TO ensemble's highly successful audio-film concert LAND with NO SUN about a humanity's efforts to preserve their way of life through memories in a post-apocalypse world received raved reviews and a standing ovation from the audience for its bold originality and exceptional music. 2 more side stories/audio-film concerts titled LAND with NO SUN : Promemoria and LAND with NO SUN : Whispers of the Wind followed in the same year, further exploring the characters/worlds of "the surface" and the Sky-cities in the LAND with NO SUN universe. LAND with NO SUN II: Dance of the Earth took place at the Esplanade Recital Studio on the 27th feb 2016 (sat), 7.30pm.
In december 2015, TO ensemble performed for the inaugural Gallery Late Night at the beautiful new National Gallery Singapore, featuring the world premiere of the original work Dawn of Memories composed by music director Tze Toh. In november 2015, TO ensemble was invited to perform at the Titian Budaya Festival 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, a festival produced by CultureLink that celebrates 50 years of friendship between Singapore and Malaysia. A special edition audio-film concert LAND with NO SUN : Whispers of the Wind was created for the festival.
TO ensemble also collaborates with various organizations and individuals on film, contemporary dance and visual projects; these include film maker Royston Tan's film Popiah［薄餅], Erik Wayne's Sands of Our Our Fathers (an SG50 film), Journey of Youth Olympic Flame 2010, and the 2012 official opening of Singapore's iconic Gardens by the Bay.
Ensemble and Orchestra
TO ensemble comprises of a main professional ensemble and a chamber orchestra. The musicians are based in Singapore but from all parts of the world including Singapore, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, United States, United Kingdom, Austria, Hong Kong.
The ensemble's soloists are from various musical traditions ranging from jazz, Carnatic and Chinese to western classical music; each of them internationally accomplished musician in their areas of tradition. The other members that make up the orchestra are semi-professional musicians, students and music enthusiasts.
In 2015 TO ensemble set up a youth ensemble to support Singapore's talented young musicians from high schools and tertiary institutions, with the aim of challenging their perception of music and to create opportunities for performance, exploration of composition/arrangement and improvisation.