TO ensemble (formerly Tze n Looking Glass) is a groundbreaking contemporary Asia fusion ensemble which performs only original music - a sonic tapestry of film score, jazz, Chinese, Indian, European classical music and anime/video game soundtracks. 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”. The ensemble is made up of outstanding musicians from various musical traditions, from jazz, Carnatic/south Indian, Chinese music to film score and European classical music, who have performed internationally and are soloists each with a unique voice and are outstanding in their tradition in their own right. [Our Soloists]
TO ensemble has recorded the original score of film maker Royston Tan's film Popiah［薄餅］, Erik Wayne's Sands of Our Our Fathers (an SG50 film), performed for the Journey of Youth Olympic Flame 2010, the official opening of Singapore's iconic Gardens by the Bay and collaborates on film, contemporary dance, visual projects with various artists, and creates original multi-disciplinary / experimental works. TO ensemble is lauded for its original and highly successful audio-film LAND with NO SUN series, the first receiving a standing ovation from members of the audience when it was first performed in 2015 (read the review here).
The ensemble was created in 2007 by award-winning composer-pianist Tze Toh, "an extraordinary musician whose idiom straddles comfortably between genres of classical, jazz, world and film music” and “possesses an original voice” (The Straits Times). The ensemble was conceived as a result of his search for an original sound/voice which reflects the cultural diversity of Singapore and the many layers that existed within its colourful yet harmonious society - the coming together of the East and West, the modern and the traditional. The music aspires to be as forward looking, exciting, vibrant, contemporary and relevant to the world today as the city is.
The concept of ［合］ (harmony) and［乐］(which means both music and joy in Chinese) is an important part of the TO philosophy. Music is a language which brings people together irregardless of background, and the joy in creating music, being able to express oneself honestly is central to understanding and discovering what makes us human. TO is the philosophy/idea that music, and life itself is an eternal journey, very much like the energy in the Universe and Nature, which is in constant flux, in motion. TO is the spirit of constantly searching, reaching out to discover, to understand, create and evolve very much like the way Nature, the Universe is. It is a journey that never ends. That is the spirit of creating, improvising. TO is TOday as well as TOmorrow. This moment right now is as important as what comes after.
TO ensemble consists of a main ensemble featuring professional musicians/soloists and an orchestra which is made up of semi-professional musicians, students and serious music enthusiasts from all walks of life. As a whole, TO ensemble consists of musicians from Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, U.S, U.K, Austria, Hong Kong, China, India. [Join us]
A youth ensemble set up to encourage and support talented young musicians in exploring improvisation, alternative musical genres is currently in the works, with the aim to provide a unique platform to challenge the young musicians' perception of music and performance and create opportunities for performance of their own works.
+TO ensemble is funded by the National Arts Council of Singapore and The Arts Fund.