Philharmonic Youth Winds (Phil Youth) was formed in early 2002 by The Philharmonic Winds (Phil Winds) to provide an opportunity for young, passionate musicians to further their ensemble experience. Since its inaugural concert led by Zechariah Goh Toh Chai and Leonard Tan, the ensemble grew under various other conductors, such as Andy Sim, Yeow Ching Shiong, Alan Lourens, and David Glosz, performing in joint concerts with Phil Winds as well as its own concerts. In addition, Phil Youth has had the opportunity to work with foreign clinicians and conductors (Timothy Reynish, Christopher Hughes), and participate in music exchanges (North Rhine Wind Orchestra, Germany; Petaling Jaya Youth Symphonic Band, Malaysia).
In 2008, Phil Youth presented its new annual concert series entitled Classiques! at the Victoria Concert Hall under the baton of its current Resident Conductor, Adrian Chiang. In every subsequent year since then, the Classiques! series became an annual instalment and the biggest concert project of the year. The Classiques! series has featured various local musicians as soloists, namely Tay Kai Tze (oboe), Liang Jiayi (clarinet), Desmond Chow (clarinet), Ralph Lim (clarinet), Chan Wei Shing (violoncello), and Lewis Poh (french horn). These concerts are an endeavour to showcase the very best of youth wind music in Singapore, performing major wind band repertoire and challenging new compositions (such as Johan de Meij’s Extreme Makeover in Classiques! Extreme 2009). The Classiques! series has also been an opportunity for the ensemble to demonstrate its love affair with symphony orchestra repertoire, with at least one transcribed piece in the programme each year (most notable being the finale of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in Classiques! at Esplanade). Finally, these concerts celebrate the growth of the local performing arts scene by marrying wind symphonic music with dance (Classiques! Danse 2011), and most recently, handbells (Classiques! Celebration 2012).
The ensemble has done well in competitions. Led by Adrian Chiang, Phil Youth took part in the inaugural Singapore International Band Festival in 2008, winning the only Gold medal and clinching the title of Top Band in the 1st Division. In both 2010 and 2012, the ensemble emerged as one of the top 3 bands in the Open Division, ahead of groups from regional music conservatories.
Throughout the year, Phil Youth embarks upon various other performances and community outreach projects. Some of these include a string of successful concerts under the Esplanade’s Beautiful Sunday series, featuring popular movie themes, and even one showcasing only Disney classics. Other public performances include participation in Hearts in Harmony, an event for the President’s Challenge organized by the Singapore Police Force. In 2009, the ensemble performed twice at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, once as the opening act for a concert marking the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s 30th anniversary, and a second time as guest performers in a concert celebrating the Botanic Gardens’ 150th anniversary. The ensemble is also a regular performer under Singapore Press Holdings’ Gift of Music series, bringing music to the heartlands. Just this year, the ensemble was invited to be the first wind band to perform at Gardens by the Bay, in a Night of Pop Classics, enthralling visitors both local and foreign with popular tunes.
The Philharmonic Youth Winds aims to establish itself as a youthful and vibrant ensemble through its attitude and passion towards music making, and welcomes all enthusiastic young musicians to join the ensemble and share the love of music!