The DUNMAN HIGH SCHOOL CHINESE ORCHESTRA was formed in 1973 and since then has matured
into a complete and fully developed orchestra with a current strength of 250 members. It has also become one of the most well
known orchestra in Singapore.
The orchesta's director, Mr Tay Teow Kiat,
is East Zone Chinese Orchestra Development Centre Music Director. He is also the President of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra
Association, the Music Director of NAFA (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) City Chinese Orchestra and the sole recipient
of the 1993 National Arts Council Cultural Medallion. Mr Tay was appointed to organise the orchestra in 1980. Presently, the
school has engaged Mr Quek Ling Kiong as the orchestra's conductor and eleven professional instructors to instruct the
orchestra, and the members benefit from the regular training provided by the NAFA City Chinese Orchestra instructors.
The orchestra has often been invited to stage public performances at various important
functions and celebrations. For example, festival performances at the Istana, the Millenium Chinese Cultural Festival Opening
Ceremony and various International Conferences' Opening Ceremony.
The orchestra was also invited to perform in the following countries and received
1982: Thailand (Bangkok, Pataya)
1983: Taiwan (Taipei, Kaoshiung) and Hong Kong
1986: West Malaysia (Penang, Ipoh, Seremban
and Kuala Lumpur)
1989: Brunei Darussalam and East Malaysia (Miri and Kuching)
1992: China (Beijing and Shanghai)
1994: China (GuangZhou and ZhanJiang)
1996: China (Beijing and Tianjin)
1998: China (Shenzhen and Guilin)
2000: China (Nanjing and Jiangsu)
2003: Malaysia (Melaka and Johor Bahru)
China (Xi'an and Zhengzhou)
2005: West Malaysia (Penang and Kuala Lumpur)
China's authoritative music peridical, "Ren-Min Yin-Yue", commented that the
Dunman High School Chinese Orchestra's performances in Beijing and Shanghai had shaken the local music circles and that the
high quality of the performances had been an eye-opener for them.
Since 1984, the orchestra has had its annual public
concert at the Victoria Concert Hall.
Since 1983, the orchestra has also participated in the biennial National Music
Competition (Chinese Music Section) and has won many prizes:
1985: Best Performer's Award, 6 First Prize Awards, 4
Second Prize Awards and 8 Third PrizeAwards.
1987: 4 First Prize Awards, 1 Third Prize Awards
1989: 4 First Prize Awards,
4 Second Prize Awards and 4 Third Prize Awards.
1991: Best Performer's Award, Second Prize Awards and Third Prize Awards
( Ensemble Open Section)
1993: Second Prize Awards and Third Prize Awards ( Ensemble Open Section)
1998: "The Best Ensemble"
Award, 2 First Prize Awards, 3 Second Prize Awards and 3 Third Prize Award
2000: Best Perfomer's Award (Ensemble), 1 Second
Prize Award ( Intermediate Category), 1 Second Prize Award (Senior Category)
2002: Best Performer's Award (Ensemble), 1
First Prize Award, 2 Third Prize Award (Intermediate Category, 1 Second Prize Award (Open Category)
The Orchestra is also a regular participant in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) National Schools' Music Competition
(Chinese Music Section). It won the SYF Award of Distinction and was given the honour of performing on the SYF Opening Night
in 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997. In 1997, 1999 and 2001, it won the SYF Gold award and was also named the "
The Best Orchestra of the Year"
The Duman High School Chinese Orchestra is a vibrant and high-spirited force on the
Singapore music scene and it receives admiration and support from many sections of the community.
The Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Education, Mr Er Kwong Wah, in commending the orchestra, said, "Devoted to their art, Dunman High School Chinese
Orchestra has won the admiration of their peers and affirmed their Asian Heritage.
The Senior Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Information and the Arts, Mr Ho Kah Leong, described the orchestra in the following manner: " The Chinese Orchestra
is an orchestra of high calibre and is popular with both students and the general public. In fact, its annual perfromance
is an event looked forward to by many music lovers."
In March 1994, the Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Mountbatten Constituency,
Mr Eugene Yap Giau Cheng, in commending the orchestra said," The orchestra has built up a reputation for being disciplined,
high-spirited and vibrant. ...It has done Singapore Proud."
In December 1994, the Chinese Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Yang Wen Cheng, in his message
praised the orchestra as "a very vibrant musical group equipped with training of high quality. In recent years, the orchestra
has not only contributed actively towards the promotion of Chinese culture by enriching lives of its audience, but also gone
to concert tours to China to initiate Sino-Singapore cultural exchange activities, thus enhancing understanding and friendship
between Chinese and Singaporean music practioners".
In June 1996, the orchestra went on a concert tour to Beijing and Tinajin. The Chinese
ambassador to Singapore, Mr Fu Xuezhang, said in his message:"...such consummate skill, harmonious combination, exuberant
performance and precise conducting have given the Chinese audience and music circle a deep and beautiful impression.
In February 2001, the Chief Executive Director of the National Art Council, Mr Choo Thiam
Siew, mentioned in his message:" Dunman High School has always been highly regarded in academic and co-curricular activities
performances. The school's Chinese Orchestra' brilliant achievement is widely known. Its performances both locally and overseas
have received rave reviews. In the biennial National Chinese Music Competition, Dunman High School takes than stance of a
regular winner. For a school orchestra to take its place among the many local orchestras is indeed an achievement."
The orchestra will continue to strive for excellence, and through performances, interaction
with others and exchange of knowledge, seek to raise our standard even higher.