Inspired by Singapore’s culture and identity, renowned Russian composer Vladimir Martynov accepted a commission by ex-Singapore Ambassador to Russia, Michael Tay, to compose a symphony in 2003.
UTOPIA, which premiered in 2005 in Russia and performed in 2007 in Singapore, was most recently performed and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) and London Philharmonic Choir in Abbey Road.
Prior to composing UTOPIA, all that Vladimir knew about Singapore was that it was a foreign country with foreign people – an expression he likened to that of the first movement (Von fremden Ländern und Menschen) in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, which inspires him to get acquainted with the unfamiliar.
To experience Singapore’s culture, heritage and its people, Vladimir took up Michael’s offer to visit the city in March 2005 with his wife, distinguished violinist Tatiana Grindenko. During this trip, the couple had met with local musicians and artists, and even stayed at the historic site of Raffles Hotel – an experience that he says was deeply connected to the composition of UTOPIA.