Jennifer has directed the Singapore Youth Choir (now the SYC Ensemble Singers) since 1986. In her hands, the SYC has earned prizes, awards, and a reputation for being the composer’s choir, malleable to the demands of contemporary choral music.
Jennifer is also Artistic Director of the Young Musicians’ Society, the arts company responsible for the Asia South Pacific Symposium on Choral Music (2001) and its offshoots, the First Aid for Choirs and Conductors workshop series and the Kodály Seminar Asia.
Jennifer has taught choral conducting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and currently directs the Chamber Singers module at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. She also conducted the Asia Pacific Youth Choir at the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music (2014). She has given workshops and short courses to conductors at home and abroad, and has chaired panels and presented in symposia nationally and internationally. Notably, she was the principal lecturer at the 2008 Lithuanian Conductors Summer Academy, supported by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.
Jennifer co-coordinates the Asia Pacific Working Committee for the International Federation for Choral Music and represents Singapore on the World Choir Council. She has been on jury at the World Choir Games since 2004, and has also judged extensively at festivals in Asia, Europe and the United States.
In recognition of her contribution to the arts, Jennifer was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 2012.
SYC Ensemble Singers
The SYC Ensemble Singers was formed in 1964 as the Singapore Youth Choir, a national choir for young singers. Renamed in 2004, the choir today is an adult chamber ensemble whose singers hail from all walks of life. Considered a trailblazer and the standard bearer of choral music in Singapore, it was the first Singapore choir to win an international competition (1974), and also the first choir to receive the President’s Charity (1997) and the Excellence for Singapore (2000) awards. To celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of independence, the choir performed in Washington D.C. at the invitation of the Embassy of Singapore. As the recording choir of the re-orchestrated national anthem (2000), they are also the last voice to be broadcast every day.
Led by Jennifer Tham since 1986, the choir is known for its strong programming and advocacy of contemporary music. The works of living composers are repertory staples, with new music being commissioned regularly. The choir has not only premiered works of Singaporeans (including those of pioneer composer Leong Yoon Pin), but also a spectrum of international composers. By giving voice to the music of today, the choir hopes to preserve a space for the musicians of tomorrow.