Mr. Say Ming Foo

Violin Session 1

Mr. Say Ming Foo

At the 4th National Music Competition in Singapore (1983), Singapore violinist Foo Say Ming walked away with the 1st prize of the Violin (Open) Category, the 1st prize of the Ensemble (Open) Category, and the grand prize of the competition: the Best Performer Award unanimously awarded by the judging panel, a feat which has yet to be equalled in the history of the country’s music competition.

Say Ming was awarded the coveted PSC (Public Service Commission of Singapore) – SSO (Singapore Symphony Orchestra) Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music (London, UK) with Rodney Friend, a former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was later accepted into the Conservatoire de Lausanne (Switzerland), to study with French violinist Pierre Amoyal, a protégé of Jascha Heifetz.  He was conferred Virtuosité – Premier Prix avec Félicitations du Jury.

Say Ming was featured as soloist on many occasions with orchestra of the region.  Of note, these include Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (Switzerland), and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), the latter with whom he has performed concertos by Lalo, Glazunov, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Walton, Rozsa, as well as works by contemporary Singaporean composers. He was featured as soloist and director in a concert with the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (presently known as The Philharmonic Orchestra) performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and the Singapore premiere of Piazzolla/Desyatnikov’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

He was soloist with the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) on its successful tour to Scotland at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2005, performing the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. His performance was described as:

“… never faltered in his interpretation, weaving through the dramatic score like a beautiful silken thread.”
(The Press And Journal, Aberdeen, Scotland, Aug 2005)

“… supreme tenderness from soloist Foo Say Ming.”
(Evening Express, Aberdeen, Scotland, Aug 2005)


From 2012 to 2022, Say Ming served as Head Of Strings at the Nanyang Academy Of Fine Arts (NAFA) School Of Music from 2012 – 2022, where he led the Strings Faculty in the tertiary Diploma and Degree studies, the latter in partnership with Royal College Of Music, London (UK). The NAFA Project Strings, a pioneering project which allows students a hands-on experience in the running of an arts group in almost every aspect of its management, gave its Inaugural concert in 2013. A year later, NAFA Project Strings made its debut at the Singapore Esplanade. Say Ming has been invited to teach and give masterclasses in Music Festivals in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Italy.  He is also an artist faculty of the Interharmony International Music Festival.

In his capacity as conductor, Say Ming is Assistant Conductor of the NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO). In addition to conducting the NUSSO, he conducts young musicians of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, the NAFA School Of Music Project Strings, as well as various young musicians’ orchestras in Malaysia and Indonesia. In 2011, Say Ming conducted the Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) Orchestra where he assumed the roles of conductor, leader, concertmaster and violin soloist in its production of Lehar’s opera The Merry Widow.

In his capacity as Leader/Concertmaster, Say Ming has been a regular guest leader for the Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) Orchestra and The Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO).  Not only has he led in numerous operatic productions by the SLO, he also served as concertmaster for the SLO for visiting renown ballet companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Paris National Opera Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, and the English National Ballet, as well as various international crossover personalities such as Russell Watson and Sarah Brightman.

Say Ming leads and directs a unique chamber orchestra from Singapore – re: mix (  This ensemble boasts of an eclectic repertoire ranging from John Adams to ABBA, Bach to Beatles, Mozart to movies, Schoenberg to Salsa! re: mix has been responsible for the creation and championing of a host of uniquely Singaporean works for these genres through its collaborations with many of our top local composers and arrangers.  Of note was the re-working of Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 by another Singapore Cultural Medallion recipient Iskandar Ismail – Samba No.5!, and Singapore’s promising young composer Julian WONG’s “P Ramlee Suite”. re: mix’s debut CD – “Introducing re: mix” ,  and its 2nd CD “Wild and In Love”, received raving reviews and was picked by The Straits Times Life! as CD of the Year in 2012 and 2018 respectively. re: mix’s unique voice has now gained attention from audiences in this region and beyond. In 2013, it had made its successful debut at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts Concert Hall, and in 2017, a successful debut at the Tainan Festival Of Arts (Taiwan). . In 2021, re: mix gave the Singapore premier of HUANG Ruo’s “A Dust In Time”, a monumental work composed for and inspired by Triumphant Human Spirit amidst the Covid Pandemic.