Pairing classical music with classic tipples – wine not?
Violinist Loh Jun Hong (right) at a More Than Music and Wine event, which pairs classical music with wines. (Photos: More Than Music)

Pairing classical music with classic tipples – wine not?

Mention a classical music concert and the first thing that comes to one’s mind is probably a buttoned-up affair where people sit and listen pensively to violins or a piano play. Two rising Singapore musicians hope to change that narrow view.

Violinist Loh Jun Hong and pianist Abigail Sin are offering audiences new ways of enjoying the musical genre, beyond solemn contemplation, with their More Than Music series, which pairs music with other forms of arts, including visual art.

The chamber music concert series that Loh and Sin co-founded in 2013 is based on their belief, following years of performing internationally as soloists, that playing better isn’t the only thing that can enhance the audience experience of a classical music performance.

Loh says: “Music is a form of communication, what else can we do to encourage music as a two-way communication? We’ve tried things like pairing music with artworks, transforming the concert hall into a sort of art gallery, all the while maintaining the same world-class quality we stand for as individual artists.”

Their latest More Than Music concert, taking place this weekend at The Arts House, will pair classical music with wine.

Loh says: “When marrying music and wine, the audience has their sense of hearing stimulated and also their sense of taste.”

The first More Than Music and Wine event was held last year to great success. For many in the audience, it was their first time enjoying classical music in an intimate setting and they stayed on after the show to mingle with other concert-goers, as well as enjoy the free-flow wine and encore performances.

Violinist Loh Jun Hong (right) sharing a light moment with audiences at a More Than Music and Wine event.

How did Loh and Sin go about pairing wines with classical music for the upcoming event? They had the help of a sommelier and the vineyard Mount Brown Estates, which is supplying the wine for the event.

The sommelier, who will also be present at the concert, provided notes on the history and the making of selected wines. Loh and Sin then drew inspiration from the descriptions and matched them with classical music – a pinot noir with a romantic, passionate Beethoven sonata, a sauvignon blanc with Ravel’s elegant, classical composition.

For those inspired to try pairing wine and classical music at home, Loh suggests starting with wines that are light in taste before progressing to those with stronger notes and doing the same with the music.

He says: “You could try pairing simple, sweet and lovely pieces like Salut d’amour by Elgar with a riesling, then go on to more sophisticated ones, like a Brahms sonata from the Romantic era, paired with a stronger white wine like a sauvignon blanc. I think that would be perfect.”

Details on this weekend’s More Than Music and Wine here.

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