A Resounding Passion For Music
Kris Foundation is a non-profit initiative to support young classical musicians in Singapore and the region. It was set up in 2009 by Kris Tan, a philanthropist dedicated to empowering the arts in Singapore, and established as a donor-advised fund (DAF) at The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in 2012.
In 2022, Kris Foundation presented “Souvenirs de fête”, a concert at the Esplanade by the acclaimed Japanese pianist, Miyuki Washimiya. It was a solo piano recital featuring a diversity of pieces by composers from France, Spain, Argentina and Singapore.
“Souvenirs de fête” marked Miyuki’s first time back in Singapore since 2015 – and the latest chapter in donor Kris Tan’s Greater Story of philanthropy.
A HARMONIOUS BEGINNING
Kris Foundation's relationship with Miyuki Washimiya goes back to 2009, when Kris stepped in at the last minute to sponsor Miyuki's solo piano recital in Singapore. This was a night of firsts – the first concert Kris had presented, and Miyuki Washimiya’s debut recital in Singapore. It also marked the landmark world premiere of “Reminiscence”, the magnum opus of renowned Singaporean composer Tan Chan Boon.
“Reminiscence” had originally been commissioned as part of the 2008 Singapore International Piano Festival, but had been deemed unplayable by the original pianist. Uniting local music and foreign talent, Miyuki brought it to life for the first time in a breathtaking show of talent. Following this successful debut concert, Kris invited Miyuki back to Singapore to collaborate with local musicians on four occasions.
Kris enjoyed the impact that her sponsorship made to the audience and musician, and it inspired her to do more in Singapore. This concert was the catalyst for the initiation of Kris Foundation and Kris’s desire to support classical musicians in Singapore, both financially and through a concert platform. Kris’s support of Miyuki’s concert evolved into Kris Foundation’s signature recital series, which has to this date presented over 30 concerts with more than 58 musicians from Singapore and the region.
AN ENLIGHTENING DUET
In 2023, CFS too celebrates its own landmark – 15 years of helping donors make a difference. Since CFS was set up in 2008, it has received over S$292 million in donations in Singapore and disbursed over $157 million in grants to over 400 charity partners.
Having realised the difficulty faced by musicians in getting funding in Singapore, Kris was inspired to work with local organisations to fund education and performance opportunities. Kris’s giving has been greatly enhanced by partnering with CFS. It was easy for her to set up Kris Foundation as a named DAF. “CFS took care of everything involved in setting up the Foundation,” she says, “and continues to handle all the administrative and governance aspects involved in running it.”
CFS’s expert advisory was also essential in helping Kris Foundation to achieve its mission. “CFS also introduced us to arts organisations that we did not know about before and connected us with likeminded donors,” Kris adds. “CFS's track record of professional experience and expertise has been invaluable to the continuation of my philanthropy work.”
In addition to her own giving, Kris is also an ambassador for CFS’s Legacy Giving Initiative (LGI), a national movement led by CFS which aims to raise awareness, encourage consideration, and spark conversations on legacy gifts. Kris was featured alongside her daughter Kang Ning as part of the “A Greater Gift” campaign, sharing about her passion for music and for supporting the development of music and the arts in Singapore.
A FULFILLING INTERVAL
Ultimately, the most fulfilling aspect of Kris’s giving journey with CFS has been the joy that comes with seeing Kris Foundation’s beneficiaries develop as musicians.
“I enjoy being hands-on with my philanthropy – taking a personal interest in identifying and nurturing young talented classical musicians that Kris Foundation has supported over the past 11 years,” she said. “With CFS's help, Kris Foundation has given these musicians an opportunity to develop to their full potential and a platform to showcase their highest ability of music-making to Singaporean audiences.”
“Watching them grow and achieve their dreams has definitely been the most fulfilling part of my philanthropic journey,” she concluded.