The NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) is a youth orchestra at the frontier of Singapore’s vibrant arts scene. Known for its musical excellence, NUSSO allows NUS undergraduates of all majors to continue to pursue their passion in orchestral performance.

The Orchestra was formally established as the NUS Concert Orchestra in 1979 under the auspices of the former University of Singapore and the directorship of Mr Paul Abisheganaden. Inaugurated as the NUS Symphony Orchestra in 1995, its beginnings can be traced back to the 1920s in the form of a Chamber Ensemble.

Maestro Lim Soon Lee has been its Music Director and Resident Conductor since 1994, while musicians from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) tutor the various sections of the Orchestra. Apart from actively bringing orchestra music to the university community and the public, the Orchestra has also performed extensively overseas, such as at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna.

Key Past Events

  • 2013Beautiful Sunday Concert Series, Esplanade Concert Hall
  • 2015ExxonMobil Campus Concerts highlight Miniatures 2015
  • 2015NUS Arts Festival highlight Celebrations 2015: Homecoming
  • 2016NUS Arts Festival highlight Music for Curious Minds
  • 2018NUS Arts Festival Closing ShowOde to Joy

Key Past Achievements

  • 2010Group of the Year, Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards
  • 2013First Runner-up, Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival
  • 2014Bronze Award (Competition), NUS Student Achievement Awards
  • 2016Representing NUS and Singapore at the Festival Orchestre Giovanili (Youth Orchestras Festival)
  • 2016Group of the Year, Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards
  • 2017Silver Award (Arts & Culture), NUS Student Achievement Awards


Lim Soon Lee

Music Director & Resident Conductor

Lim Soon Lee was appointed the Music Director/Resident Conductor of the National University of Singapore Concert Orchestra in April 1994. Since, he has managed the Orchestra of approximately 100 members, comprising undergraduates, alumni, staff and friends. Under his leadership and drive, the Orchestra was inaugurated as the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra in September 1995.

The Orchestra's overall performance and successful concerts can be attributed to Soon Lee's efforts and love for music. His association with NUS Centre For the Arts (previously known as the Centre for Musical Activities), dates back to 1980 when he assisted the violin section of the then Concert Orchestra. As a violin tutor from 1980 to 1983 and again from 1987 to 1990, he helped lay the foundation of the Orchestra in its formative years.

Soon Lee's musical journey began at the age of eight with the piano and violin under the tutelage of Singapore musicians and instructors: Goh Soon Tioe, Tan Kah Chin, Teo Kian Seng, Moses Wang, and Vivien Goh. He obtained his Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music for violin and viola in 1981 and in the same year, was awarded the First Prize in the Viola Open Section at the Singapore National Music Competition.

In 1983, under the Public Service Commission/Singapore Symphony Orchestra Scholarship, Soon Lee graduated from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, New York, with a Bachelor of Music (Distinction). He studied the viola under the world-renowned violists, Atar Arad and Francis Tursi, and completed a two-year conducting course with Professor David Effron and Professor Donald Hunsberger. In the summers of 1984 and 1986, he served as Principal Violist at Germany's Heidelberg Music Festival and was awarded a scholarship to study the viola under Kim Kashkashian at the Lausanne Academy of Music in Switzerland for his summer programme in 1986.

In 1983, he conducted the SSO at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 17th SEA Games at the Singapore National Stadium as well as at the SSO's Family Concert and open-air concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. In 1996, he conducted the SSO at the World Trade Organisation First Ministerial Conference's Farewell Concert for 4000 delegates at the Sentosa Musical Fountain. He conducted the Asian Youth Orchestra during the National Day Parade at the National Stadium in August 1997.

Soon Lee was with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) from 1987 to 1997, during which he served as the Sub-Principal Violist from 1989 to 1997. He was Singapore's only representative member at the 1988 World Philharmonic Orchestra in Montreal, Canada. He was the Assistant Conductor of the Singapore Youth Orchestra (SYO) from 1990 to June 1997 and was also responsible for the SYO Training Ensemble. From 2005-2011, Soon Lee was Music Director/ Principal Conductor of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.

Soon Lee was invited to conduct the New World Symphony Orchestra at Miami in April 2000. He also conducted the Mozart's Requiem at the Dennis Keene Choral Festival, 27 July to 7 August 2000, with the Keat Singers in Kent, Connecticut.