Ballet to bicycle: Singapore conductor rides out pandemic with delivery job

A year ago, Singaporean Chiya Amos was living his dream of leading orchestras around Russia as an aspiring classical conductor working with ballets and operas.

Since January, he has been working 12-hour days pedaling around Singapore on a bicycle, braving its heat and humidity to deliver meals.

COVID-19 put the brakes on Amos’ career, with his regular gigs halted as infections soared in Russia. After 10 months without work, he returned to Singapore to ride out the pandemic. But there was no music work for him there either.

He said, “Many of us musicians are still out of a job…I’ve applied for more than 40 jobs since last January, but I haven’t heard from most of them.”

Although restrictions are gradually easing in Russia, there is less work for foreign conductors, the 30-year-old said.

In the meantime, he listens to symphonic orchestra pieces on his headset while cycling between destinations, making an average 30 deliveries a day.

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