MUSICAL NOTES Cheryl Mah, conductor extraordinaire and creative director of KLPAC Symphonic Band, delves into the melody of her life. By Sharmita Summugam.
Pre-show ritual I prefer a minute alone before a performance, so I can focus and visualise an “imaginary performance in my head”. The art of conducting Conducting an orchestra or a band is more than just waving around a baton. It is all about communication between the conductor and
the musicians. Sharing your musical ideas with people through the musicians you lead, is what conducting is. The musicians help you
materialise your musical vision, what you hear in your head and how it should be expressed. That is the biggest challenge as a conductor, to be able to communicate with musicians via physical movement
and facial expressions. KLPAC Symphonic Band I conduct a band of 50 talented musicians at KLPAC. Unlike an orchestra, the KLPAC Symphonic Band has a woodwind section, brass, and percussion. Each section has a specific number of musicians to balance the sound of each instrument. Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche I have always been a fan of both the German philosopher Nietzsche and composer Richard Wagner. They influenced each other and I in turn was deeply fascinated by their philosophical and musical relationship. I have read extensively about them, but never dared to listen to Wagner’s music. His music needs to be understood on a deeper level, and I don’t think I am strong enough and emotionally ready to listen to it. It’s not the right time yet.
Music trends In recent years, there are more concert programmes that feature movie soundtracks, video game music, and many others that are often accompanied by visual stimulation, of which the general audience in Malaysia define as “easy listening” and a treat to both their hearing and sight. Having said that, there are still many artists and musicians out there who engage and put in great effort to promote music of all types.
To be a musician The most important characteristic you need
is to be open-minded. Music score that best describes your life At the moment, folk music of the serene English countryside by composer George Butterworth.
Dance around the world It’s always good to begin with dance music, different kinds of dance music, such as folk and tango. Why dance music? Well, that’s why we
have music – to dance!
Mah conducts a band of 50 musicians at KLPAC
V w i s o u h a s li a si e n r g o
f a e n b “i ” m ce a gin an
ary per form
“” C . o n n o d t u b a ct in g ng is vi mo wa
re than just