ONE GLORIOUS SOUND’
The Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) celebrates its 10th anniversary with a series of concerts at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas until June. speaks to past and current members
UNDER the skilled baton of conductor Naohisa Furusawa, the first of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s (MPYO) 10th anniversary concerts got off to a great start last weekend when the MPYO joined forces with the Hong Kong Children’s Symphony Orchestra.
They performed two festive overtures by Shostakovich and Brahms, as well as Dovrak’s Symphony No 8.
Violinist and MPYO musician Andrea Sim, 21, and alumni member Mohd Mustaqim Abdullah, 33, who played the trombone, were part of the 96-strong orchestra for its anniversary concert series together with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO).
The series included Haydn’s Symphony No 104, Dvorak’s Serenade for String and Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.
Sim, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in classical music at UCSI University, studied for two years at the Prayner Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna before joining the MPYO.
“Even after my experience in Vienna, I have learnt so much more after joining MPYO.
“In an orchestra, you have a chance to make music as a collective ensemble.
“When I first joined the MPYO, I was excited because I was first violin. I was devastated when I was second violin in the next camp.
“However, it was a valuable lesson in how it was to play in any part in the orchestra because no matter what part you play, every part is important and has a ‘voice’.”
Sim showed interest in playing the violin at 2, but only picked it up when she turned 12.
Mustaqim, who teaches brass instruments at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim, Perak and international schools in Kuala Lumpur, said he was pleased that his students were playing in the MPYO orchestra as well.
He said his experience as a member of the MPYO helped to raise the level of his technical playing and music skills by leaps and bounds.
“Being with MPYO has improved my skills tremendously.
“The input from the sessions with the MPO team and visiting conductors was invaluable.
“They would take a lot of effort and time to articulate how to play music compositions, which was really great.”
Mustaqim is pursuing a master’s degree to notate traditional Asli music on the trombone at UPSI.
“In Asli music, there is a lot of blending music and quarter tones, which I am starting to learn,” he said.
MPYO head Ahmad Muriz Che Rose, who also conducts MPO and MPYO, said that whenever musicians played together in an orchestra, they formed a “symbiotic” relationship.
“They are part of the puzzle where they rely on each other. After a while, the musicians begin to appreciate each other’s instruments.
“It is the highest level of collaboration because they get to understand the concepts of ensemble-playing where they cannot be even one millisecond later than the others.
“Every note must be played in unison to create one glorious sound.”
Muriz said MPYO gave its debut concert at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas on Aug 25, 2007,
(From Left) Andrea Sim, MPYO conductor Ahmad Muriz Che Rose and Mohd Mustaqim Abdullah.
MPYO’s success has proven that we have done something right. We are on the right path of nurturing young musicians in Malaysia.
after undergoing intensive training under its then principal conductor Kevin Field.
As part of the anniversary celebrations this year, Field will return to conduct MPYO in a reunion concert on Aug 25.
“When we started in 2006, we began with drill exercises to challenge their expertise levels.
“We pushed the boundaries with what the musicians had. After
10 years, we can see that the MPYO is able to play music meant for older, more experienced orchestras.
“MPYO’s success has proven that we have done something right.
“We are on the right path of nurturing young musicians in Malaysia,” he said, adding that MPYO members were aged between 9 and 28.
Over the years, he said, several members of MPYO had moved on to careers as fully-fledged professional musicians with orchestras, including Orkestra Radio Televisyen Malaysia, Orkestra Kuala Lumpur, Orkestra Simfoni Kebangsaan and the Asian Youth Orchestra.
For a list of the MPYO’s anniversary concerts, visit www.mpo.com.my