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

New Straits Times - - News -

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

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