MU­SI­CAL HIGHS

The Peak (Malaysia) - - Contents -

The Malaysian Phil­har­monic Orches­tra cel­e­brates its 20th sea­son with top per­form­ers and out­stand­ing mu­sic.

The Malaysian Phil­har­monic Orches­tra cel­e­brates its 20th sea­son with top per­form­ers and out­stand­ing mu­sic. While mu­sic, to mis­quote Wil­liam Con­greve, cer­tainly has the charms to soothe the sav­age beast, it also has the wings to make time fly. This month, the Malaysian Phil­har­monic Orches­tra em­barks on its 20th sea­son, lin­ing up an­other ar­ray of top per­form­ers and ex­cit­ing reper­toire at De­wan Fil­har­monik Petronas (DFP) that will surely thrill mu­sic lovers of all ilks. The 2017/18 Sea­son opens on a high note with Beethoven’s ground­break­ing Sym­phony No 9 on 12 and 13 Au­gust. The week­end per­for­mances of The Mighty Ninth will fea­ture will, al­most lit­er­ally, a cast of thou­sands, in­clud­ing the MPO, Malaysian Phil­har­monic Youth Orches­tra – cel­e­brat­ing its 10th an­niver­sary this year – the MAX Phil­har­monic Orches­tra from Tokyo, a quar­tet of soloists, the Choir of Gonville & Caius Col­lege, Cam­bridge, Kuala Lumpur’s Dithyra­m­bic Singers and MAX Phil­har­monic Cho­rus. MPO Res­i­dent Con­duc­tor, Nao­hisa Fu­ru­sawa, will lead the spec­ta­cle, which will also open with a new MPO com­mis­sioned work by lo­cal com­poser Vi­vian Chua.

An­other lo­cal com­poser will take cen­tre stage in Septem­ber when the MPO per­forms Onn San’s stir­ring sound­track to ac­com­pany a live screen­ing of the hit movie, Ola Bola. The show will also fea­ture new mu­sic com­posed by Onn San es­pe­cially for these con­certs. Malaysia piano vir­tu­oso, Tengku Ir­fan, who’s cur­rently based in New York, makes a re­turn to DFP to play Beethoven’s Piano Con­certo No 5 on 30 Septem­ber and 1 Oc­to­ber. The first in a sea­son-long sur­vey of the com­poser’s five piano con­cer­tos, he will be ac­com­pa­nied by the MPO and Fu­ru­sawa, who will also per­form Beethoven’s Sym­phony No 7.

Tengku Ir­fan, in­ci­den­tally, will not be the only Malaysian pi­anist to per­form Beethoven at the DFP this sea­son. Mei Yi Foo, who won Best New­comer in the BBC Mu­sic Mag­a­zine Awards for her début disc, Mu­si­cal Toys, in 2013, tack­les the Piano Con­certo No 3 in Oc­to­ber, while Loo Bang Hean and Bobby Chen take on the Piano Con­cer­tos Nos 2 and 4 in March 2018.

An­other vir­tu­oso of the key­board, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, will add some ex­otic­ness when he does a turn on Saint- Saëns’ Piano Con­certo No 5, the ‘Egyp­tian’, on 28 and 29 Oc­to­ber.

UMW Toy­ota Mo­tor’s an­nual Toy­ota Clas­sics con­cert takes place at the DFP on 31 Oc­to­ber, this time with the highly ac­claimed Royal Phil­har­monic Con­cert Orches­tra and con­duc­tor An­thony Wee­den for an evening of Mozart, El­gar, Faure and Haydn. An­other orches­tra visit­ing the DFP is the Sin­ga­pore Sym­phony Orches­tra – on 19 Novem­ber, the orches­tra, with Mu­sic Di­rec­tor Lan Shui, the Sin­ga­pore Sym­phony Cho­rus and Youth Choir will per­form the Malaysian pre­miere of Tengku Ir­fan’s Med­i­ta­tion fol­lowed by a pro­gramme of Brahms.

The count­down to the end of the year starts with a bang when leg­endary rock icon, Ella, will bring the house down with two solo con­certs at the DFP in De­cem­ber. Backed by the MPO con­ducted by Ah­mad Muriz Che Rose, the Queen of Rock will cel­e­brate her il­lus­tri­ous 30-year ca­reer with a trip down mem­ory lane with her big­gest and most mem­o­rable hits. Ex­pect some­thing more laid­back the same month, when Fu­ru­sawa leads the MPO and MPYO in Clas­sics at the Movies, which will sur­vey mu­sic from films like Die Hard 2 (Si­belius), Pi­rates Of The Caribbean (Badelt), Apoca­lypse Now (Wag­ner), Eyes Wide Shut (Shostakovich) and, of course, Star Wars (Wil­liams).

Two trib­utes to the Leonard Bern­stein cen­ten­nial next year will kick off the new year in Jan­uary. The Best of Bern­stein’s Broad­way takes on the com­poser’s time­less Broad­way com­po­si­tions like West Side Story, On the Town, Can­dide, Won­der­ful Town

and Pe­ter Pan, while Bern­stein at 100 sur­veys Bern­stein’s or­ches­tral works like Sym­phony No 2, ‘The Age of Anx­i­ety’, Diver­ti­mento for Orches­tra, and the Sym­phonic Dances from West Side Story.

The Bal­let Fes­ti­val in Fe­bru­ary sees the Bal­let of Ar­me­nia mak­ing its début with scenes from Tchaikovsky ( The Nutcracker and Swan Lake) and Khacha­turian ( Gayané and Spar­ta­cus) chore­ographed by Ar­men Grig­o­ryan. More Tchaikovsky can be had in March when con­duc­tor Stanislav Kochanovsky, so­prano Ta­tiana Pavlovskaya, con­tralto Irina Shishkova, tenor Pavel Cer­noch, bari­tone Alexey Markov and the Kuala Lumpur City Opera Cho­rus per­form high­lights from the lyric opera Eu­gene One­gin. The pro­gramme also in­cludes Rach­mani­noff’s The Bells.

Those wowed by the per­for­mances of Cirque de la Sym­phonie at the DFP in 2015 can catch an­other look at this unique and el­e­gant fu­sion of cir­cus and live or­ches­tral mu­sic when the troupe re­turns in May. An­other May re­turnee is the wildly pop­u­lar Mu­sic from Anime – Fu­ru­sawa and MPO will be joined by the Ja­panese School of Kuala Lumpur Chil­dren’s Cho­rus in mu­sic from anime pro­duc­tions like Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle, La­puta: The Fly­ing Is­land and My Neigh­bor To­toro.

The fi­nal con­certs of the 2017/18 Sea­son, ap­pro­pri­ately enough, fea­ture a vi­o­lin vir­tu­oso and heavy­weight sym­phony. The con­certs on 9 and 10 June see the re­turn of Joshua Bell, who will surely thrill with his usual in­can­des­cent play­ing in Bruch’s Vi­o­lin Con­certo No 1, while guest con­duc­tor Mark Wig­glesworth can be ex­pected to match him with the MPO in Bruck­ner’s lyri­cal and ma­jes­tic Sym­phony No 7. Tick­ets to the 2017/18 Sea­son are now on sale. For book­ing and fur­ther de­tails, visit mpo.com.my

LEFT The Malaysian Phil­har­monic Orches­tra opens its 20th sea­son with a per­for­mance of Beethoven’s Sym­phony No 9. RIGHT Cirque de la Sym­phonie will be back to thrill au­di­ences at De­wan Fil­har­monik Petronas.

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