Strik­ing the right note

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - EDUCATION GUIDE -

UCSI UNIVER­SITY’S ( UCSI) In­sti­tute of Mu­sic stu­dents started 2016 with world- class per­for­mances that made in­ter­na­tional and Malaysian mu­sic lovers sit up and take no­tice. Its UCSI Univer­sity Cho­rale ( UCSI Cho­rale), to­gether with the Dithyra­m­bic Singers, per­formed at the De­wan Fil­har­monik Petronas for the se­cond time. The con­cert took place on Jan 30 and 31.

Bach­e­lor of Con­tem­po­rary Mu­sic ( Hons) stu­dend Loong Wen Hung won a prize in the Third Malaysian Jazz Pi­ano Fes­ti­val.

Both the Cho­rale and Loong re­ceived praise from lead­ing names in clas­si­cal and jazz mu­sic. Both also ded­i­cated their suc­cess to UCSI lec­tur­ers for mak­ing the univer­sity’s In­sti­tute of Mu­sic the best place for mu­si­cal stud­ies. The UCSI Cho­rale be­gan work­ing along­side the Malaysian Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra ( MPO) to take on one of the great­est works in the choral reper­toire, Mozart’s Re­quiem. The piece is listed by The Tele­graph as one of the 10 Best Works of Choral Mu­sic.

This was the MPO’s in­au­gu­ral per­for­mance of the piece with UCSI Cho­rale and the Dithyra­m­bic Singers trusted to per­form to­gether. Renowned Ger­man con­duc­tor An­dreas Delfs con­ducted the Re­quiem. An ex­pe­ri­enced mu­sic di­rec­tor and con­duc­tor, Delfs has led a myr­iad of top- notch pro­fes­sional en­sem­bles, in­clud­ing the Mil­wau­kee Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, which he led the or­ches­tra on a tour of Cuba – the first by an Amer­i­can or­ches­tra in nearly 40 years.

The pres­tige of the MPO and chal­lenge of per­form­ing the Re­quiem says a lot for the Cho­rale’s ca­pa­bil­ity. The cho­ris­ters car­ried the emo­tional weight of the per­for­mance with Delfs per­son­ally com­pli­mented them af­ter their first per­for­mance on Jan 30.

“When the con­duc­tor came and com­pli­mented us, we were cer­tainly mo­ti­vated to de­liver our best for the next round,” said leader of the Cho­rale’s alto sec­tion Ma­bel Soong Yongqi.

The same con­cert also fea­tured four pro­fes­sional soloists Aga Miko­laj, for­mer mem­ber of Mu­nich's Bay­erische Staat­soper; mezzo- so­prano Jen­nifer John­ston who per­formed with many of the world’s great­est or­ches­tras in reper­toire such as Bach’s St Matthew Pas­sion with the Dal­las Sym­phony; Tenor Ben­jamin Hulett, soloist at the Ham­burg State Opera ( 2005 to 2009) and Brazil­ian op­er­atic bari­tone singer and ac­tor Paulo Szot. Per­form­ing with pro­fes­sional singers and or­ches­tra gave the Cho­rale the im­pe­tus they needed to move to the next level in their singing and per­for­mance.

“We prac­tised al­most round- the- clock since Septem­ber 2015,” said the Cho­rale’s pres­i­dent, Shaun Chow.

They at­trib­uted their suc­cess to their ded­i­cated lec­tur­ers and di­rec­tor Ad­junct Prof Ian Lim Kean Seng, who has been de­scribed as “a pil­lar of strength”.

“It was not an easy per­for­mance, but as long as our di­rec­tor and lec­tur­ers guide us, we are more than pre­pared to take on an­other chal­lenge,” said Chow.

Fel­low stu­dent Loong echoed the same sen­ti­ment when he won se­cond prize in a pi­ano com­pe­ti­tion held in con­junc­tion with the Third Malaysian Jazz Pi­ano Fes­ti­val.

“Our lec­tur­ers are sea­soned per­form­ers them­selves,” said the young fan of fa­mous jazz leg­end Char­lie Parker.

“Through­out my stud­ies and my prac­tice ses­sions, they’ve given me a lot of ad­vice about per­form­ing.”

Loong elab­o­rated that the In­sti­tute pre­pared him in terms of the­ory, prac­ti­cal, and the jazz genre.

He was es­pe­cially grate­ful to Asst Prof Justin Lim Fang Yee: “I’ve learnt a lot from him and I hope to con­tin­u­ally make the In­sti­tute proud of my fu­ture per­for­mances.”

Loong im­pressed judges with a de­light­ful per­for­mance of Vic­tor Young’s Stella by Starlight, John Coltrane’s Naima and an ex­clu­sive jazz ver­sion of My Favourite Things from the much- loved movie The Sound of Mu­sic.

Judges com­prised mu­si­cians with over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, one be­ing Malaysian Jazz Pi­ano Fes­ti­val pi­o­neer, com­poser, di­rec­tor and pro­ducer in jazz Michael Veer­a­pan.

To know more about UCSI’s In­sti­tute of Mu­sic and ed­u­ca­tional op­tions, look out for the ad­ver­tise­ment in this StarSpe­cial.

Loong Wen hung im­pressed the judges with a de­light­ful per­for­mance of Vic­tor young’s

John coltrane’s and an ex­clu­sive jazz ver­sion of from the much- loved movie

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