Striking the right note
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