Thai­land Phil­har­monic de­buts in Myan­mar

Tra­di­tional Thai mu­sic? Check. In­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised com­posers? Check. You name it, and the Thai­land Phil­har­monic might just play it

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NANDAR AUNG Nan­da­raung.mcm@gmail.com

THEY won’t be your typ­i­cal vis­i­tors from Thai­land—they’re not here to com­pete in foot­ball or box­ing matches, nor are they here to raise aware­ness about mi­grant work­ers. The Thai­land Phil­har­monic Orches­tra has just touched down in Yan­gon for their very first Myan­mar tour, with hopes of cross-cul­tural mu­si­cal ex­change. The con­cert tour will be­gin in Yan­gon at the Na­tional Theatre on Au­gust 26, head­ing north­ward to the Man­dalay Na­tional Theatre the next day, and fi­nally clos­ing at the Nay Pyi Taw Con­ven­tion Cen­ter on Au­gust 29.

Truly a tes­ta­ment to in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion, the con­cert is a joint pro­ject be­tween the Thai royal em­bassy, the Ger­man em­bassy, the Goethe-In­sti­tut and lo­cal Myan­mar mu­si­cians.

The founder of the Thai Phil­har­monic Orches­tra and the dean of the Col­lege of Mu­sic at Mahi­dol Univer­sity in Bangkok, Su­gree Charoen­sook, is very ex­cited by TPO’s first trip to its eastern neigh­bour.

“The Thai­land Phil­har­monic Orches­tra is dif­fer­ent from other or­ches­tras in South­east Asia,” Su­gree said. “It took me 30 years to cul­ti­vate, start­ing with chil­dren as young as three years old who have been play­ing for the last 11 years and with the best mu­si­cians and teach­ers in the area.”

Thanks to fund­ing from the Thai royal gov­ern­ment, the TPO has grown into one of the best sym­phonic en­sem­bles in South­east Asia since its found­ing nearly 10 years ago. It doesn’t hurt that its home base – the Mahi­dol’s Col­lege of Mu­sic – is one of the most pres­ti­gious mu­sic con­ser­va­to­ries in South­east Asia.

The orches­tra is made up of 95 mu­si­cians. These in­clude pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians, teach­ers at the Col­lege of Mu­sic, and stu­dents who hail from more than 15 dif­fer­ent na­tions.

“Thai­land is not very dif­fer­ent from Myan­mar,” Su­gree said, not­ing the ex­or­bi­tant travel fees and chal­lenges of trans­port­ing in­stru­ments across borders. “Set­ting up a pro­fes­sional sym­phony orches­tra here is not easy.”

De­spite the com­pli­ca­tions that arise co­or­di­nat­ing travel plans for 120 mu­si­cians, Su­gree says it is all worth it as his dream to share the TPO with Myan­mar is about to be re­alised. This year marks the TPO’s fifth tour, hav­ing first per­formed in Thai­land, Ja­pan in 2009, New Zealand in 2012, and Laos in 2013.

“This is a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple in Myan­mar and Thai­land,” he said with high hopes that the con­cert will spark a mu­tual and mu­si­cal ex­change be­tween the two coun­tries. “And in the fu­ture, I look for­ward to per­for­mances by the Myan­mar Sym­phony.”

Any­thing but con­ven­tional, the TPO per­forms a myr­iad of mu­si­cal stylings with a port­fo­lio of 10 CDs, in­clud­ing tra­di­tional Thai mu­sic and newer works from in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised com­posers.

This week­end the orches­tra will share the stage with Myan­mar and Ger­man mu­si­cians, offering au­di­ences the works of clas­si­cal Euro­pean com­posers, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, as well a taste of home with the Myan­mar and Thai na­tional an­them and tra­di­tional Myan­mar mu­sic.

In Yan­gon and Man­dalay, the con­certs will be­gin at 7pm and 6:30pm in Nay Pyi Taw, free of charge.

In case you miss the live con­certs, Myan­mar Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion (MRTV) will live-stream the show on TV.

To RSVP, or for more in­for­ma­tion, head to www.goethe.de/myan­mar.

Pho­tos: Sup­plied

The Thai­land Phil­har­monic Orches­tra kicks off its first-ever Myan­mar tour on Au­gust 26 in Yan­gon.

Chief con­duc­tor Gudni Emils­son will lead the orches­tra, which is one of the best sym­phonic en­sem­bles in the South­east Asian re­gion.

Emils­son con­ducts his mu­si­cians with flair.

The 95 mu­si­cians will also per­form in Man­dalay and Nay Pyi Taw.

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