Canadian singer-pianist Diana Krall wasn’t kidding when she said she would come back to Kuala Lumpur as often as she could when she made her first appearance in Malaysia back at the Philips International Jazz Festival in 2001. She is one of the highlights of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra’s (MPO) 18th season programme, which opens in August.
Krall, making her fifth visit to these shores, is booked for a concert date at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) on Feb 15, 2016.
It’s her first show at the DFP and she will bring her Wallflower world tour repertoire here for this upcoming concert. Wallflower, released earlier this year, features pop ballads from the 1960s and 1970s, including tracks from Bob Dylan, The Mamas And The Papas, The Eagles and Elton John.
Krall, 50, might be a huge pop draw but this upcoming new MPO season is bound to get classical music fans back on side with its list of classical names and programmes.
Neeme Jarvi (pronounced Yervi), 78, the legendary US-based Estonian-born conductor, is a man who can add sparkle to any classical season. He conducts an all-Russian programme (Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov) with the MPO, featuring pianist Tengku Irfan (performing Rachmaninoff’s Third), on April 30 and May 1. Jarvi will be making his Malaysian debut with these shows.
Grammy award-winning Italian conductor Fabio Luisi, who is principal conductor of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, also returns to DFP for a two-night engagement featuring Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 this Nov 7-8.
French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is another MPO favourite making his way back here this Oct 16-17, His upcoming engagements are centred on Concerto In F by George Gershwin. On Dec 5-6, acclaimed Japanese conductor Kazuyoshi Akiyama presents a work from his homeland (Oguri), followed by Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and Elgar’s First Symphony.
Another solid addition to the classical programme is Austrian conductor Hans Graf working with the MPO again with two shows (March 18-19) featuring Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11. This season will feature debuts with the MPO by classical notables, including violinist Augustin Hadelich, pianist Conrad Tao, trumpeter Pacho Flores, and conductors Roberto Abbado, Giancarlo Guerrero and Federico Cortese.
MPO’s Ballet Festival (Jan 8-10), a musical extravaganza featuring dancers from the renowned Stars of the Moscow Ballet, is not too be missed. Pieces like Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet and Adolphe Adam’s Giselle will be the soundtrack for these performances.
In another first, the MPO will play Mozart’s magnificent Requiem on Jan 30-31 – his incomplete, final composition, but a work that still stands out as one of his most compelling and impactful masterpieces. These shows, celebrating Mozart’s 260th anniversary, will feature Aga Mikolaj (soprano), Jennifer Johnston (mezzo-soprano), Benjamin Hulett (tenor) and Paulo Szot (baritone).
Grammy-award winning saxophonist, composer and bandleader Branford Marsalis is a fine selection for MPO’s Season Finale on June 5, 2016. He last played two classical concerts at the DFP in 2006. Next June, Marsalis plays cinematic master John Williams’ Escapades, Milhaud’s sprightly Scaramouche and Mussorgsky’s majestic Pictures At An Exhibition.
Elsewhere, the MPO’s pop programming highlights include The Music Of Queen (Aug 14-16) and Star Wars And Beyond (Dec 17-18), while local stars Zainal Abidin and Faizal Tahir will also hold down their own string-laden crowd-pulling shows.
The subscription launch for the new season is on June 27. Single (performance) tickets go on sale on July 11. More info: www.mpo.com.my. Call 03-2331-7007.