Malaysian composers grab spotlight in MPO online series

Classical music fans only managed to catch three live concerts when Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) reopened on April 17 after 13 months of pandemic closure.

At present, DFP is shut again under the latest lockdown but the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) is still keeping the music alive with its ongoing "MPOPlaysOn" online series.

This time, the MPO is collaborating with the Malaysian Composers Collective (MCC) to present a digital audio collection called MPOPlaysOn: Malaysian Composers Series – Vol 1.

Established in 2007, the MCC has been actively promoting Malaysian composers at home and abroad.

The new series, which can be streamed for free on the MPO TV Youtube channel, features a selection of classical works and insightful conversations by Malaysian composers under the MCC banner such as Vivian Chua, Johan Othman, Ng Chong Lim, Adeline Wong and Ahmad Muriz Che Rose.

MPOPlaysOn: Malaysian Composers Series – Vol 1 serves as a pandemic-era spotlight on the homegrown orchestral scene.

All 11 works featured in this digital series were performed by the MPO at the MPO Forum For Malaysian Composers concerts between 2003 and 2006.

Highlights include Chua’s Mercu Kegemilangan (commissioned for MPO's 20th anniversary season), Ahmad Muriz’s Bertabuh Kala Senja, a work featuring harmonic and melodic elements signifying dusk and dawn, Johan Othman's Topeng 1 performance referencing the mythical bird Garuda, and Ng’s Rimba, a tropical rainforest-inspired work.

For a literary twist, Wong’s Snapshots is inspired by The Lovely Bones novel by Alice Sebold.

The MPOPlaysOn online series premiered last September with Beethoven’s Symphony No.4 on its MPO TV Youtube channel.

The campaign is an initiative to provide high-quality orchestral performances to the public digitally during the pandemic.

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