Classical music fans rejoice! A bumper concert month awaits in July


The KLPac Symphonic Band – pictured is the clarinet section – is set for an outdoor series with the free admission 'Music Play Date' shows on July 16 and 17 at KLPac. Photo: KLPac Symphonic Band

There's no question that classical music concerts are back in full effect in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.

With full line-up orchestras, the joyous boom of classical music halls now continues to reach out and grab people of all ages each weekend. Audiences and players – no matter the size of the classical show – are feeding off each other’s energy.

Treat yourself to a classical concert or more next month.

REMINISCING WITH THE KLPAC STRING ORCHESTRA

Venue: KLPac

Date: July 1-3

The KLPac String Orchestra starts off the “classical” month of July with a mainstream concert spanning the Baroque and Romantic eras right to “pop specials for strings” film themes.

Edward Elgar’s Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1, first composed as a military march, is a grand statement on the setlist. Other well-known classics include Johann Strauss II’s Blue Danube Waltz, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Pavane by Gabriel Faure. For ballet fans, the orchestra will also be performing music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and Georges Bizet’s Carmen Suite.

Classics aside, the orchestra will go “big screen” with John Powell’s Test Drive from the film How To Train Your Dragon. The famed John Williams Trilogy is also part of the repertoire. Reminiscing With The KLPac String Orchestra is also Andrea Sim’s debut as the resident conductor of the KLPac String Orchestra.

More info here.

Britain-based Malaysian classical pianist Foo Mei Yi returns to the local stage with a multimedia show titled 'Far East Sounds' at PJPAC on July 6. Photo: YouTubeBritain-based Malaysian classical pianist Foo Mei Yi returns to the local stage with a multimedia show titled 'Far East Sounds' at PJPAC on July 6. Photo: YouTube

FOO MEI YI: FAR EAST SOUNDS

Venue: PJPAC, 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya

Date: July 6

Award-winning London-based Malaysian classical pianist Foo Mei Yi returns to the local stage with an immersive multimedia performance titled Far East Sounds, in collaboration with Gema Bumi (a project by composer Yii Kah Hoe with director William Kok). The event at PJPAC's experimental Nero theatre is described as “a unique concert that fuses music with the natural soundscape of South East Asia”.

Leading with the piano, Foo will play works from a cast of composers, contemporary classical musicians, classical Chinese and improv musicians, including Unsuk Chin, Dai Fujiwara, Jack Body, Lou Harrison, Wayan Yudane, and Evan Ziporyn.

The concert also includes an interactive video element to project the richness and biodiverse sounds from the ancient rainforests in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia. The Seremban-born Foo is the winner of numerous prizes, including the 2013 BBC Music Magazine’s Best Newcomer of the Year award. In 2017, she released the well-received ConNotations album, which contained the works of Shostakovich, Berg and Saint-Saens.

More info here.

MUSIC PLAY DATE – OUTDOOR CONCERT

Venue: KLPac

Date: July 16 and 17

Here's an outdoor classical concert in a family-friendly environment at KLPac. It’s time to put on your sun hats and shorts, kick off your shoes and enjoy some fun-filled classical music at the KLPac Symphonic Band’s first ever lawn concert.

Set against the idyllic backdrop of the Sentul Park lake, this brunch weekend concert (11.30am-12.30pm), conducted by Cheryl Mah, features 34 musicians, who will be taking turns in groupings such as duets and quintets to entertain you.

Expect many well-loved and familiar tunes such as Beauty And The Beast, The Lord Of The Rings and The Merry Widow Selection. If you’re up for it, you can also join in the interactive music activities the KLPac Symphonic Band has in store for the young masses. Add a picnic to the equation, if you please.

This concert series is free admission, but KLPac welcomes donations.

More info here.

On July 16, the MPO concert titled 'Beatles Go Baroque' offers a celebratory bundle with the best of the Fab Four catalogue set to baroque arrangements. Photo: AFPOn July 16, the MPO concert titled 'Beatles Go Baroque' offers a celebratory bundle with the best of the Fab Four catalogue set to baroque arrangements. Photo: AFP

BEATLES GO BAROQUE

Venue: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, KLCC

Date: July 16

For those into crowd-pleasing mash-ups, this Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) concert offers a celebratory bundle with the best of the Fab Four catalogue set to baroque arrangements.

At this concert, the Lennon-McCartney songbook has been reset for chamber orchestra by prolific Slovak-born composer Peter Breiner. This collection of Beatles “concertos” were first released in the early 1990s through the Naxos label.

At this two-hour show, MPO’s setlist will include 18th-century masterpieces such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons combined with the Beatles’ most timeless hits such as Hey Jude, Here Comes the Sun and Get Back. Conducted by Naohisa Furusawa.

More info here.

MALAYSIAN CENTURY CHINESE ORCHESTRA - CENTURIA

Venue: KLPac

Date: July 16 and 17

Malaysia Century Chinese Orchestra (MCCO), led by music director Chong Koi Min, returns after a two-year hiatus with the Centuria concert.

The programme will highlight classical works from different eras, including beloved Chinese classical pieces and the epic Concerto For Two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531: I. Allegro: Antonio Vivaldi to stir up the grand evening.

The Chinese classical spread includes Sword And Soul: Liu Wen Jin, Flower Drums of Fengyang – A Rhapsody: Yuwen Peng & Chen Yi-Chien (Ruan Ensemble), Chant On Strings: Li Bochan (erhu: Ng Kun Ee), Spring In Eluanbi: Leung-Fai Lo (sheng: Lim Tzyy Han), Koa-a hi Fantasia: Huan Shin-Tsai (suona: Eric Tan) and Ode To Hero - Ode To Love: Li Bochan (erhu: Chai Yun Jiet, Gaohu: Chan Wei Chuen).

More info here.

Lee Kok Leong, resident conductor of the KLPac Orchestra, helms 'Tchaikovsky – The Great Romantic Master' on July 22-24. Photo: HandoutLee Kok Leong, resident conductor of the KLPac Orchestra, helms 'Tchaikovsky – The Great Romantic Master' on July 22-24. Photo: Handout

TCHAIKOVSKY – THE GREAT ROMANTIC MASTER

Venue: KLPac

Date: July 22-24

KLPac Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky – The Great Romantic Master under the direction of Lee Kok Leong, who is both the music director and resident conductor of the orchestra.

For the upcoming show’s opening, one of Tchaikovsky’s most well-known piano concertos, Piano Concerto No. 1 In Bb Minor, Op. 23, will be performed by pianist Dr Elaine Yap Sin Yee. The enchanting Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 13, also commonly referred to as Winter Daydreams, is also part of the repertoire.

More info here.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Venue: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, KLCC

Date: July 23

Elmer Bernstein’s iconic theme The Magnificent Seven leads the charge here, and it’s all about soundtrack scores and themes.

MPO conductor Gerard Salonga and the orchestra will present a collection of blockbuster tunes, including the intriguing Pink Panther theme, James Bond classics and the epic Titanic score.

Also featuring the music of James Horner, Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer, John Barry and Henry Mancini. Add in Lalo Schifrin’s Mission Impossible Theme to seal the deal.

More info here.

Bachfest Malaysia’s concert tour also doubles up as the official launch for Michael Maul’s 'Bach Pictorial Biography' book. Photo: HandoutBachfest Malaysia’s concert tour also doubles up as the official launch for Michael Maul’s 'Bach Pictorial Biography' book. Photo: Handout

BACHFEST MALAYSIA: OUT OF THE DEPTHS

Venue: KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, KL

Date: July 30

Out Of The Depths is the first post-lockdown concert for Bachfest Malaysia, featuring the award-winning Malaysia Bach Festival Singers and Orchestra. The setlist includes two Bach cantatas (vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment), namely Out Of The Depths I Call, Lord, To You and In All That I Do.

Michael Maul, artistic director of Bachfest Leipzig and a renowned Bach scholar, will provide a pre-concert lecture. The concert also doubles up as the official book launch for Maul’s Bach Pictorial Biography, which features a collection of more than 140 pictures from 30 German libraries, museums, and archives.

This concert tour will also include Sabah (Kota Kinabalu), Sarawak (Bintulu, Sibu), and Penang (George Town).

More info here.

MPO's 'No. 5 Beethoven' show on July 30 features resident conductor Gerard Salonga (pic) and pianist Ng Chong Lim. Photo: MPO MPO's 'No. 5 Beethoven' show on July 30 features resident conductor Gerard Salonga (pic) and pianist Ng Chong Lim. Photo: MPO

NO. 5 BEETHOVEN

Venue: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, KLCC

Date: July 30

The electrifying Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is perhaps the iconic musical moment of all time – written while the German composer was already deaf, and imprinted in our collective memory since centuries ago. The opening bars of the work have propelled this beloved piece into fame beyond the realm of classical music.

If you need a familiar classical blast to end the month of July, then this MPO concert is just perfect. Pianist Ng Chong Lim also performs the dramatic and lyrical Schumann Concerto. There’s also Mozart’s luminous Cosi fan tutte Overture to complete this MPO evening’s line-up, conducted by Gerard Salonga.

More info here.

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