MPO, DFP continue to dazzle with international and local stars

As it enters its 22nd season this year, one can only expect a dazzling line-up of concerts from the classical world and presentations of timeless local masterpieces

by LYDIA NATHAN/ pic credit: DFP/MPO

Legendary singer M Nasir will join the roster in collaboration with the MPO for his solo concert in October

THE Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) are gearing for yet another year of musical adventure featuring international names and Malaysian performers that will wow the audience.

After all, as it enters its 22nd season this year, one can expect a dazzling line-up of concerts from the classical world and presentations of timeless local masterpieces. The direction and aim remain the same — to make the DFP and MPO more accessible to all Malaysians.

According to a statement released by the DFP, the concert hall will also welcome back MPO founding music director Kees Bakels as the MPO Conductor Laureate this season.

“Bakels was the central force behind the creation of the MPO in 1998 and with this appointment, he will bring the MPO to a whole new level of artistic excellence,” the statement reads.

The MPO is also expected to elevate the arts scene to a higher level this time around, especially while celebrating legend Beethoven’s 250th birthday anniversary.

Presentations of the composer’s great music throughout the season will be on show, in collaboration with violinist Karen Gomyo and Malaysian pianist Ng Chong Lim, among others.

Popular local artists, including “otai” singers Datuk M Nasir and Aishah, will join the roster in collaborations with the MPO for their solo concerts in April and October this year.

The MPO is also expected to pay tribute to renowned composer S Atan in a special Hari Raya concert themed “Senandung Lebaran” in June, featuring popular vocalists.

“All concerts will witness the MPO giving symphonic interpretations to our local music legacy,” the DFP said.

In addition, the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) will push its music boundaries through its collaborations with famed Indonesian jazz band Krakatau in February and local indie group Hujan in July.

The MPO youth brand ambassador and pianist Tengku Ahmad Irfan will return to dazzle piano music fans in June.

Adding to its programme is the Education and Outreach Programme (ENCOUNTER), which aims to bring music outside the concert platform to underprivileged Malaysians, by conducting outreach activities that focus on assisting the community to appreciate and enjoy classical tunes.

“We want to nurture the appreciation and love for music among local talents from the MPYO,” the DFP said.

The orchestra will also present its fourth Ballet Festival in June, showcasing two unmissable ballet works, “The Nutcracker” and “Cinderella”, which received a positive overwhelming response in 2013, 2016 and 2018.

Other artists debuting with the MPO include mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, pianist Lukas Vondracek and violinists Marc Bouchkov and Clara-Jumi Kang.

To add variety, the DFP will present a solo concert by pop and R&B group Ruffedge in March and a concert themed “Malam Ritma Keroncong” by Yayasan Warisan Johor in October.

Legends making a comeback this year to the DFP podium will include conductors Fabio Mechetti, Roberto Gonzalez and Junichi Hirokami.

Also returning to enthral fans this season are flautist Sharon Bezaly, cellist Istvan Vardai and horn player Radovan Vlatkovic.

Violinist Kang, among others, will debut with the MPO at DFP

A new programme, Friends of DFP, was also introduced this year, which offers discounts and benefits for members.

Some of the shows at the beginning of the year will include “Revolutionary Tales”, with Stanislav Kochanovsky as the conductor, and “Yevgeny Sudbin Plays Rachmaninoff”.

According to the DFP’s website, the latter will feature a piano concerto that has sweeping themes and lush harmonies.

“Dedicated to his hypnotherapist, this was a comeback which relaunched his career. Its iconic slow movement was later immortalised in several Hollywood films and even a pop ballad,” the website said.

For concerts in February, the MPO will present “Cirque de la Symphonie”, featuring a live violin aerialist, as well as acrobats, strongmen, contortionists and jugglers in daring routines, choreographed to classical masterpieces and contemporary favourites.

There will be two shows on Feb 8 and Feb 9, 2020.

The middle of February will belong to “Berlioz: Obsession”, which features charismatic mezzo-soprano Barron singing arias from “Les Troyens” and “La Damnation de Faust” in a radical “Symphonie Fantastique” — Berlioz’s ode to obsession and unrequited love.