19 Dec 2009

An Indonesian in KL - Insights into KLCMF 09

Our attention towards the city is only towards that which can be seen.
We forget that our ears quietly capture whatever we hear within it.

Last month a contemporary music festival in Kuala Lumpur approached the theme of the city from the angle that is not captured by the eye. The composer, lost in contemplation of the sounds that inhabit the city, manifested in the form of seminars as well as in the works that were presented.

During the three days from 27th to 29th November, the Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival 09 staged 43 works,  as well as workshops for young composers, five seminars and one panel discussion.

The event was packed with activity, efficiently executed, and at the same time warm and friendly. It was very much unlike big festivals for the elite, in which people feel proud to be included as part of the event for its namesake, but where they really are merely a part of an gigantic anonymous body devoid of intimacy.

Besides being efficient and friendly, KLCMF 09 has another oddity for me as an Indonesian: the interrelatedness of belief. I received an envelope containing my fee as promised, without signature!

28 Nov 2009

Composing in a bi-cultural environment - a European composer and the gamelan experience

Abstract After years of dominance of post-Adornoist historicism - "…The rules are not created arbitrarily. They are configurations of the historic pressure of the musical material…"(Adorno on Schönberg's dodecaphony, in: "Philosophie der neuen Musik", Frankfurt 1958, page 61) - the time has come to acknowledge other "pressures" with a more spacial character. In this realm, Indonesian gamelan music has increasingly played a significant role for Western composers since the late 19th century in various ways. 
Yet, my personal occupation with another culture or its respective forms of musical expression has never sprung from being fed up with the European world, and therefore has also never been a form of escape. My occupation has also nothing to do with the search for new kicks or as it was polemically formulated by Helmut Lachenmann, the search for "non-European fresh meat". My interest was based exclusively on a genuine curiousness, to learn about the life, mentality and thought of other people in order to learn for the sake of learning.
However, to learn something has nothing to do with a false compensation for various artistic shortcomings. Since my creative beginnings, it was self-evident for me that historical responsibility could not be the sole measure for my artistic and cultural orientation. Moreover I am convinced that the occupation with the present is of utmost importance, especially in a time of potential globally disseminated simplifications and superficialities. 

1 Nov 2009

Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival 09

The 1st KL Contemporary Music Festival 09 is organised by Goethe-Institut Malaysia and the Malaysian Composers Collective, together with event co-organiser SEGi College Subang Jaya, to be held in Kuala Lumpur from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 November 2009.

The festival, with this year's theme of Urban Soundscapes, will bring together the best of Malaysian and South East Asian contemporary music at nightly concerts by Ensemble Mosaik and Hong Kong New Music Ensemble.

The weekend programme of evening concerts will be held at Segi College University Kota Damansara Auditorium A, with a special Alternative Avant Garde electroacoustic concert at the Central Market Annexe by HKNME and guest musicians. These concerts will explore how composers respond to the festival theme of city life with its many facets and issues.

The Festival also includes the Asian Composers' Conference with talks by invited regional composers such as Dr Anothai Nitibhon (Thailand), Dr Hoh Chung Shih (Spore), Dr Jonas Baes (Philippines), Prof Slamet Sjukur (Indonesia), Prof Dieter Mack (Germany) and more.

KLCMF 09 represents the first regional contemporary music festival of its kind in Malaysia and the premiere contemporary music event of the year. It serves as a platform where Malaysian and South East Asian composers can meet, exchange ideas and celebrate our region's rich musical talent.

31 Oct 2009

KLCMF 09: We Built This City

The KLCMF 09 featured three days of non-stop new music explosion in the city of Kuala Lumpur as never heard before. Here is the detailed programme as well as samples of the concerts:

Friday 27 Nov 2009
ensemble mosaik presents
Malaysian voices and their songs of the city
Performed by Ensemble Mosaik
Guests: Nicholas Ong (piano), Ong May Yi (zhong ruan), Muriz Contemporary Trio

The festival opens with a concert of Malaysian composers and their reflections on life in the city, performed by Ensemble Mosaik, a leading German new music ensemble.

Hear the cacophonies of the city in Adeline Wong's Paces, the dichotomies of city life in Ng Chong Lim's Morning Mist. Among others, CH Loh questions the legitimacy of the highrise structures in the city, while Ahmad Muriz escapes the choking Klang Valley smog for some refreshing sea breeze.

The concert features a Special Festival Commission from Tan Zi Hua, winner of the HSBC Young Composers Workshop 08 with his constantly thought-provoking inspirations. We Built This City will be an evening of kaleidescopic sounds, and includes collaborations with gamelan, zhong ruan and a myriad of sounds familiar or frightening.


1 Oct 2009

Of Prophets And Bandits - Interview with Slamet A Sjukur

Father of Indonesian contemporary classical music Slamet Sjukur speaks candidly about Tari Pendet and life in general.

Malaysians (or at least some Malaysians) may hold the view that our great nation is superior to our neighbour, and possible ancestor, across the Straits, but one only has to look at the music scene to know that this couldn't be further from the sad truth. I am not talking about Gamelan, because to do so would only bring further embarrassment to ourselves, but of the contemporary classical music scene. While we were still struggling with putting joget and keronchong into orchestral dress, one Indonesian pioneer was already making the archipelago known amongst the ranks of the Paris avant-garde in the 70s.

Malaysian premieres since 1995

Here is a roundup of premieres of Malaysian works at home and abroad. Since the mid-90s Malaysian works have been performed largely abroad...

Malaysian Composers TV

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