12 Dec 2016

Adeline Wong's Nexus for brass premieres at MPO

Catch the premiere of Adeline Wong's Nexus for low brass quintet, performed by the MPYO and MPO musicians at Dewan Filharmonik on Dec 14, Wednesday for their 2016/17 season.

Nexus is scored for alto trombone, tenor trombone, bass trombone and 2 bass tubas.

According to Wong, the work is a continuation of the ideas explored in her previous works Interweaves for string quartet and Longing, for quartet, solo cello, electronics and multimedia premiered in 2012.

Longing was first premiered as Lengt in Norway, a collaboration with Norwegian artist-photographer Are Andreassen on whose nature photography Wong's string quartet work was originally inspired.

Longing/Lengt gave birth to Interweaves, and now to Nexus, said Wong, who is preparing a lecture on this subject for Yong Siew Toh Conservatory early next year.

Wong explains in greater detail her latest opus, "Nexus is the second of a series of connected pieces that I am working on. 

“Interweaves (composed earlier this year) for string quartet marks the first piece of this series. In this process, musical materials used in the ending of a work are now utilized in the beginning of a new one.

“The ending of Interweaves is made up of repeated pizzicato, col legno and the reiteration of the interval of perfect 5ths.

“Nexus begins with repeated notes in the form of various tonguing played by the brass ensemble.  The repeated notes played with mutes, with rapid tonguing and dynamic changes, form an important texture that dominates the first part of the piece. 

“The piece slowly regains momentum and works up to faster rhythmic passages made up of perfect 5ths and continuation of repeated notes. 

“The last section of the work is reminiscent of the opening, with the use of mutes, rapid change of dynamics, but now it slows down the pace by using long sustaining notes.

“The sustained notes are made up of harmonies derived from the harmonic series heard in the earlier sections of the work,” explains Wong.

She says although the two works (Interweaves and Nexus) are connected, the different instrumentations and presentations (albeit based on earlier materials) makes each one a new listening experience. 

“How do you think the next piece of this series will begin after Nexus?  And for what instrument(s) will the next piece be written for?  We will have to wait and see,” says Wong enigmatically.

The concert also features works by Piazolla, Brahms, Borodin, Vivaldi and film composer Danny Elfman of 'The Simpsons' fame, with his score for A Nightmare Before Christmas heralding the festive season.

18 Oct 2016

Slamet jalan, mas: A belated farewell to Slamet Sjukur

'Being a composer is amusing; no one cares about his living or his usefulness.' 
- Slamet Sjukur, October 2009

I had the pleasure of meeting the most intriguing Asian composer some years back, Indonesian veteran Slamet Sjukur. Unlike many, he had no airs about him, and did not think of himself as particularly important or notable to the new music profession.

We met twice, once in Wellington in 2007 and later when I invited him to come to Kuala Lumpur for the KLCMF 09 but Slamet spoke as if we had always been old friends.

For one, I was curious yet taken by his penchant for insisting I address him as 'mas' instead of 'pak', the respectful term for Indonesians. And he always started his correspondence with 'Mas Loh yang tercinta' (My beloved friend). And old world grace that many of us have forgotten, or do not even know.

5 Oct 2016

Interweaves CD launched in Penang, 4 Oct 2016

Malaysia's first ever CD anthology of six works by women composers 'Interweaves' was launched at Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy's office in Komtar, Penang on 4 October, 2016.

Present at the cheque presentation ceremony was the cosponsor foundation Pertubuhan Masyarakat Sihat Tanpa Alkohol Pulau Pinang, members of the national media, the composer and the artist of the cover CD Susan Loone.

At the launch Cho talked about her long held dream to produce a CD of women composers from the time she began researching Clara Schumann, realising the rarity of CDs featuring the music of women composers.

The CD is being promoted through its Facebook page, where those interested can find out how to follow the latest events, get a copy, and share the excitement with others who have received their copy of 'Interweaves':


You can also contact info@malaysiancomposers.com for a copy of the CD.


19 Sep 2016

Celebrating six works by Malaysian women composers

Interweave: to bring together, to marry different strands, to create a fabric of delightful colours. This is the theme of the new CD compilation of six works by Malaysian women composers to be released this month. The CD will be launched at an official press conference in at Komtar, Penang on 4 October, 12.30pm. Venue: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy's office.

ABOUT THE CD: Women composers have made an indelible mark on Malaysian contemporary music. On this CD, they are shown in all their colourful diversity, from modern art music to ethnic fusion and film, from Western and Indian classical to traditional Malay music to Sabahan folk.

They paint every nuance and mood imaginable, exploding with the exuberance of creation and revelling in the richness of human emotion and experience. This homage is dedicated to all our sisters, who truly hold the key to life and all its wonderful possibilities.


1 Jessica Cho - Five Little Pieces for Piano
2 Adeline Wong - Interweaves for string quartet *
3 Jyotsna Prakash - Sukhi
4 Isabella Pek - Jambatan Tamparuli for orchestra
5 Jessica Cho - Hypnagogic II for chamber ensemble
6 Adeline Wong - Chermin, excerpts from the film score

   - Opening Title / Death of Zara / Nasrin

*world premiere recording

Produced by Jessica Cho 2016 for the Malaysian Composers Collective (MCC)


1 Sep 2016

From Hang Tuah to Hanoi - Raja Mohamad Alif heads to ACL Hanoi

UiTM lecturer Raja Mohamad Alif bin Raja Mohamad Adnan represents Malaysia at this year's ACL Festival's Young Composer Competition in Hanoi. The University of London graduate has submitted a piece called ‘Taming Sari’, based on the historical figure Hang Tuah.

As the composer's programme notes explain: ‘Taming Sari’ is a composition for an ensemble consisting of 7 instruments (Trumpet in Bb, Oboe, 2 violins, viola, violoncello and double bass). 

The Malaysian traditional dagger called the Kris is the main inspiration for the composer to create the piece. Taming Sari is the name of a Kris owned by a legendary Malay warrior named Hang Tuah. Taming Sari is the most well known Kris in Malay literature, it was said to be so skillfully crafted that anyone wielding it was unbeatable.

25 Aug 2016

Adeline Wong's Interweaves premieres at the ACL Festival Hanoi in October

The Asian Composers League (ACL) in Hanoi this year will be a special occasion for award winning composer Adeline Wong, whose string quartet Interweaves receives its world premiere at the festival.

It was composed specially for the Malaysian Women Composers CD project headed by Jessica Cho, which is in progress and is due for completion in September.

The ACL will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 12 - 18, 2016 in conjunction with the 2nd "Asia - Europe" New Music Festival in Vietnam 2016 at the Vietnam National Academy of Music.

Malaysian works featured at the festival include:
  • Interweaves for String Quatet - Adeline Wong (world premiere)
  • Desir Angin Cina Selatan (Sounds of the South China Sea Winds) for chamber group - Ahmad Muriz Che Rose
  • Jasper Singh Pestonji for Bass clarinet, Cello and Tape - Hardesh Singh
  • Taming Sari for oboe, trumpet and string quartet - Raja Mohamad Alif (Young composer's competition)

10 Jun 2016

Hardesh Singh turns film music on its head

Who is this "composer and sometime jazz guitarist" whose film music has struck a new chord with movie-makers? Off The Edge in 2006 interviewed Hardesh Singh, composer, musician and record producer, and one of the co founders of the Malaysian Composers Collective.

One quiet evening, a CD landed in my mailbox that changed my life. Opening it, I found a strangely fruity soundtrack called 'Eating Pomeloes from Tokyo to Tamil Nadu Makes My Heart Go Gubra'. Very funny, I thought. The cover parodied Yasmin Ahmad's Gubra, and when I put it on, I was quickly obsessed with its series of quirky songs. Odd little tunes like IC popped into my head at random, and I was humming Malaria as I went about my daily affairs. I had to find a way to stop this - I had to find Hardesh Singh. But who was he?

The Internet wasn't very helpful - according to his blog, he was a 'composer, sound designer and sometimes a jazz musician'. Of course, we know that Hardesh is acknowledged as a talented composer involved in a number of notable Malaysian films like Gubra, Chemman Chaalai and Lelaki Komunis Terakhir (LKT), but little else.

20 May 2016

34th ACL Conference and Festival in Vietnam this October

The 34th ACL Conference and Festival will be held at the Asian Music Festival (AMF) 2016 in Vietnam in conjunction with the  2nd Asia - Europe New Music Festival from October 12–18, 2016 in Hanoi and Vinh Yen city (Vinh Phuc province).

It is seven days of events aimed at providing enjoyment for a broad variety of audiences, composers and musicians. The festival is organised by the Vietnam Musicians’ Association.

Performers: Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Choir of Vietnam National Opera and Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of Vietnam National Academy of Music, Military University of Culture and Arts, Choir of the National University of Art Education and others.

The festival has called for scores for orchestra, chamber, solo piano and mixed ensemble with Vietnamese instruments.

The call for scores in the field of electroacoustic music will be released before May 31, 2016.


5 May 2016

Ainolnaim Azizol wins 3rd prize at the New Recorder Music 2016 in Lausanne

Kuantan-based composer Ainolnaim Azizol, who won 2nd prize at the ACL Festival in Japan in 2014, has won 3rd prize at the New Recorder Music 2016 in Lausanne for his piece Nadi Bumi for amplified solo alto recorder.

No stranger to the international scene, Ainolnaim also took 3rd prize for a string quartet competition in Cologne some years back.

In Nadi Bumi the composer takes his experimental style a step further exploring various techniques for the alto recorder and fashioning a piece that gives broad freedom to the performer to 'compose' the piece by selecting the order in which the segments of the piece is to be played.

It is also telling that the composer marks the mood of the piece as 'primitive', using the recorder to evoke primal sounds.

The UiTM lecturer joins composers from around the world who had submitted compositions for recorder music, and the results will be premiered at a concert on September 24 in Lausanne.

KLEX 2016: Spark - Experimental music and film festival call for submissions

The 7th edition of KLEX - Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival is looking for submissions! This year, our theme is “SPARK”. Use it as a hint or a source of inspiration and imagination. We’re awaiting your new work, starting from NOW!

Festival Dates: late November 2016
Call Release Date: 30 March 2016
Submission Deadline: 30 May 2016


2 May 2016

Rebels Without A Pause - Interview with EMACM's Kok Siew Wai

Audio anarchy in Kuala Lumpur - Off The Edge interviews Kok Siew Wai, vocal artist from the Experimental Musicians and Artists Co-operative Malaysia (EMACM).

In the poorly lit loft of Central Market's Annexe, looking through the huge glass windows at the clogged Klang River, the great white elephant Dayabumi looming over it and the city, we wait. It is almost surreal to be seated on plastic chairs in this quiet space where dance beats and disco queens used to throb to laser lights and smoke machines.

Well, the laser lights will make a comeback towards the end of the concert, but what really gets me upright is a rag tag bunch of folks who look like they are slumming a pasar malam for recyclables on a Sunday morning. Hey, that guy is holding a clarinet, and he's not even in an evening suit. Is that sort of thing permissible?

Hell, why not. He lets his horn rip and bizarre squeaks and split notes rattle the foundations of what used to be Liquid Disco, and like the call of the piper, the merry band of noisemakers join in with their own instruments. Chaos.

15 Apr 2016

Asia-Pacific Music Creators Alliance (APMA) meeting in Bangkok

Composers of the region are invited to participate in the forthcoming CISAC Asia-Pacific Committee meeting which will be held at So Sofitel Bangkok on 17th May 2016.  

The organisers hope to make use of this opportunity to have a discussion on how we may set up the Asia-Pacific Music Creators Alliance (APMA), which is a platform in Asia-Pacific established to protect the interest of music creators.  The meeting proposes to organize a discussion in the morning of 17th May 2016. 

21 Mar 2016

Shadows and Sonorities: Adeline Wong's lecture at Yong Siew Toh

Shadows and Sonorities: Drawing Shades of Asia in Composition
by Adeline Wong
Tue, 29 Mar 16
5:30pm, Steven Baxter Recital Studio,
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Singapore

Adeline Wong’s involvement in the Malaysian new music scene in the late 2000’s resulted in a number of compositions including Snapshots (2005), Chermin (2006,) Empunya yang beroleh Sita dewi (2007), Longing (2010; revised 2012).

Although her work has no direct Malaysian influences, one can hear its undertones set in western soundscapes. In this presentation, she will discuss some of the influences in her works culminating in her new work for string quartet, Interweaves (2016).

22 Jan 2016

Support our Women Composers CD project

Award winning young composer Jessica Cho has a dream, to put together an anthology of Malaysian women composers as a tribute to the rich and colourful sounds penned by the country's leading talents.

The CD will be a showcase of how far Malaysia's contemporary music scene has come over the last decade, with compositions that can stand alongside the best in the region, indeed the world.

One of Malaysia's leading composers Adeline Wong has composed a new string quartet work specially for the CD, which will also include ethnic inspired compositions by Jyotsna Prakash and Isabella Pek.

The cover art has also been specially commissioned from Malaysiakini senior journalist Susan Loone, who is an avid artist who explores among others, women's themes in her unique and audacious artwork.

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...

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