BBC airs music from MCC's Free Hand Festival


The Malaysian Composers Collective (MCC) has done Malaysia proud yet again, as music from its groundbreaking Free Hand Festival 2019 at UCSI University's Institute of Music in 2019 made it into world-famous UK broadcaster BBC's classical music channel BBC Radio 3 beginning last October, 2020.

It's yet another milestone for MCC, putting Malaysian new music on the world map as the BBC weekly contemporary music programme New Music Show featured several recordings from the festival as part of its usual line up of cutting edge composers from all over Europe such as the UK, Germany, Poland, Finland and beyond.

Perhaps for the first time in recent history, music from Malaysia was mentioned four times in the past five months.

The series of broadcasts began on the October 3rd edition of New Music Show, which featured Adeline Wong's Herringbone

Following this, the October 24th edition Warsaw Autumn included Mei Yi Foo's performance of Tazul Tajuddin's Kabus Pantun at the Free Hand concert in Kuala Lumpur, a work that presenter Tom Service described as "a rare alchemy".

On December 3rd, the show featured one of Free Hand 2019's winning works Sympathetic {Re}sonance by Lee Chie Tsang, and the channel aired CH Loh's Morning At Klang Harbour on February 20th, 2021.

During the broadcasts MCC's Free Hand Festival and piano anthology that followed were described as a "visionary project", and the works "distinctive".

With this growing interest in Malaysian new music, we may yet hear from our composers on the New Music Show!

Polish Nights

This exciting development was however not the first time MCC had put Malaysian music onto the international airwaves.

In 2014 MCC helped Polish radio station Polskie Radio or Radio Poland (www.polskieradio.pl) put together a programme of key Malaysian composers' works at the request of the producer Krzysztof Dziuba, who hosts one of the slots on the programme "Letnia Noc" (Summer Night).

The all-Malaysian programme introduced European listeners to the music of Ahmad Muriz, Jessica Cho, Hardesh Singh, Johan Othman, CH Loh, Ng Chong Lim, Adeline Wong in recordings taken from the Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival 2009 ( KLCMF 09), HSBC Young Composers Workshop 2008 and other sources.

Meanwhile in 2009, music from KLCMF 09 was featured on Goethe Institut's German radio station in a special programme after the highly successful regional festival, giving followers of the German cultural institute's listeners a chance to experience the wide variety of new music from both Malaysia and South East Asia that was on display at the pioneering festival organised by MCC.

In 2008, MCC's Young Composers Workshop was also featured on television channel NTV7 and on Astro Awani's interview with MCC founder CH Loh on its morning chat show.

Listen to a compilation of excerpts from the BBC broadcasts:

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