After the intense musical experience they had during this year's Silpakorn Summer Music School, nearly 100 of the rigorously selected young musicians gave their final concert under the baton of Hikotaro Yazaki at the headquarters of Siam Commercial Bank last weekend.
Maestro Hikotaro Yazaki with the students at Silpakorn Summer Music School.
The concert was well attended considering the fact that it was held on the long public-holiday weekend. The orchestra members, who ranged from 15-year-old secondary pupils to university students, were well received by an audience that included Privy Councillor ML Usni Pramoj, former foreign minister Kasit Bhirom and Asst Prof Chaicharn Thavaravej, president of Silpakorn University. The atmosphere in the Mahisorn Hall was most lively, thanks to the presence of a host of enthusiastic young music lovers, their families and friends.
Held annually and getting stronger every year (this is the ninth to date), the Silpakorn Summer Music School has been providing great opportunities for youngsters to develop their musical potential thanks to the guidance provided by the extraordinarily dedicated faculty members and staff.
The programme for the Bangkok concert was well selected with a repertoire that was amenable to both music aficionados and the general public. At the same time, the music challenged and put demands on the orchestra members who were required to master it within a limited period of time.
I was told by Ajarn Damrih Banawitayakit, dean of Silpakorn's Faculty of Music, that after sectional coaching, the young musicians had only nine days for full orchestra rehearsals under the direction of maestro Yazaki (who has willingly given of his time over the past few years to this particular summer music camp).
The programme commenced with the flamboyant and festive Carnival Overture by Dvorak (Opus 92). Led by British concertmaster Leo Phillips, the full force of the orchestra was brilliantly brought out, evoking a great feeling of youthful high spirits and unity. The solo part played by different instruments allowed musicians to demonstrate their individual skills. The whole orchestra offered a vast palette of sound and a variety of moods. It was indeed an enjoyable introduction.
The Silpakorn Summer Music School often selects young musicians to perform solo with an orchestra and over the past few years several extraordinary young pianists have been given such a potentially life-changing opportunity.
Supak Wittayanukulluk, a third year (with full scholarship) student at Silpakorn who is majoring in the clarinet, played Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 1 In F Minor, Opus 73, giving a very elegant rendition. Rousing cheers from the audience welcomed the award-winning but humble-mannered Supak onto the stage. His phrasing of the melody was natural, sensitive and moved smoothly with an orchestra. Intricate passages were fluently played with pleasant, round sounds.
The evening's entertainment closed with Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade-Symphonic Suite, Opus 35. The music was lively, full of dramatic and limitless imagination. The string section showed a great sense of unity and teamwork. The members of the orchestra responded sensitively to their conductor. A wonderful teacher and artist, maestro Yazaki has amazed many with his ability to identify potential talents among his young charges.
The success of this concert clearly demonstrates the benefits of this summer music school as a way of providing priceless experience to budding musicians. All credit must go to the organiser, Silpakorn's Faculty of Music, and to the sponsors, Siam Commercial Bank and the Siam Commercial Foundation, for their generous support.
The standard of Western music as played in Thailand has been rising at a rapid rate. The size of audiences has also been gradually increasing. The importance of the process of learning, nurturing, working and improving cannot be overemphasised. But, as we all know from bitter experience, budgets for promoting culture and arts have always been the last to be allocated and the very first to be cut. The domestic classical music scene cannot survive on its own; to thrive, it needs continuous support from both the government and business sectors.
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About the author
- Writer: Tretip Kamolsiri