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'From Thailand with Love' for King Bhumibol 'The Great'

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 8/12/2021 Adrian David
© Provided by New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Select guests were recently treated to the rare, royal compositions of the late Thai monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej 'The Great'.

The 'From Thailand With Love' piano recital was held to celebrate the birthday anniversary of his majesty, at the Fairview International School in Section 6, Wangsa Maju.

Thai ambassador Chainarong Keratiyutwong played host at the event conducted by Steinway artist and talented Thai pianist Poom Prommachart.

The event was also held to mark Thailand's national day and Father's Day.

Poom opened the evening with renditions of 'Still on My Mind', 'Alexandra', 'Love', 'Sweet Words', 'Near Dawn' and 'Echo'.

This was followed by a piano and string quintet performance of Frederic Chopin's (1810-1849) 'Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op. 11' by Poom and Ling Yun Zhi (violin), Yang Lang Jian (violin), Fan Ran (viola), Stephen Tseu (cello) and Foo Yin Hong (double bass).

The evening ended with Poom doing a duet with saxophonist and University College Fairview lecturer Scarlet Gouk, playing the famous Thai number 'Bua Kao' (White Lotus).

Present at the event were Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, Fairview International School chairman Daniel Chian, its director Dr Vincent Chian and ambassadors.

Chainarong explained that King Bhumibol's natural aptitude and passion for music, especially jazz and blues, started from an early age.

"By the age of 18, his majesty composed the first piece known in English as 'Candle Light Blues', which marked the birth of his prolific works in music that ultimately brought about 48 compositions across several musical genres.

"Each song reflects his majesty's perception of places, culture and people he had encountered, for example the song 'Alexandra' was composed in honour of Princess Alexandra of Kent during her visit to Thailand," said Chainarong.

He added that throughout King Bhumibol's lifetime, he used music as a medium to bond with his people.

"And in his view, music is also like a diplomatic language between Thailand, the international community and the world," he said.

On Poom, Chainarong said the former had been passionate in music, specifically piano, from the age of ten.

"Poom's talent in music secured him a full scholarship from the late Princess Galyani Vadhana, the king's sister.

"Her royal vision to develop Thai musicians up to international standard helped many talented Thai artistes to further study in a renowned music school or institution, both in Thailand and abroad.

"Poom has received international recognition as a talented musician by winning piano competitions in Thailand, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Canada, enabling him to receive many invitations to perform around the world," said Chainarong.

He added that despite Poom's fame in the classical music industry, his Thai roots had never been forgotten.

Thus, Poom used his talents to pay tribute to his majesty's love and achievements in music, said Chainarong.

Meanwhile, Chian said there was a better way today for thousands of students to have a unique opportunity to enjoy education.

"At Fairview, we believe that good quality education should be for every child, not just the rich and wealthy.

"We believe that international education involves teachers from all countries, not just those from the native English speaking countries," he said.

Chian added that one could not reduce an activity, just by jumping over hurdles as nothing would become pleasurable anymore.

"I believe this holds true in most areas of life including music, work and of course education.

"That is why Fairview moved away from the 'O'-Level examinations almost 15 years ago to the International Baccalaureate system," said Chian.

He quoted Christian Anderson who had said "where words fail, music speaks".

Thus, he said Fairview believed that music should be a part of every child's education.

He announced a RM10 million talent search initiative in music at Fairview's Asian Arts Academy to raise funds for two schools - SJK(C) Lee Rubber and SJK(C) Mun Yee.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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