The Music Society of Myanmar hosted a gala concert called “Colors of Myanmar” at the newly opened super luxury ROSEWOOD Yangon Hotel from 5 pm to 8 pm last Saturday. Music enthusiasts from across the city filled the venue, excitedly waiting for another musical treat.
“Colors of Myanmar” has been an ongoing celebration of musical talent and creativity over the past two weeks, with last Friday’s concert at the Goethe-Intitut being an overwhelming success – Yangonites enjoyed the works of the German Classics, including Schuman, Beethoven and Mozart.
Saturday’s gala concert was another impressive event, performed by local and international musicians, combining Western instruments like the violin, flute and piano with traditional Myanmar instruments such as the harp, oboe, bamboo flute, Kachin drums, cymbals and gongs.
The festival aimed to bring about a vibrant environment for musicians in Myanmar to work together under the guidance of international artists. With the primary focus of nurturing young musical talent from across Myanmar, this year the Music Society of Myanmar held a competition alongside the public performances.
The associate director Mr Leslie Tan, and Dr Su Zar Zar, the traditional music director, welcomed the audience, followed by the congenial remarks of Mr Gabriel Lee, the founder and director of the festival. Then, they opened the event with an excellent performance by Ma Maggie May, the 3rd prize winner of the Instrumental and Vocal Competition, playing her winning piano piece with much grace and dexterity.
The next performer was fourteen year old Maung Sit Thwe Oo, the 2nd prize winner. His violin weaved a brilliant melody together with the accompaniment of the piano, and the sustained vibrato of his notes stood out within the duet, creating a beautiful soothing effect on the ears.
Then the Festival’s prize winner, as well as the Best Violinist and Audience’s Choice Musician, Naw Htoi took the stage and performed a classical duet with the piano.
Naw Htoi’s lively performance was followed by the Thai superstar pianist Poom
Instrumental melodies gave way to the human voice, as an invited choir of international singers took to the stage, headed by the Taiwanese soprano Jenny Shang-Chen Fu. The group sung two songs, the harmonies of which were more than uplifting.
The night turned distinctly jazzy after that, with double bassist Goesta Mueller from Austria – who played a stunning harpsichord at last week’s “Evening of German Classics” – jamming with the other musicians, and lifting the evening’s momentum.
There was a short interlude, presumably to let the energy dissipate among the excited audience. People had the chance to rest their ears and stretch the legs, before the harmonies of Kachin music would enliven the
Before the three young Myanmar harpists performed their Myanmar classical songs for the second part of the evening, the competition prizes were awarded.
The program resumed with a musical piece composed by Ko Wai Hin Ko Ko, performed with a mixed ensemble of Western and traditional Myanmar instruments.
Later, a Kachin piece was performed by a violinist and traditional Kachin instruments, accompanied with an energetic and colourful traditional dance. The final piece was composed by the conductor and composer Sulwyn Lok, and all the musicians took part in it.
The gala seemed to give everyone enjoyment, and the bookings exceeded capacity for the venue – demonstrating just how much Yangonites enjoy their music.