The magnificent Klais Pipe Organ serves as the backdrop to Malaysia’s most exquisite concert hall, the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP). A total of 2,977 pipes, ranging from just an inch tall to a towering 32ft, make up this instrument that broadens the dimensions and musical range of concerts performed in the hall. Lavishly decorated and exuding a warm ambience, the wooden interior is an architectural work of art. Its members, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, have attracted capacity attendances since day one and have garnered worldwide recognition.
The orchestra isn’t confined to traditional styles, serving up a blend of classical and contemporary concerts and hosting a raft of top international artistes from across the musical board. The month of May is no different, with a variety of performances on offer, showcasing the scope of genres you can experience at the hall.
First up, we have something from the classical stable and part of an ongoing series of solo concertos honouring the great Maestro, Ludwig Van Beethoven. The two-day performance, playing on 5 and 6 May, features local pianist Foo Mei Yi, who has captivated audiences around Europe with her “personal, intelligent and unique interpretations” (La Opinion Granada). Backed by the MPO, she’ll be carving through Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2, a rousing piece that sent waves through the musical world back in the late18th century. Austrian conductor Christian Arming takes to the rostrum to guide the musicians through the pieces, including two Viennese symphonies, by Haydn and Schumann.
The genres sway and so do the musicians at a night dubbed Swingin’ with the MPO on 12 and 13 May, where you’ll find Eileen Ivers on the fiddle and vocals delivering Bluegrass and Dixieland numbers with a Gaelic twist. And what would an Irish night be without a drop of the Black Stuff? Yes, that’s right, you’ll be able to enjoy the popular stout while you sit back and watch the musicians belt out the numbers. With globally famous Richard Kaufman conducting, what more could you possibly ask for?
Malaysia’s fresh young talent and Neo-Soul purveyor of the finest order, Najwa Mahiaddin, takes the stage to spice things up in the hall with her blend of jazz, funk, ABOVE The MPO.hip-hop and pop. This highly ambitious and driven individual is slowly realising her dream of becoming a professional singer, and with a husky voice that oozes soul and a quietly confident delivery, coupled with influences like Billie Holiday and Diana Ross, it’s no wonder she’s slated as the next Malaysian soul idol.
So, there you have it. One classical evening with Beethoven, one jazzed-up Irish recital led by Richard Kaufman and one souled-out concert with Najwa that should probably come with a dance floor in case the rhythm does eventually get you. There are few places in the world where you can experience the assortment of genres available at the DFP under one roof, and with prices ranging between RM30 and RM150, it ranks among the most reasonable and affordable philharmonic concert halls in the world. An evening at the DFP is a great way to ease the pressures and stresses of the day. Enjoy the show!
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2
When: 5-6 May
Swingin’ with the MPO
When: 12-13 May
When: 21 May