JOHOR Bahru’s Classical Music Festival is happening this Friday, and a talented ensemble of musicians hailing from the professional arena, UCSI University, ASWARA, UPM, UiTM, and MIA are performing in the Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia (PWM) just waiting to blow your mind!
Their focus has always been in nurturing the passion and skill of young musicians, especially for wind, brass and percussion players. They were formerly known as Symphonic Winds of the National Symphony Orchestra (SWONSO), and were once invited to perform at the 23rd Chiayi City International Band Festival in Taiwan under the baton of Mr. Eric Lee – their esteemed conductor.
We wanted to get to know more about the inner workings of the orchestra, so we approached their President/General Manager, Lai Pak Kin. Check out our short interview below to get to know the PWM
1) Could you introduce yourself and the Philharmonics Winds of Malaysia?
I am Lai Pak Kin, the president of Philharmonics Winds of Malaysia. Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia is a non-profit organisation, founded by a group of proficient musicians. The ensemble is a wind orchestra made up of professional musicians and tertiary music students. Our ensemble aims to promote wind and band music, while enhancing the art of wind playing amongst the community by creating platform for wind players to play and perform. Part of the ensemble’s strategy in nurturing competent upcoming young musicians are to selectively place them amongst experienced musicians, so to create an exclusive platform where they are able to learn from and get hands-on experience in playing with a professional.
2) A short history of Philharmonic Winds and the milestones you’ve encountered as the President?
The ensemble which was formally known as National Symphony Orchestra (SWONSO) and was invited to perform during the 23rd Chiayi City International Band Festival. Then, Philharmonics Winds of Malaysia made its debut on August 26th, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur. Since the formation of the Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia in 2016, the committee has been very committed and active in getting sponsorship, organizing ensemble performance, player gathering and the three concerts we had. Player’s affair is one of the main focus, we always been hoping to grant some allowance for the effort they rendered to the development of the ensemble.
3) Could you tell us a little bit of what’s in the works for this weekend for your musical ensemble?
This is a concert featuring Bastien Baumet – a renowned French Euphonium player. Bastien is the prize winner of few famous and major contests. He will be playing few famous solo works and accompanied by the orchestra, Harlequin and Nessun Dorma to name a few. Nevertheless, Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia will be playing few more famous dances such as Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Danzón No.2.
4) How was your interest in music formed? Have you been passionate about wind orchestras or orchestras from childhood?
I am not born in a family of musician nor talented in music since young age. No fancy story about my music development but two of my elder brothers were the main influence and inspiration in picking up music at the age of 13. Then, I joined Soka Gakkai Symphonic Band since 1997 till now and National Symphony Junior Orchestra at the second year I picked up Clarinet. Currently, I am still active in community band concert and activity.
5) Do you think there’s a lack of appreciation for orchestral music in Malaysia? If so, why?
Music development in Malaysia is getting focus especially in primary and secondary school. The music educator in Malaysia is doing a great job in cultivating the music interest the pupil in primary school at this young age. Never forget the support from some of the school management in providing financial aid in this development. Consistent support and effort in implanting music interest in school is important, this will be a long-term effect.
6) What are your plans for the future of Philharmonic Winds?
The committee has always been focusing in nurturing competent musician in both the management and technical perspective. With this, we always strive to create more platform to play to expand the exposure as well as the friendship across abroad. In the next few years, we are aiming to have couple of collaboration with oversea orchestras.
This article is written conjunction with the upcoming 2017 Johor Bahru Classical Music Festival. Presented by Johor Bahru: International Festival City (JB: IFC) with the theme “In Sync”, the festival aims to explore classical music’s universality and emphasize its relevance as an avenue for storytelling. Enjoy a fine selection of inspiring local and international performances and classes from 27th – 29th July. Find out more from JBIFC.