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Classical concert to hit the Penh

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Violinist Uy Tach is one of five Cambodian soloists who will be performing with Germany’s Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra at the InterContinental Phnom Penh. Photo Supplied

Classical music-lovers are in for a treat on October 12, when the InterContinental Phnom Penh will host a concert by the world-famous Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra and young Cambodian soloists, as part of its Series 2011.

The program will include music by Stamitz, Schubert, Tschaikowsky and Respighi, and the performance will kick off at 8pm in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom.

The concert is organised under the patronage of Dr Wolfgang Moser, the German ambassador to Cambodia, and is a joint effort between the German Embassy, the Art+ Foundation, and the InterContinental.

The concert will be the first time the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra performs with Cambodian soloists in Cambodia.

Critics have praised the orchestra for its “unparalleled musical culture” (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and “breathtaking brilliance” (Die Welt), while the Washington Post commended its precision, sophistication and homogeneous sound.

Apart from classical compositions, the orchestra’s repertoire includes familiar and lesser-known works from the Romantic period, the early modern age and the avant-garde.

Its principal conductor is Ruben Gazarian, who joined in time for the 2002-2003 season.

Five local soloists will perform with the orchestra in Phnom Penh, hailing from the Royal University of Fine Arts.

The soloists are:

Mrs Him Savy on flute. Him Savy began learning traditional Khmer music in her home village, and performed at Buddhist ceremonies with several music groups. Motivated by her uncle, Professor Him Sophy, she moved to Phnom Penh to study traditional music, instrumentals, and vocal Khmer music. With the support of her family, she then changed her major and started to play western traverse flute. After a period of self-instruction, she received training from her teacher Eang Seng Thai in 1990 and continued her studies for six years at the Royal University of Fine Arts under local teachers, as well as temporary guest teachers. She now teaches the flute at the Faculty of Music in Phnom Penh. Since 2001, she has taken lessons from Anton Isselhardt of Germany. As a soloist she performed with the Tuebinger Kammerorchester in 2009.

Mrs Uy Tach on violin. Since 1988, Uy Tach has been trained by Cambodian and Vietnamese teachers at the Royal University of Fine Arts. She also studied with violin teachers from Europe, and teaches violin at the Faculty of Music in Phnom Penh.

As a violinist and concert master with the Phnom Penh String Orchestra, she plays an important role in the development of western classical music in Cambodia. Uy Thach is trained by several violinists in the Art+ Foundation’s international teacher network, including Markus Gundermann from the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr Sim Ratha on violoncello. Since 1988, Sim Ratha has been trained by several Cambodian and Vietnamese teachers at the Royal University of Fine Arts. In 1992, he studied cello as a major at the Faculty of Music and graduated with a bachelor degree. He has performed with various university ensembles in folklore and entertainment shows at international hotels in Phnom Penh, and has also played at official occasions. Since 2006 he has been a regular member of the Phnom Penh String Orchestra and the PNH String Quartet.

Mr El Leang on viola. El Leang studied the kim, a Cambodian-Chinese traditional string instrument, and traditional music at the Royal University of Fine Arts. His father, El Chhan, played the Cambodian dtro (traditional violin). After discovering the western viola, El Leang was trained by the legendary OMF missionary Alice Compain for four years. Since 2006, he has played with the Phnom Penh String Orchestra. In 2010, he was invited to the Asean Youth Orchestra in Hanoi.

Mr. Chhun Sopha on violin. Chhun Sopha started playing the violin at the age of 15, first studying under several Vietnamese teachers, and then with Cambodian teachers at the Royal University of Fine Arts.

He was also trained by Alice Compain for four years, and received individual training from the French violinist Xavier d”Absac. In 2006, Chhun Sopha joined the music education program of the Art+ Foundation, and is an important force in several chamber music ensembles. He has performed with the Phnom Penh String Orchestra since 2006.

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