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Masters’ music builds cross-cultural bridges

A concert on May 28 is part of efforts by Art Plus Foundation to introduce more Cambodians to western classical music

THE Art Plus Foundation will present a program of western classical music on Friday, May 28, titled “Masters of ‘King’s Music’: London during the 17th Century”, the second event in the Bach-Abel Concert Series 2010.

Organiser Anton Isselhardt, who will also play flute during the performance, said the Bach-Abel series will consist of four concerts a year over five years, for a total of 20 performances. The title refers to 17th century German composers Johann Christian Bach and Karl Friedrich Abel, who spread their art to England by establishing the famous Bach-Abel concert series there.

Following the lead of these composers, Mr Isselhardt and the foundation have endeavoured to bring the art of western classical music to a wider Cambodian audience.

“We promote western classical music, western theatre, western philosophy, any kind of art,” he said. “It’s a world heritage. Like Angkor Wat, it’s not just for Cambodian people but also for the whole world.”

Mr Isselhardt said many Cambodians, especially those living overseas, have worked to share their art with other people around the world. “If you go to France, you can find performances like Cambodian pinpeat music, mohoury music or apsara dances in Paris. They don’t just do it for themselves but also for others,” he said.

He added that through art, people around the world can come to understand each other and learn to build a better world. “The more you know about other cultures, the more you can build bridges to other countries, to other cultures and to other people,” he said.

Friday’s concert will feature four musicians, including two Germans – Mr Isselhardt on flute and Matthias Diener on violoncello – and two South Koreans: Dahyun Kim on oboe and Hye Jin Lee on piano. They will play music by composers John Loeillet of London, William Corbett, Johann Christoph Pepusch and George Frederick Handel.

Mr Isselhardt said that although all the performers are foreigners, he hopes that the next concert will include Cambodian musicians who can show what they have learned at the western classical music workshops run by the Art Plus Foundation.

The concert will be held at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre (at Royal University of Phnom Penh, on Russian Boulevard) starting at 7pm. Tickets will be available at the door one hour before the concert. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support the Art Plus
Foundation’s music workshops.

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