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Western classics for the East

Classical artists from around the world will converge on Phnom Penh from November

4 to 9, as the capital hosts its second International Music Festival.

The event is being organized by the Foundation for Western Classical Performing Arts

(FWCPA), an NGO formed to promote classical music to a Cambodian audience.

The program will include a wide range of international classical styles, with symphonies

by Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart, but will also feature three Cambodian composers,

including King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

One of the highlights is expected to be the performance of "Seven Mirrors,"

by Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung. It will be the first time Ung's work

is played in Cambodia.

Ung's work combines traditional Cambodian and Western elements, which blends traditional

classical instruments with the pentatonic scales melodies that often feature in Asian

music, to produce a fusion of sounds.

The festival will include ensembles and soloists from Thailand, Cambodia, Germany,

Vietnam and the USA.

Among the international artists appearing will be German pianist Stephan Rahn, a

regular visitor to Cambodia, American flautist Carin Levine and pianist Vu Nath Tan,

from Vietnam.

Cambodian performers include a string quartet and a string trio, both founded in

2002 with a repertoire based on "post-baroque" and "pre-classical"

music.

This year's speaker, Professor Dieter Mack, will attempt to bridge the cultural gap

with lectures on communication and "East-West-Dialogue."

The festival will be held at the Chaktomouk Theatre on Sisowath Quay, with an additional

gala performance at Hotel Le Royal on November 9 in aid of The Foundation Children's

Hospital.

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