By THE NATION
Bangkok will have a unique “Beethoven X Project” by Bangkok Opera Foundation, which will feature young people interacting with the iconic composer’s legacy.
The centerpiece is the collaboration between four youth orchestras including Siam Sinfonietta, Thai Youth Orchestra, Immanuel Orchestra and Isaan Duriyang Orchestra League (IDOL) in performing all of Beethoven’s symphonies over the course of the year, starting this month and running through to December 2020.
To kick off the “Beethoven X Project” in Thailand, Bangkok Opera Foundation will perform “Big Bang Beethoven X,” a flashmob performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on December 17 at 12:00pm, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
“Big Bang Beethoven X” was conceived by Somtow Sucharitkul, president of Bangkok Opera Foundation and artistic director of Opera Siam International, as a kind of “reverse flashmob”.
“Flashmobs,” according to Somtow, “begin at a single point in space, and more and more show up until the space is crammed with performers. Our idea is dictated by the structure of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — it begins with just cellos and basses in one spot of the BACC. Other musicians join them from different balconies and verandas. And finally, in a cosmic ending, a chorus joins from the highest balcony, symbolizing how the seed of Beethoven’s genius has grown over the years to fill the whole world.” Instead of the world coming to a point, he explains, it is about a point expanding to fill the world — a musical “big bang”.
The most venerable ensemble in this collaboration is the Thai Youth Orchestra, Thailand’s “establishment” youth orchestra, under the aegis of the Culture Ministry’s Department of Cultural Promotion and directed by the Akkrawat Srinarong, scion of one Thailand’s leading classical music families. Recently the TYO joined Siam Sinfonietta as one of the two Thai orchestras to win first place at the prestigious Summa Cum Laude competition in the Musikverein, Vienna.
Siam Sinfonietta is the groundbreaking youth orchestra founded by Somtow and featuring the “Somtow Method”, a revolutionary new style of music teaching. The orchestra has won multiple first place awards around the world including three times in Carnegie Hall, and has toured extensively in Europe, America and the Middle East. The orchestra is noted for tackling some of the most ambitious music in the repertoire, such as the Mahler symphonies, Stravinsky and Bartok.
Immanuel, an exciting young orchestra from Bangkok’s Music for Life Foundation, and IDOL, the most recent of the orchestras established in Korat last year, are the other two orchestras in this Beethoven X project.
The Siam Sinfonietta and its founder Somtow have teamed up with Akkrawat and with Trisdee na Patalung, Thailand’s internationally popular conductor as well as Welsh conductor Jonathan Mann of the Immanuel Orchestra and Voraprach Wongsathapornpat, a young conductor who recently returned to Thailand from Cambridge.