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Connecting Our Voices

7 September 2016

Jean-David Caillouet, Dieter Mack and Anothai Nitibhon, Curators


The old Javanese phrase “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” translates to “Unity in Diversity”, a concept which resonates deeply with the theme of this year’s Symposium which aims at exploring the unifying power of music within the rich and varied cultural landscapes of the Asean. 

The first performance evening this year will be centered around the 1st movement of Mozart’s K452 Quintet, a piece seen by some as symbolising the birth of musical democracy. Throughout the piece, the wind players are gradually allowed to join in with the musical conversation on an equal level with the piano. Using this piece as a metaphorical starting point for an engaging exploration of music as a universal language, the evening will juxtapose a variety of musical traditions, establishing musical dialogues between the hammered strings of the Thai Kim ( dulcimer) and the plucked strings of the harpsichord, between the Classical Guitar and the Malay Gambus ( lute), between the stylings of the Burmese Piano and the percussive Gamelan tones of the prepared Piano among many others. 

The program will feature well established musicians as well as 10 young traditional musicians from the countries of Southeast Asia, the AYE (Asian Youth Ensemble) performing some pieces prepared during the Symposium’s workshops. There will also be short poetic responses to the theme contributed by children from the local community of Bang Yi Khan.The performances will be punctuated with archival recordings and footage as well as Southeast asian Soundscapes . 

Through this eclectic and colourful mix of musical styles, we hope to take our audience on a journey, sailing to the rhythm of the tides that bring about cultural changes in our ocean of sound.

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