June 8, 2018


JOHOR BAHRU – The Classical Music Festival is set to return for a fourth consecutive year from 28th June to 1st July at Jade Restaurant, Greenland Danga Bay and The Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru., with an exciting line-up of internationally acclaimed performers and educators featured across four (4) main concerts and five (5) workshops.


2.         Presented by The Johor Society for the Performing Arts (JSPA), The Classical Music Festival 2018 welcomes audiences and participants of all backgrounds to experience a spectrum of musical hues – from iconic opera favourites, to a moody fish darting through the water, harmonicas like you’ve never seen or heard before, and a nod to a Malaysian poetic form by a French composer, the festival hopes to leave its mark in the minds and perceptions of all audience members through varied and exciting programmes that evoke emotion and spark the imagination.


3.         According to Artistic Curator Jonathan Oh, “Our goal has always been about taking something which most people already have a generic perception of – in this case, Classical Music, of course – and turning it into something fresh, introducing angles that they might not have thought about or noticed. We like crafting experiences where people have the chance to try and see (or listen to) things from another perspective, and encourage the idea that there’s wisdom to be found in uncertainty.” Curator of Educational Content Andrew Filmer added: “The role of all the arts, including music, is twofold: to create beauty and to find a sense of something genuine and original. We try to do that here at our Festival, and we hope that we are successful at creating an impression.”


4.         The Classical Music Festival 2018 is supported by Strategic Partner, Iskandar Regional Development Authority; Official Music Education Partner, ABRSM; Programme Partners, The Embassy of France in Malaysia and the Euroasia Association of Performing Arts; and Supporting Partners, The Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru and Kingsburg Pianos.  





Concert Highlights


5.         With an engaging and diverse array of programs on offer at the festival, there’s truly something for everyone – aspiring musicians, music enthusiasts, or simply anyone looking for a different yet meaningful way to spend their weekend.


a. The festival opens with a healthy dose of the strongest force on Earth – Love. Often described as the ‘absolute’ art form in the world of Classical Music, Opera was first created in the 16th century. It reaches its height in the 19th century under the hands of Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini. Employing the theme of Love as the leitmotiv – leading motive, the selected arias and duets in Love Souvenir take you through a journey of human emotions at its rawest form.


b. Next, get your swimsuits and goggles ready to go Swimming with Schubert, as Sutera Plays the Trout Quintet. A centrepiece of any chamber music programme, Schubert’s The Trout brings out not only the character of our underwater friend, but the unique features of each instrument: the dancing piano, the dashing violin, the moody viola, the darting cello, and the low rumblings of the double bass, coming through the texture like the arrow. Also on this programme are: an early work of Beethoven, bringing to us a youthful, hopeful Ludwig; and a selection from Turina's piano quartet, bringing us the flavours and passion of Spain.


c. Moving on, two-time World Champions Fresco Harmonica will be showing audiences a different side of the humble harmonica. Though commonly associated with Blues and Folk music, When Classical Meets Harmonica will showcase the versatility and adaptability of the harmonica through a repertoire that features rearrangements of familiar tunes and classics from Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Joe Hisaishi, and more.


d.  The festival closes with Sans Frontières – an all-female cross-cultural collaboration of top-notch musicians from France and Malaysia. Featuring acclaimed local pianist Carolyn Lo together with renowned French violinist Saskia Lethic and cellist Valérie Aimard (proudly sponsored by The Embassy of France in Malaysia), the trio will be presenting Maurice Ravel’s famous Piano Trio – which includes a movement titled Pantoum, based on the Malaysian Pantun.   The trio will also be joined by 15 year-old Malaysian violin virtuoso Denise Mubin for the first half of the concert.










6.         Not forgetting the educational aspect of making and playing music, the festival also offers a line-up of workshops suitable for students or enthusiasts of any level.




a. From The Lion King To King Kong; THE CLASSICAL SOUL OF FILM MUSIC by Dr. Andrew Filmer

Following the positive feedback from last year’s session on the Music of Star Wars, Educational Content Curator Andrew Filmer returns with another insightful session that explores the influence of Classical Music on the big screen, with discussions on how the right music makes magic happen both on-screen and off-screen.






b. The Creative Process of Music Composition and Performance by Prof. Don Bowyer

When a composer sits down with a blank sheet of paper, or a blank computer screen, what is the process that leads to a completed piece of music? Further, how does that completed work become a performance? Composer and performer Prof. Don Bowyer will discuss his own processes related to a handful of his recent classical and jazz compositions.










c. A Singer’s Guide to Vocal Recital Preparation by Ang Mei Foong

Singers’ responsibilities are far more than memorizing song-text and getting the music performed on the stage – a successful and impressive performance always depends on the amount of effort spent on preparation for every detail. This presentation will share some tips on the preparation of a vocal recital from planning and pre-production all the way to post-event follow-ups.









d. Violin Anatomy 102 by Tan Chin Seng

A continuation from Violin Anatomy 101 at the 2017 edition of the festival, Violin Anatomy 102 will once again transport participants into the workshop of Malaysian instrument maker Tan Chin Seng, whose instruments are now in increasingly high demand.










e. Crafting Chamber Music by Robin Lee and Mabel Wong

Chamber music brings out the idea of democracy perhaps more than other forms of classical music. Here, conversation, compromise and consensus all come into place. Mabel Wong brings her experience in chamber music gained through degrees from New Zealand and Australia and work with Ensemble Virama. Robin Lee has chamber music as an extension of his considerable background as an accompanist for both instruments and particularly for voice. Together, they show us how to build community in music.





Euroasia Strings Competition 2018 – Johor Regional Round


7.         The festival is also proud to host the Johor Regional Round of the Euroasia Strings Competition 2018. Since 2013, Euroasia has organised the Euroasia Competition Series, which seeks to provide a platform and opportunity for aspiring musicians to be exposed to international standards of music competition. In this regard, the Euroasia Competition Series hopes to recognise talents at various stages of their musical development, and to identify those who can best project a balance of creativity, imagination in choice of repertoire, and overall artistic excellence. Euroasia firmly believes that performance is a vital part of music development. As such, the Euroasia Competition Series is not about identifying the “best” musician, but about bringing together youths bound by the same passion for music to perform before a wider audience in a concert setting.


For 2018, Euroasia proud to announce our collaboration with two esteemed organisations, the Festival De Musique Des Arcs in France, and the Siam Sinfonietta in Thailand.


The partnership with Festival De Musique Des Arcs will enable the 2018 Patron’s Prize winner and future winners of the Euroasia Strings Competition to have the wonderful opportunity to study with some of the best educators in France. The First Prize Winner of the Young Artiste Category will be offered a concerto performance with the Siam Sinfonietta, Thailand’s most internationally renowned youth orchestra. Further information on the Euroasia Strings Competition can be found at





Festival Passes and Tickets


8.         Festival Passes and Tickets for the Classical Music Festival 2018 are available for purchase on Eventbrite at Details on passes and tickets are as follows:


Festival Passes:


VIP Festival Pass

RM 320.00

  • VIP Seats at All Concerts

  • Access to All Workshops

Regular Festival Pass
RM 230.00

  • Regular Seats at All Concerts

  • Access to All Workshops

Student Festival Pass
RM 120.00

  • Student Seats at All Concerts

  • Access to All Workshops

  • Ticket Holders are required to present their Student ID at the Registration Counter to collect their Festival Pass


Individual Programme Tickets:


Love Souvenir

VIP           RM 108.00

Regular   RM 68.00

Student   RM 38.00


Swimming with Schubert: Sutera Plays the Trout Quintet

VIP           RM 108.00

Regular   RM 68.00

Student   RM 38.00


When Classical Meets Harmonica

VIP           RM 108.00

Regular   RM 68.00

Student   RM 38.00


Sans Frontières

VIP           RM 108.00

Regular   RM 68.00

Student   RM 38.00


All Workshops

RM 20.00 per workshop /

Free for Ticket Holders to Any Concert



Tickets will also be available for sale at The Johor Society for the Performing Arts office at 86, Jalan Wijaya, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru. Further details such as Concert Programmes and Performers’ Biographies are available at


For more information and for inquiries regarding tickets, please contact:


Ms. Chloe Yap

Festival Administrator – Liaison

(+60)14 – 966 0228 / (+60)19 – 713 9900








Annex A


Fact Sheet


The Classical Music Festival 2018 – Impressions

Date    : 28 June – 1 July 2018

Venue  : Jade Restaurant, Greenland Danga Bay, Johor Bahru

(except Sans Frontières at The Puteri Pacific, JB

Number of Days                      : 4

Number of Concerts               : 4

Number of Workshops            : 5

Number of Performers/           : 21



Presented by              : The Johor Society for the Performing Arts (JSPA)


Artistic Curator            : Jonathan Oh


Educational Content   : Dr. Andrew Filmer



Strategic Partner         : Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA)


Endorsed by               : The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia

                                      The Ministry of Education, Malaysia


Official Music              : The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)

Education Partner


Programme Partners  : The Embassy of France in Malaysia

                                      Euroasia Association of Performing Arts


Supported by              : Kingsburg Pianos

                                      The Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru









About the Johor Society for the Performing Arts (JSPA)



The Johor Society for the Performing Arts (JSPA) is a non-commercial society registered in February 2000 under the Societies Act 1968. All profits derived from its events or activities are channelled back to the society for the advancement, promotion, and development of the arts in Johor.


JSPA projects and events welcome people from all walks of life to enjoy curated experiences across a diverse range of interests, art-forms, and genres. All projects and events are modelled around the simple belief that the arts are not just about entertainment, but are invaluable platforms to educate, engage, and empower. JSPA’s flagship event is the annual Johor Arts Festival, which will be entering its 15th consecutive edition in 2018.





JSPA’s 2018 Calendar:


LMFAO Comedy Series 1.0 – feat. Mick Neven, Papi Zak, Kavin Jay (5 Jan)

Mad in Italy – A Fun Evening of A-Cappella with Mezzotono (12 Mar)

LMFAO Comedy Series 2.0 – feat Rizal Van Geyzel and Nicholas Lim (26 Mar)

Shakespeare Demystified: Romeo & Juliet (11 & 12 May)

Perspective; The Showcase (12 May)



AMBITIOUS – Dr. Jason Leong’s Asian Comedy Tour 2018 (19 June)

The Classical Music Festival  (28 June – 1 July)

Perspective; The Project (July)

Perspective; The Runway  (4 August)

 The 15th Johor Arts Festival (1 – 22 September) 









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